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.

Science Center Public Forums: Community Engagement for Environmental Literacy, Improved Resilience, and Decision-Making

Funding: $499,901
Year: 2015
By engaging diverse publics in immersive and deliberative learning forums, this three-year project will use NOAA data and expertise to strengthen community resilience and decision-making around a variety of climate and weather-related hazards across the United States. Led by Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes and the Museum of Science Boston, the project will develop citizen forums hosted by regional science centers to create a new, replicable model for learning and engagement.

By engaging diverse publics in immersive and deliberative learning forums, this three-year project will use NOAA data and expertise to strengthen community resilience and decision-making around a variety of climate and weather-related hazards across the United States. Led by Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes and the Museum of Science Boston, the project will develop citizen forums hosted by regional science centers to create a new, replicable model for learning and engagement. These forums, to be hosted initially in Boston and Phoenix and then expanded to an additional six sites around the U.S., will facilitate public deliberation on real-world issues of concern to local communities, including rising sea levels, extreme precipitation, heat waves, and drought. The forums will identify and clarify citizen values and perspectives while creating stakeholder networks in support of local resilience measures. The forum materials developed in collaboration with NOAA will foster better understanding of environmental changes and best practices for improving community resiliency, and will create a suite of materials and case studies adaptable for use by science centers, teachers, and students. With regional science centers bringing together the public, scientific experts, and local officials, the project will create resilience-centered partnerships and a framework for learning and engagement that can be replicated nationwide.

Award Number: NA15SEC0080005
Grant Dates: 10/01/2015 to 03/31/2019
PI: Dan Sarewitz
State: Arizona   County:   Maricopa District: AZ09
Partners: Bishop Museum · Science Museum of Minnesota · Northeastern University (NU) / Marine Science Center (MSC) · Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) · Museum of Science Boston · Arizona Science Center · Chabot Space and Science Center · Museum of Life and Science · Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association · City of Cambridge · U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) · NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) · University of Arizona / College of Agriculture & Life Sciences / Arizona Project WET · University of Massachusetts Boston's School for the Environment · Boston Harbor Now · City of Boston · Newton Public Schools / Newton North High School · Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) · Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center · University of Southern Alabama / Civil, Coastal, and Environmental Engineering · North Suffolk Mental Health · Arizona State University (ASU) / Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) · City of Louisville · City of Honolulu / Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency ·

Shedd-NOAA Partnership for Student, Teacher and Public Engagement

Funding: $1,100,000
Year: 2009
Shedd Aquarium has launched a large-scale effort to address the long-standing need to better connect citizens in the Great Lakes region to their local Great Lakes watershed, to engage them in making positive changes to help the ecosystem, and to engage decision-makers and leaders to enact large scale change to improve the ecosystem over the long term. Through this award, Shedd is positioning itself strategically as the regional hub for Great Lakes education and behavior change by promoting Great Lakes civic engagement.

Shedd Aquarium has launched a large-scale effort to address the long-standing need to better connect citizens in the Great Lakes region to their local Great Lakes watershed, to engage them in making positive changes to help the ecosystem, and to engage decision-makers and leaders to enact large scale change to improve the ecosystem over the long term. Through this award, Shedd is positioning itself strategically as the regional hub for Great Lakes education and behavior change by promoting Great Lakes civic engagement. Shedd Aquarium's Center for the Great Lakes is designed to bring scientists, business and government leaders, visionaries, and Great Lakes citizens together to formalize a strategic framework for increasing Great Lakes literacy and fostering Great Lakes stewardship. With the help of leading organizations: NOAA, COSEE Great Lakes, and members of the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition, a new vision for the Great Lakes region is being created. This civic engagement project is producing needed outcomes: increasing Great Lakes literacy while promoting policies of sustainability that ultimately will support the adoption of a stewardship ethic among our target audiences in the Midwest. Shedd's efforts empower citizens and civic entities to be critical thinkers who fully participate in the advancement of a sustainable society.

