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.

Bringing Knowledge of Planet Earth to a Wider Audience and Bringing a Diverse New Group to Careers in Science Teaching

Funding: $99,966
Year: 2006
Science On a Sphere (SOS) at Fiske Planetarium will raise awareness and understanding of Earth system science for over 30,000 visitors per year, using student docents and newly-developed, tested pedagogy. SOS will enhance Fiske’s ability to engage 3,000 university students and 30,000 K-12 students and members of the public. A student docent program will transform the traditionally passive experience of a planetarium visit into an interactive learning opportunity.

Science On a Sphere (SOS) at Fiske Planetarium will raise awareness and understanding of Earth system science for over 30,000 visitors per year, using student docents and newly-developed, tested pedagogy. SOS will enhance Fiske’s ability to engage 3,000 university students and 30,000 K-12 students and members of the public. A student docent program will transform the traditionally passive experience of a planetarium visit into an interactive learning opportunity. The docents will be drawn from two sources: undergraduates who will be future science teachers, who we take from a selective CU program called "STEM-TP", and Hispanic university and high school students taught by Fiske's planetarium manager Francisco Salas. Docents will talk with visitors and help them understand key science issues that affect the earth, leading to more informed decision-making. Fiske will develop bilingual pedagogical material and new data sets, and share them with NOAA and SOS sites. To support the docents, and visiting students and teachers, Fiske Education Manager Traub-Metlay will lead development of explanatory materials that challenge visitors and provide context for what they are seeing. These will be translated into Spanish by Fiske Manager Salas. New data sets, contributed by faculty members, will expand the range of SOS, into space, adding solar interior models, the celestial sphere, and the cosmic background radiation from the Big Bang, along with new terrestrial data such as the worldwide distribution of forest fires. SOS will become a focal point in Fiske's longstanding tradition of teacher workshops, which are often done in cooperation with the University of Colorado and NOAA scientists and highlight NOAA’s role monitoring the earth and sun. It also will be integrated with a small suite of hands-on exhibits we are installing that explains how observations can be made in infrared, ultraviolet, and X-rays in addition to visible light. These would complement SOS, which features multi-wavelength data. Fiske and its Boulder Colorado-area partners have raised $75,000 to cover the full cost of SOS hardware, and have formal institutional commitments to long-term program development. This award from NOAA will go into materials development, evaluation, and student pay. Colorado communities are aware of NOAA’s important work and the nearby David Skaggs Center, but security measures make it difficult to visit there. Fiske is much more accessible. Fiske will improve the usefulness of all SOS sites by conducting formative evaluation to assess what kinds of SOS presentations work best with public and school audiences, giving feedback to NOAA and all SOS users.

Award Number: NA06SEC4690012
Grant Dates: 10/01/2006 to 09/30/2007
PI: Douglas Duncan
State: Colorado   County:   Boulder District: CO02
Partners: Nature Conservancy Headquarters · University of Colorado Boulder / Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) ·

Science on a Sphere - Upgrade 2009

Funding: $75,790
Year: 2009
This project works to: (1) Continue to develop software that allows a docent to easily control Science on a Sphere from a small touchpad computer while interacting with visitors. (2) Continue to develop software that allows easy "drag and drop" construction of playlists. (3) Put kiosk control of the sphere, already developed as a student project, into a real kiosk. (4) Assess the use of wireless response devices or "clickers" to enhance audience interaction, learning, and enjoyment, and gather information from visitor responses and share all these improvements with the network.

This project works to: (1) Continue to develop software that allows a docent to easily control Science on a Sphere from a small touchpad computer while interacting with visitors. (2) Continue to develop software that allows easy "drag and drop" construction of playlists. (3) Put kiosk control of the sphere, already developed as a student project, into a real kiosk. (4) Assess the use of wireless response devices or "clickers" to enhance audience interaction, learning, and enjoyment, and gather information from visitor responses and share all these improvements with the network. (5) Improve the resolution of the 4 projectors of our SOS installation, in anticipation of new data on the moon and Mars coming to our university, which has been selected to lead NASA moon and Mars missions, and add flat screen TVs for the presentation of auxiliary data.

Award Number: NA09SEC4810032
Grant Dates: 08/01/2009 to 07/31/2010
PI: Douglas Duncan
State: Colorado   County:   Boulder District: CO02
Partners: University of Colorado Boulder / Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) ·

Ocean Science - Formal and Informal Education for Ocean Literacy

Seattle Aquarium offsite link · Seattle, Washington
Funding: $599,735
Year: 2006
The Ocean Science project integrates the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts into a Western Washington region-wide, coordinated program of formal and informal education consisting of: 1. Teacher professional development in the ocean sciences to integrate the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts into inquiry-based marine science education and instruction; 2.

The Ocean Science project integrates the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts into a Western Washington region-wide, coordinated program of formal and informal education consisting of: 1. Teacher professional development in the ocean sciences to integrate the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts into inquiry-based marine science education and instruction; 2. Evaluation and re-alignment of existing Sound Science ecosystems curricula into Ocean Science, incorporating NOAA data and promoting the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts; 3. Classroom programs, beach field investigations, and on-site programs at the Seattle Aquarium of the Olympic Coast national Marine Sanctuary's Olympic Coast Discovery Center for grades 4-5 students, their parents and teachers; 4. Parent training in ocean science content, the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts, and inquiry-based methods for supporting their children's science education; 5. Informal education for the general public via an interactive learning station linked to the Window on Washington Waters exhibit and designed to innovatively use NOAA data and information (videos, computer simulations and other creative media) to increase and evaluate ocean literacy in adults and children. Window on Washington Waters displays the outer coast marine environments and sea life of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

Award Number: NA06SEC4690008
Grant Dates: 09/01/2006 to 08/31/2011
PI: Kathleen Sider
State: Washington   County:   King District: WA07
Partners: Highline Public Schools · Seattle Public Schools · Environmental Science Center (ESC) · Feiro Marine Life Center (Feiro) · Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ·

Visualizing Change: Training and Tools to Support Informal Educators

Seattle Aquarium offsite link · Seattle, Washington
Funding: $121,751
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, FrameWorks Institute and New Knowledge Organization.

