Explore awards

Use the filter menu and interactive map to explore the past competitions offered and grants awarded through the Environmental Literacy Program.

To learn more about project findings and outcomes, view the summaries of our grantees’ summative evaluation reports.

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Community Resilience Informed by Science and Experience (C-RISE)

Funding: $499,181
Year: 2015
The goal of Community Resilience Informed by Science and Experience (C-RISE) was to build the capacity of coastal communities to support resiliency planning and adaptation actions.

The goal of Community Resilience Informed by Science and Experience (C-RISE) was to build the capacity of coastal communities to support resiliency planning and adaptation actions. To accomplish this the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) worked with an advisory group including representatives from NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, Maine Geological Survey, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the cities of Portland and South Portland, Greater Portland Council of Governments, New England Environmental Finance Center, and Axiom Technologies to develop public programming that provided participants with knowledge of and access to local sea level rise data. This program, "Preparing Coastal Communities for Sea Level Rise" is a community education event that built participant knowledge in sea level rise science, future projections, and local impacts. Through visual presentations and facilitated discussions, GMRI brought regional relevancy to global climate data using local history and case studies of past flooding events. Using technology and peer discussions, GMRI staff provided participants with access to interactive data sets and maps that visualized the impacts of sea level rise and weather events on community resources like roads, parks, hospitals, schools, and other valued assets—and how climate projections will increase these impacts over time. Over the course of this grant, GMRI staff facilitated over 60 community events in over 30 coastal communities in Maine, reaching over 2,000 individuals. While many of the participants had heard about sea level rise and storm surge prior to this program, few had internalized what this meant for their own communities. Post-event surveys indicated that participants discussed flooding issues with their families, friends, and neighbors, further examined local sea level rise maps, and engaged with community decision-makers about resiliency planning. GMRI believes that strong and informed representation of citizens is vital to addressing climate challenges and resiliency actions. We continue to leverage this work through various projects as we collaborate with coastal communities to provide them with knowledge, skills, and tools needed to develop community-focused resilience plans for sea level rise.

Award Number: NA15SEC0080006
Grant Dates: 10/01/2015 to 09/30/2019
PI: Leigh Peake
State: Maine   County:   Cumberland District: ME01
Partners: NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) · City of South Portland · City of Portland · Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) · University of Southern Maine / New England Environmental Finance Center · Axiom Technologies · Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative · State of Maine (ME) Department of Environmental Protection · Island Institute · Maine Geological Survey · Harpswell Heritage Land Trust · Nature Conservancy / Maine Field Office · Portland Society for Architecture · Upswell ·

Community Resilience Informed by Science and Experience (C-RISE)

Funding: $449,480
Year: 2020
Coastal rural communities have deep cultural connections to and rely heavily upon the marine environment and economy. Due to their remoteness, isolation from central planning agencies, and lack of financial and municipal resources, they are highly vulnerable to climate impacts such as sea level rise.

Coastal rural communities have deep cultural connections to and rely heavily upon the marine environment and economy. Due to their remoteness, isolation from central planning agencies, and lack of financial and municipal resources, they are highly vulnerable to climate impacts such as sea level rise. The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) and key project partners, Upswell and the Island Institute, will develop, convene and facilitate regional trainings by which Maine’s rural coastal communities can increase their capacity to plan and prepare for coastal climate impacts by developing the knowledge, skills, and relationships necessary to create data- and community-informed climate resilience plans. Cornerstone to the regional trainings is an engagement tool that builds common knowledge, incorporates diverse community value and voice, provides a framework for community planning and decision making, and builds relationships amongst participants. These trainings will also leverage and engage resilience professionals in Maine to share and represent their resources as communities apply those to their newly acquired skills and frameworks for community planning and decision making. Community leaders from the regional trainings will continue their learning through participation in a professional learning community. We will also leverage GMRI’s prior NOAA Environmental Literacy Grant, titled “Community Resilience Informed by Science and Experience (C-RISE),” to deliver community education programming that builds the capacity of residents in coastal communities to support resiliency planning and adaptation actions by providing participants with knowledge of and access to local sea level rise data. This project will serve 20 rural coastal and island communities in Maine through four regional trainings. Each community will select a diverse and equitable representation of 10 stakeholders and community leaders to participate in the trainings. Community education events will be accessible to all residents of each community. These interventions will build community literacy and capacity for developing coastal resilience plans that benefit the social, environmental, and economic health of the community and align with Maine’s Climate Action Plan. An advisory group including representatives from NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, Maine Sea Grant, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, the State of Maine’s Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, Maine Geological Survey, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Town of Vinalhaven, and the Town of St. George will guide the development and implementation of this project. Researchers at the University of Maine, Orono will evaluate the implementation of the project as well as assess the impact of this project on a communities’ ability to make community-informed climate plans. This project reflects NOAA’s Community Resilience Education Theory of Change, specifically supporting resilience planners and community members to develop trusting relationships focused on their collective environmental literacy through genuine conversations around resilience planning and decision making. With NOAA, we envision communities that have the capability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant multi-hazard threats with minimum damage to social well-being, the economy, and the environment.