Award Number: NA09SEC4690042
Grant Dates: 10/01/2009 to 09/30/2012
PI: Michelle Parker
State: Illinois   County:   Cook District: IL07
Partners: Consortium for Ocean Leadership · University of Wisconsin–Madison / Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) · U.S. National Park Service · National Wildlife Federation (NWF) / Great Lakes Regional Center · National Park Conservation Association ·

Great Lakes Rocks: Earth Systems Science Teacher Professional Development

Funding: $426,580
Year: 2012
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) offers teacher professional development courses geared toward 4-8th grade teachers in high needs schools and with limited experience in science content. Through the Great Lakes Revealed (GLR) education course, teachers explored the interconnectedness of the Earth’s systems through the unique lens of the Great Lakes region, and learned how climate has changed through time.

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) offers teacher professional development courses geared toward 4-8th grade teachers in high needs schools and with limited experience in science content. Through the Great Lakes Revealed (GLR) education course, teachers explored the interconnectedness of the Earth’s systems through the unique lens of the Great Lakes region, and learned how climate has changed through time. Through hands-on and inquiry-based activities, MSI Senior Educators guided teacher through lessons and other resources, modeling content and pedagogy best practices, and encouraging knowledge building through a combination of experience, critical thinking and reflection. Participants also interacted with NOAA’s Science on a Sphere, with educators at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and with scientists from Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. Formal evaluation shows that GLR teachers complete the program with substantially improved content knowledge, teaching skills, and confidence in science teaching, many becoming teacher leaders at their schools. The second stage of the GLR program involves a select group of teachers from the first year’s cohort who will deepen their understanding of climate change in the Great Lakes region by engaging in data-driven problem-based activities. Building on teachers’ content knowledge, this program will help teachers develop mechanisms to search, access, and use high quality tabular, graphical, and visual data to support effective climate change education. NOAA’s Science on a Sphere datasets will play a central role as teachers explore and then develop their own problem-based lessons to deliver to their own students during a Student Summit at MSI.

Award Number: NA12SEC0080015
Grant Dates: 08/01/2012 to 07/31/2015
PI: Nicole Kowrach
State: Illinois   County:   Cook District: IL02
Partners: Chicago Public Schools (CPS) · Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) · University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee · NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) · NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries · National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Thunder Bay ·

Teen Advocates for Community and Environmental Sustainability (Teen ACES)

Funding: $498,471
Year: 2016
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) developed museum-based education resources to engage high school-age youth in the exploration of climate literacy and Earth systems science through its Teen ACES (Teen Advocates for Community and Environmental Sustainability) project. As the future leaders who will make decisions about the issues they face in their communities, youth participants were positioned to act as advocates for establishing resilient communities in the Midwest.

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) developed museum-based education resources to engage high school-age youth in the exploration of climate literacy and Earth systems science through its Teen ACES (Teen Advocates for Community and Environmental Sustainability) project. As the future leaders who will make decisions about the issues they face in their communities, youth participants were positioned to act as advocates for establishing resilient communities in the Midwest. The project utilized a variety of resources, including NOAA Science On a Sphere® (SOS) technology and datasets, Great Lakes and local climate assets from the Midwest Regional Climate Center and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, and existing local planning guides to develop museum-based youth programming. Teens explored environmental hazards including severe weather events and temperature extremes and considered the impact of the Great Lakes on regional climate. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Resilient Chicago, the Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago, and the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium advised on the project to support the integration of municipal resiliency plans and their related adaptation and mitigation measures into the program. After completing a 30-hour course with MSI, teen participants had the opportunity to facilitate SOS® experiences for museum guests. Teens also shared their learning with the Chicago community through programs at Chicago Public Library branches and Chicago Park District sites. The project revised content for use in 102 after-school science clubs for students from diverse communities across the Chicago area. Educational resources and experiences created through this grant reached nearly 150,000 students, educators and guests over four years.

