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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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: 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) · NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory · NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) ·

Here to the Ocean, a nationally traveling museum exhibition

Sciencenter offsite link · Ithaca, New York
Funding: $750,000
Year: 2008
The Sciencenter seeks to develop a 1,500-square-foot traveling exhibition, called "Here to the Ocean," on how activity in inland watersheds affects the health of the ocean, and therefore the planet. The unifying theme of the exhibition is "What we do here, has an impact there," and the key take-home message for museum visitors is that ocean water quality is not just a coastal issue.

The Sciencenter seeks to develop a 1,500-square-foot traveling exhibition, called "Here to the Ocean," on how activity in inland watersheds affects the health of the ocean, and therefore the planet. The unifying theme of the exhibition is "What we do here, has an impact there," and the key take-home message for museum visitors is that ocean water quality is not just a coastal issue. This exhibition will travel to museums throughout the United States, reaching an estimated 200,000+ visitors annually for at least seven years, resulting in an estimated total impact of 1.5 million visitors in at least 20 U.S. cities. The core audience of this exhibition will be families with children ages 6-12, and children visiting museums in school groups. "Here to the Ocean" will feature interactive open-ended exhibits that bring watershed science to life, including an immersive experience allowing visitors to conduct their own virtual underwater tours of watersheds by stepping inside and operating a submersible research vehicle on an expedition from a backyard creek all the way to the ocean. This and other exhibits will feature stunning high-definition video footage depicting fauna from various water ecosystems, as well as human activities that affect watershed health. Additional hands-on exhibits will help visitors to understand how watersheds are connected to the ocean, basic concepts in hydrology, the impact of pollution, and what science offers in the way of solutions to watershed problems. Exhibits will be designed to inspire visitors to adopt behaviors that protect their local watersheds. Visitors experiencing this exhibition will: 1) leave with an increased understanding of watershed science that will help them make informed, data-driven decisions on issues relating to watersheds; 2) have an increased awareness of the importance of watershed health and positive attitudes about the need to protect local watersheds; 3) have an increased understanding of the value of science in solving environmental problems and will be inspired to stay involved in science through school and/or career; and 4) feel an increased sense of personal watershed stewardship which they will share with others.

Award Number: NA08SEC4690025
Grant Dates: 06/01/2008 to 09/30/2012
PI: Charles Trautmann
State: New York   County:   Tompkins District: NY23
Partners: Cornell University / Cornell Lab of Ornithology ·

Families by the Seaside: Building Community-based Outdoor Ocean Science Learning Experiences

Seacoast Science Center offsite link · Rye, New Hampshire
Funding: $489,574
Year: 2010
This 2-year program will advance the way informal ocean science education institutions reach underserved/underrepresented families by facilitating and formalizing relationships between informal science education centers and community based organizations. Project teams in five New England communities will collaborate to create a practicable, outdoor ocean-science learning experience specifically designed for families in their shared service area.

This 2-year program will advance the way informal ocean science education institutions reach underserved/underrepresented families by facilitating and formalizing relationships between informal science education centers and community based organizations. Project teams in five New England communities will collaborate to create a practicable, outdoor ocean-science learning experience specifically designed for families in their shared service area. Building on a needs assessment produced through target-audience focus groups, the program will combine coastal field experiences with web-based interactive and participatory learning activities developed and tested by the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL; www.eol.org/) and the Northeast Regional Association for Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) to support in-field and ongoing learning. Science content will be informed and vetted by NOAA research scientists and work between the science centers and community organizations will be professionally facilitated. Formats and effectiveness will be evaluated by external evaluators and revised throughout the project.

Award Number: NA10SEC0080026
Grant Dates: 11/01/2010 to 09/30/2014
PI: Wendy Lull
State: New Hampshire   County:   Rockingham District: NH01
Partners: New England Aquarium Corporation / New England Aquarium (NEAq) · Sea Research Foundation / Mystic Aquarium · BOAT CAMP, Inc. · Girls Incorporated of Lynn · JumpStart Youth Connection · U.S. Navy / Naval Submarine Base / New London · Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) · Portsmouth Housing Authority · Center for Teen Empowerment · Harvard University / Encyclopedia of Life · Northeastern University (NU) / Marine Science Center (MSC) ·