Award Number: NA20SEC0080006
Grant Dates: 10/01/2020 to 09/30/2023
PI: Gayle Bowness
State: Maine   County:   Cumberland District: ME01
Partners: NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) · National Sea Grant College Program / University of Maine / Maine Sea Grant · National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) Wells · State of Maine (ME) Department of Environmental Protection · Island Institute · Maine Geological Survey · Upswell · Town of Vinalhaven · Town of St. George · State of Maine (ME) Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future ·

Summer Science in New England: Ocean Education through Informal Science Centers

Funding: $342,232
Year: 2009
The Summer Science in New England project has established a regional network of summer camp programs grounded in ocean science. In year one, six institutions - New England Aquarium, Northeastern University's Marine Science Center, University of Rhode Island's Alton Jones Camp, the University of Connecticut's Project Oceanology, the Seacoast Science Center in NH, and the Marine Environmental Research Institute in Maine - work alongside research scientists to engage campers, ages 14 and up, in near-shore biodiversity monitoring.

The Summer Science in New England project has established a regional network of summer camp programs grounded in ocean science. In year one, six institutions - New England Aquarium, Northeastern University's Marine Science Center, University of Rhode Island's Alton Jones Camp, the University of Connecticut's Project Oceanology, the Seacoast Science Center in NH, and the Marine Environmental Research Institute in Maine - work alongside research scientists to engage campers, ages 14 and up, in near-shore biodiversity monitoring. In years two and three, the number of partners increases to 10, then 12. The project provides a citizen science experience across a wide geographical area, supports and trains informal science center staff to incorporate citizen science while using environmental literacy principles with teens, and offers opportunities for all participants to share findings with peers at annual forums.

Award Number: NA09SEC4690039
Grant Dates: 11/30/2009 to 11/29/2013
PI: William "Billy" Spitzer
State: Massachusetts   County:   Suffolk District: MA08
Partners: Sea Research Foundation / Mystic Aquarium · Seacoast Science Center · BOAT CAMP, Inc. · Downeast Institute · Marine Environmental Research Institute · Suffolk University · University of Rhode Island (URI) / Environmental Education Center (EEC · Northeastern University (NU) / Marine Science Center (MSC) · Project Oceanology ·

A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating About Climate Change

Funding: $507,083
Year: 2009
This collaboration led by three major national aquariums - Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq) - is developing a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean.

This collaboration led by three major national aquariums - Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq) - is developing a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean. The project increases climate literacy among informal science educators by: 1) creating a national network for training, resource sharing and support; 2) developing climate change activity carts to support exhibit interpretation; 3) providing training for youth interpreters; and 4) hosting regional and national summits to strengthen collaboration and showcase and disseminate model programs. Outcomes for educators include increased knowledge of climate change science; knowledge of strategies, tools and materials for educating about climate change; and confidence in their ability to communicate about climate change.