Award Number: NA13SEC0080011
Grant Dates: 10/01/2013 to 09/30/2017
PI: Jim Wharton
State: Washington   County:   King District: WA07
Partners: Aquarium of the Pacific · Exploratorium · Monterey Bay Aquarium · National Aquarium / National Aquarium In Baltimore (NAIB) · New England Aquarium Corporation / New England Aquarium (NEAq) · Science Museum of Minnesota · Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) · NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory · NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) ·

Carbon Networks

Pacific Science Center offsite link · Seattle, Washington
Funding: $88,478
Year: 2014
Carbon Networks addresses the disconnect between scientific evidence and the public’s understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Carbon Networks addresses the disconnect between scientific evidence and the public’s understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It brings together three diverse, informal education partners – the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Waikiki Aquarium in Hawaii, and the Pacific Science Center in Seattle – in a collaborative project to co-design and implement professional development for staff and local educators, as well as create educational programs and activities for museum visitors to better understand the evolving narrative and impact of ocean acidification and climate change.

Award Number: NA14SEC0080003
Grant Dates: 09/01/2014 to 08/31/2017
PI: Keni Sturgeon
State: Washington   County:   King District: WA07
Partners: Exploratorium · Seattle Aquarium · U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System / NANOOS · University of California at Santa Barbara · NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) · National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) / West Coast · NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) · National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) / Southwest Fisheries Science Center · National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Channel Islands · National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Greater Farallones · National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Cordell Bank · National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Olympic Coast · U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System / CeNCOOS · University of California—Berkeley · National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Monterey Bay · University of Hawaii System / Waikiki Aquarium · National Sea Grant College Program / University of Washington (UW) · U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System / PacIOOS · National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) / Alaska Fisheries Science Center ·

From Mt. Rainier to the Pacific Coast: Fostering Resilient Climate Leaders, Communities and Coastal Ecosystems

Funding: $298,713
Year: 2015
Nisqually River Foundation with partners (South Sound GREEN, Chehalis Basin Education Consortium, and Mount Rainier Institute) with support from NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region implemented their project, “From Mt. Rainier to the Pacific Coast: Fostering Resilient Climate Leaders, Communities and Coastal Ecosystems,” over 3 years, from 2016-2018. Our region faces the climate change threats of sea level rise, receding glaciers, extreme weather/flooding, ocean acidification and impacts on humans and important local resources, such as surface and groundwater, salmon, forests, and shellfish.

Nisqually River Foundation with partners (South Sound GREEN, Chehalis Basin Education Consortium, and Mount Rainier Institute) with support from NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region implemented their project, “From Mt. Rainier to the Pacific Coast: Fostering Resilient Climate Leaders, Communities and Coastal Ecosystems,” over 3 years, from 2016-2018. Our region faces the climate change threats of sea level rise, receding glaciers, extreme weather/flooding, ocean acidification and impacts on humans and important local resources, such as surface and groundwater, salmon, forests, and shellfish. Together we engaged more than 120 teachers and their 3,000+ students from the Nisqually, South Puget Sound and Chehalis watersheds to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts. We held three Summer Teachers Institutes to bring teachers connect teachers with local science experts in climate change impacts in the Pacific Northwest. Our 2017 Institute was held in partnership with Mount Rainier Institute, who also hosted Climate Resilient Youth Leadership Programs for 350 12-18-year olds. Participants generated and participated in Community Resilience Action Projects to conserve local ecosystems and increase resiliency in their communities to extreme weather events and changing climate. These projects included: riparian habitat restoration in the Nisqually, Chehalis, and Deschutes basins; creating recycling and composting programs on school campuses; eliminating Styrofoam from school cafeterias; creating a Migration Parade event to explore climate impacts on migratory species; the “Pick a DOT- Do One Thing - What’s your thing?” on-line videos; and the creation of high-impact environmental education art installations, to name a handful. Students also monitored local stream flows, temperatures, and water quality, building on a previous Targeted Watershed Grant from the EPA and a data set that goes back to 1992. NOAA’s mission of Service was supported as teachers and students shared their knowledge in their classrooms, with school districts, at community meetings, and through social media. NOAA assets used included the NW Marine Fisheries staff, Data in the Classroom, CoCoRaHS, NOAA-NASA Cloud Watcher Chart, NOAA’s Climate Literacy Principles, Beat the Uncertainty game, Game of Floods, Thermal Expansion label, the Marine Mammals of the US West Coast, and more. Other local contributing partners include the Nisqually Indian Tribe, the Squaxin Tribe, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Nisqually Land Trust, Thurston Conservation District and Capital Region Educational Service District 113.

Award Number: NA15SEC0080007
Grant Dates: 04/01/2016 to 07/31/2019
PI: Justin Hall
State: Washington   County:   Thurston District: WA10
Partners: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) / West Coast · Chehalis Basin Education Consortium · South Sound GREEN (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network) · Mount Rainier Institute · U.S. National Park Service / Mount Rainier National Park · Nisqually Land Trust · Capitol Land Trust · Chehalis River Basin Land Trust · NOAA Office of Education · U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge · Nisqually Tribe · Joint Base Lewis–McChord · Mason Conservation District · Squaxin Island Tribe · Puget Sound Estuarium ·