Award Number: NA16SEC0080001
Grant Dates: 10/01/2016 to 09/30/2020
PI: Marvin McClure
State: Illinois   County:   Cook District: IL02
Partners: Boonshoft Museum of Discovery · Science Central · National Sea Grant College Program / University of Illinois · Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) · Chicago Public Library (CPL) · Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV) · Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary & Arboretum · Loyola University · Moraine Valley Community College · NOAA Regional Climate Center / Midwestern Regional Climate Center · City of Chicago · City of Chicago / Chicago Park District · Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago ·

Learn, Prepare, Act – Resilient Citizens Make Resilient Communities

Funding: $477,052
Year: 2015
The Science Museum of Virginia’s three-year informal climate change resilience education project, “Your Actions Matter: Resilient Citizens Make Resilient Communities,” yielded three overarching lessons learned: 1) understand and use organizational strengths and limitations to advance resilience education, 2) Arts and Humanities are critical for resilience education, and 3) localize the story of climate change and its solutions.

The Science Museum of Virginia’s three-year informal climate change resilience education project, “Your Actions Matter: Resilient Citizens Make Resilient Communities,” yielded three overarching lessons learned: 1) understand and use organizational strengths and limitations to advance resilience education, 2) Arts and Humanities are critical for resilience education, and 3) localize the story of climate change and its solutions. Our programming relied on planning and executing two, 5-week “Climate Connections” Lecture Series featuring national climate science researchers, three annual “Prepareathon” events to connect communities with emergency management personnel and services (as well as local meteorologists and climate scientists), two community-focused workshops to engage guests in building resilience to extreme precipitation and urban heat, producing dozens of radio and video programs for public dissemination of climate science concepts, hosting several “Extreme Event Challenge” facilitations for guests to assume manager roles in a crisis, designed numerous scripts and dataset playlists for daily SOS presentations, production of a large format film about cosmic perspectives on climate change, performed theatrical scripts of human sides of climate impacts, leveraged artistic expression and sonification of climate science datasets in public events and exhibits, and undertook the first citizen science climate change campaign in the Museum’s history. Our audiences regularly stretched from preschool learners to retirement-aged individuals, served many thousands from formal education and professional organizations, and that our programming regularly attracted audiences from government agencies, policymakers, fine arts institutions, and urban planners. Our audience reach easily surpassed 1.2 million people locally, nationally, and internationally, with most from metro-Richmond, Virginia. Based on formative evaluation, our substantial restructuring of our initially proposed programming model yielded high-impact educational outcomes. “Ready Row Homes: Preparing for a Hotter, Wetter Virginia” experience achieved highest educational impact of communicating both climate change science and individual resilience behaviors. Our SOS facilitations and Large Format Film, Cosmic Climate Cookbook, performed highly in communicating climate science, but relatively limited in resilience behavior. Extreme Event Challenge has high impact for communicating resilience strategies, but not as well in communicating climate science. Our informative climate science Lecture Series were comparatively limited in communicating resilience. This array of programming successes was greatly improved by collaborations with project partners: WCVE disseminated audio and video programs; George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication guided our storytelling techniques for SOS; NOAA assets (i.e., NWS, Chesapeake Bay Office, SOS Network) contributed information and speakers; Randi Korn & Associates provided evaluation; Resilient Virginia marketed programs and designed workshops; and Virginia Institute of Marine Science provided significant expertise through speakers and datasets. New, substantial project partners included Groundwork RVA (co-developed “Throwing Shade in RVA” teen program and participated in urban heat island citizen science projects); Alliance for Chesapeake Bay (provided free rain barrels and workshop educational content); Richmond City’s Department of Planning Review and Sustainability Office coordinated dissemination of outreach materials and executed urban heat island citizen science project; and Franklin Institute (helped guide development of a Virginia-specific facilitation of Ready Row Home hands-on experiences).