Award Number: NA09SEC4690047
Grant Dates: 10/01/2009 to 09/30/2013
PI: William "Billy" Spitzer
State: Massachusetts   County:   Suffolk District: MA08
Partners: North Carolina Aquarium Society / North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island · California Academy of Sciences · Monterey Bay Aquarium · National Aquarium / National Aquarium In Baltimore (NAIB) · Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science / Alaska SeaLife Center · Florida Aquarium · National Association for Interpretation (NAI) ·

Visualizing Change: Training and Tools to Support Informal Educators

Funding: $518,066
Year: 2013
A consortium of Aquarium of the Pacific, National Aquarium in Baltimore, New England Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium will build educator capacity in the aquarium community and informal science education field to more effectively communicate about climate change and its impact on coastal zones and marine life. The project will utilize NOAA datasets and visualizations in providing interpreters with training and strategic framing communication tools based on the best available social and cognitive research.

A consortium of Aquarium of the Pacific, National Aquarium in Baltimore, New England Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium will build educator capacity in the aquarium community and informal science education field to more effectively communicate about climate change and its impact on coastal zones and marine life. The project will utilize NOAA datasets and visualizations in providing interpreters with training and strategic framing communication tools based on the best available social and cognitive research. The objectives of the project are to: (1) develop and test four exemplary interpretive “visual narratives” that integrate research-based strategic communication with NOAA data visualization resources; (2) test the application of the visual narratives in a variety of geographic regions and institution types (aquarium, science center, etc.) using multiple technology platforms; (3) build a professional development program for climate change interpretation with data visualization; and (4) leverage existing networks for dissemination and peer support. Other key partners include the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory (VisLab), the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Ocean Explorium in southern Massachusetts, and FrameWorks Institute.

Award Number: NA13SEC0080010
Grant Dates: 10/01/2013 to 09/30/2017
PI: William "Billy" Spitzer
State: Massachusetts   County:   Suffolk District: MA08
Partners: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory · NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) · Aquarium of the Pacific · Exploratorium · Monterey Bay Aquarium · National Aquarium / National Aquarium In Baltimore (NAIB) · Science Museum of Minnesota · Seattle Aquarium · Buttonwood Park Zoological Society · Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) ·

Community Partnership for Resilience

Funding: $481,110
Year: 2017
The New England Aquarium worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to establish Community Partnerships for Resilience (CPR) starting in 2017. CPR created partnerships in three Boston-area communities that face severe risk from a changing climate – Chelsea, Hull, and Lynn, MA. Project leads worked with local professionals with diverse and relevant expertise in climate science, engineering, community planning and community action, as well as representatives from local schools or school-based educational programs serving youth in Grades 4 through 8.

The New England Aquarium worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to establish Community Partnerships for Resilience (CPR) starting in 2017. CPR created partnerships in three Boston-area communities that face severe risk from a changing climate – Chelsea, Hull, and Lynn, MA. Project leads worked with local professionals with diverse and relevant expertise in climate science, engineering, community planning and community action, as well as representatives from local schools or school-based educational programs serving youth in Grades 4 through 8. Partners determined the most critical, climate-related hazards for their area that would benefit from public involvement and understanding. With a focus on extreme heat, inland flooding and storm surge, project leads, and educators developed a curriculum framework. The framework was used as a guide for the creation of a unit that had students explore the identified hazards and create a Public Education Project (PEP) to communicate with community stakeholders to drive both understanding and action. Through a series of collaborative working Summer Institutes, project partners led teachers on an exploration of the framework materials, relevant science content, and a crash course on Project Based Learning techniques. Implementation of the unit in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years led to further refinement of the curriculum framework, insight on the need for further teacher supports, and improved relationships and connections with municipal and community contacts. The resulting curriculum framework was finalized alongside partner teachers in the spring and summer of 2020 and can be adapted to different climate resilience topics and PEPs, as driven by student interest. Students themselves represent a key constituency – they will be most directly impacted by future changes, and they will need civic capacity to foster positive change. Teacher resources also include a rubric to evaluate PEP plans to meet project objectives, resources on trauma-informed teachers from colleagues at Riverside Trauma Center (Needham, MA), instructional and motivation videos from educator partners on key unit phases, and a beta version of a mapping portal developed with partners at Metropolitan Area Planning Council using layered data across a variety of sources. As a result of this project, participating educators showed an increase in knowledge and awareness about climate change on a broad level, as well as local impacts in their specific Massachusetts region. CPR participation also made educators more comfortable collaborating with other educators and inviting outside expert voices for lessons. By working collaboratively, participating teachers felt they were able to better support their students to impact their communities in a positive way. CPR provided the opportunity to have students work together to communicate with the public using PEPs, allowing students and community members to collaborate in “a common effort to increase climate resilience.” As a result of this, CPR was able to expand the group of change agents who could tackle critical environmental challenges and strengthen their communities.