Award Number: NA15SEC0080009
Grant Dates: 12/31/2015 to 12/30/2018
PI: Jeremy Hoffman
State: Virginia   County:   Richmond City District: VA04
Partners: University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Center for Science Education · George Mason University / Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) · Franklin Institute · Nature Conservancy Headquarters · Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) / Marine Advisory Services · NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) · Resilient Virginia · Community Idea Stations · NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office · NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Wakefield, VA Forecast Office · National Sea Grant College Program / Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) · Virginia Environmental Endowment · Virginia Commonwealth University / Center for Environmental Studies · Virginia Foundation for the Humanities · University of Richmond · Virginia Commonwealth University / School of the Arts · Virginia Commonwealth University / School of Engineering · Richmond City Sustainability · Portland State University / Sustaining Urban Places Research (SUPR) Lab · Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) · Virginia Department of Health (VDH) · Sierra Club / Virginia Chapter · Virginia Academy of Science · Groundwork RVA · City of Richmond / Planning and Development Review · Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay · Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden / Beautiful RVA · Maryland Department of Health · Department of Energy and Environment · Enrichmond Foundation ·

Preparing Norfolk Area Students for America’s Second Highest Sea Level Rise

Elizabeth River Project offsite link · Portsmouth, Virginia
Funding: $497,774
Year: 2016
Children in the Norfolk, Va., area will inherit the highest sea level rise on the East Coast, second to New Orleans. In response, the non-profit Elizabeth River Project educated 25,333 students, 2,586 teachers, 63 Youth Resilience Leaders and 5 NEW River Ambassadors through a high school Youth Conservation Intern program for at-risk students. In addition, 180 River Star Schools and 13 new Resilient River Star Schools were recognized for implementing environmental projects addressing restoration, conservation, flooding and reducing their carbon footprint.

Children in the Norfolk, Va., area will inherit the highest sea level rise on the East Coast, second to New Orleans. In response, the non-profit Elizabeth River Project educated 25,333 students, 2,586 teachers, 63 Youth Resilience Leaders and 5 NEW River Ambassadors through a high school Youth Conservation Intern program for at-risk students. In addition, 180 River Star Schools and 13 new Resilient River Star Schools were recognized for implementing environmental projects addressing restoration, conservation, flooding and reducing their carbon footprint. The Elizabeth River Project prepared one of the first comprehensive youth education programs on resilience on this coast. The Elizabeth River Project, working since 1993 to restore the environmental health of the urban Elizabeth River, deployed its Dominion Energy Learning Barge, “America’s Greenest Vessel,” and its new urban park, Paradise Creek Nature Park, to empower K-12 students over three years to become informed decision makers and environmental stewards, prepared to adapt to rising seas. The project reached under-served schools in Norfolk and adjoining Portsmouth, Virginia. The lead science partner was Old Dominion University, on the forefront of climate change research and the University of Virginia for evaluation of education programs. Other partners included the Chrysler Museum of Art, ground zero for street flooding that has become routine in Norfolk. Elizabeth River Project’s first Youth Resilient Strategy Resilient Youth – South Hampton Roads A Pioneer Strategy of Hope and Action to Prepare Those Who Will Inherit Rising Seas. This plan is the first in America to call on educators, both in our schools and in the community, to help our youth prepare to inherit these extraordinary and increasing challenges. The youth plan will complement Norfolk Resilient City, a call to adults to prepare for rising seas and related challenges with a vision for our children to become hopeful, resilient leaders who innovate and persevere to safeguard our community as our lives change with a changing environment. The Elizabeth River Project will also serve as the Clearing House for education resources, activities and curriculum related to resilience as we launch a Youth Resilient Educators page at www.elizabethriver.org. Additional partners included: City of Norfolk Resilience Office, Norfolk and Portsmouth Public Schools, Wetland Watch and Hampton Roads Sanitation District.

Award Number: NA16SEC0080002
Grant Dates: 10/01/2016 to 09/30/2019
PI: Robin Dunbar
State: Virginia   County:   Portsmouth City District: VA03
Partners: Old Dominion University (ODU) · National Maritime Center (TNMC) Nauticus Museum · NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) · Groundwork Hudson Valley · NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office · NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Wakefield, VA Forecast Office · The Chrysler Museum of Art · City of Norfolk · Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) · Norfolk Public Schools / Chesterfield Academy · Portsmouth Public Schools · Wetlands Watch · National Sea Grant College Program / Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) · University of Virginia · City of Portsmouth · Norfolk Public Schools · Solar Services, Inc. · Chesapeake Public Schools · Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast (GSCCC) · Virginia Zoo · Norfolk Botanical Garden ·