Award Number: NA17SEC0080001
Grant Dates: 10/01/2017 to 09/30/2020
PI: Rebekah Stendahl
State: Massachusetts   County:   Suffolk District: MA08
Partners: NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) · Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) · National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) / Greater Atlantic · Girls Incorporated of Lynn · Museum of Science Boston · Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) · Harwood Institute · City of Chelsea / Planning & Development Department · Chelsea Public Schools · Hull Public Schools · Town of Hull / Community Development & Planning Department · Barr Foundation · University of Massachusetts Boston / School for the Environment · City of Lynn / Public Health Division · Lynn Public Schools · GreenRoots · Hull Lifesaving Museum (HLM) · Neighbor to Neighbor (Lynn) ·

Resilient Schools Consortium (RiSC) Program

Funding: $498,570
Year: 2016
Brooklyn College and the National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools USA program in New York City created The Resilient Schools Consortium (RiSC) Program to increase the environmental literacy of middle school and high school students while providing opportunities for their voices to be heard. The City's long-term planning document, OneNYC, set forth a vision for a resilient city without specifying a role for students or including specific plans for their schools.

Brooklyn College and the National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools USA program in New York City created The Resilient Schools Consortium (RiSC) Program to increase the environmental literacy of middle school and high school students while providing opportunities for their voices to be heard. The City's long-term planning document, OneNYC, set forth a vision for a resilient city without specifying a role for students or including specific plans for their schools. This project addressed this gap by allowing students to interact with city, state and federal officials and resilience practitioners and present their ideas for resilience guidelines for NYC Public Schools. An active-learning RiSC Curriculum was developed by two middle school teachers in collaboration with their peers and the project team. The curriculum is available at https://riscnyc.org. RiSC teams at six middle schools and high schools used the curriculum to follow the UC Climate Resilience Toolkit’s Steps to Resilience. They learned about climate change and extreme weather, the vulnerability of their schools and their communities, options for addressing the risks, planned, and prioritized action, and executed small scale resilience projects on their school grounds when possible. Students were able to share what they had learned and have dialogue with professionals from government agencies and non-governmental about actions and solutions at two RiSC summits in June 2018 and June 2019. The RiSC program directly reached over 200 NYC public schools students through direct participation on the RiSC teams or RiSC-sponsored events, and indirectly reached hundreds more through the interaction of RiSC students with their peers. RiSC students were highly motivated by the program’s focus on action and the opportunity to speak directly to officials at the summits. The RiSC program also resulted in the creation of the New York City Climate and Resilience Education Taskforce (https://cretf.org), a group of NYC agencies, educators, and non-governmental organizations that are working towards providing climate and resilience education for all New York City students and their teachers. Key contributors to the success of the Resilient Schools Consortium program included New York Sea Grant and the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay.

Award Number: NA16SEC0080004
Grant Dates: 10/01/2016 to 03/31/2021
PI: Brett Branco
State: New York   County:   Kings District: NY09
Partners: NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) · National Sea Grant College Program / New York Sea Grant College Program · New York City (NYC) Department of Education (DOE) · New York City Public Schools / John Dewey High School · New York City Public Schools / Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies · New York City Public Schools / Edward R. Murrow High School · New York City Public Schools / IS 228 David A. Boody · New York City Public Schools / IS 281 Joseph B.Cavallaro · New York City Public Schools / Mark Twain I.S. 239 · Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay (SRI@JB) · National Wildlife Federation (NWF) / Northeast Regional Center · New York City Public Schools / J.H.S. 088 Peter Rouget · Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) · New York City Public Schools / J.H.S. 223 The Montauk ·