Educating and inspiring people to use Earth system science to build local resilience to the hazardous weather, changes in climate, and other environmental threats monitored by NOAA.
NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program (ELP) provides competitive grants and in-kind support for formal (K-12) and informal education projects to increase local resilience to hazardous weather, changes in climate, and other environmental threats monitored by NOAA. All projects are in service of NOAA’s mission of science, service, and stewardship.
Using NOAA’s assets, funded projects provide opportunities for people to
- Reason about the ways that human and natural systems interact globally and locally, including the acknowledgement of disproportionately distributed vulnerabilities;
- Participate in civic processes; and
- Incorporate scientific information, cultural knowledge, and diverse community values when taking action to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from environmental threats, including mitigating and adapting to global climate change.
The program's Theory of Change articulates the outcomes that are sought and being achieved through these investments. Summative evaluation reports and links to project summaries are available for more information about completed projects.
In fiscal year 2022, the program benefited over 2,000 educators, 6,000 students, and 7,000 youth and adults. It also increased the educational capacity of 52 institutions.
52 institutions helped people become more aware of how to increase their resilience to hazardous weather, changes in climate, and other environmental threats assessed by NOAA.
Over 2,000 formal and informal educators participated in ongoing professional learning communities designed to empower each educator with the confidence and competence to teach NOAA-related topics as well as use NOAA’s assets to educate others.
Over 6,000 K-12 students participated in formal education projects.
Over 7,000 children, youth, and adults participated in informal education projects.
9 new projects were funded to help people and their communities build local resilience to the environmental threats monitored by NOAA through education.
Statistics on resilience education awards
Since the program's inception in 2005, it has supported education initiatives that serve NOAA’s mission of science, service, and stewardship. In 2009, the program began to focus on building the climate literacy of children, youth, and adults. Over the next five years, the community started to recognize that increasing awareness of global climate change and understanding of its causes was not sufficient to motivate audiences to take action to both mitigate and adapt to its effects. By 2015, the program’s focus shifted from funding climate literacy-focused projects to community resilience education projects. These approaches are solutions-oriented and locally focused. Further, the program focuses on projects that engage, educate, and empower participants to act individually and collectively.
The response to community resilience education competitions was large. To date, the program has received 849 applications — spanning all 50 states and U.S. territories — with a total federal funding request above $385 million. The magnitude of this response highlights the nation’s demand for education as a way to help build local resilience to hazardous weather, changes in climate, and other environmental threats monitored by NOAA. However, it also means the program’s competitions have been highly competitive with about 5% of the applications funded. To date, 41 resilience education grants have been awarded for a total of about $19 million.
Due to high demand for resilience education, a previous competition in 2020 solicited projects only from the Southern and Western regions of the country. The 2022 competition continued this geographically restricted approach, soliciting projects only from the Central and Eastern regions. There was also a solicitation open to awardees from projects funded between 2015-2018.
Application, awards, and success rates
The bar chart (below) illustrates the number of applications and awards for each fiscal year from 2015 to 2022, as well as the success rate for each fiscal year. On average, the program receives around 170 applications per fiscal year and funds approximately 8 of them, resulting in an average success rate of around 5%.
Resilience education grants
The bar chart (below) illustrates the number of new and continuing resilience education grants by fiscal year from 2016 to 2023. The chart reveals that, on average, the program has supported at least 16 resilience education projects per fiscal year. For fiscal year 2023, the chart includes the total number of new and continuing grants.
The bar chart (below) shows the total amount of federal funding provided to active recipients for resilience education for each fiscal year from 2015 to 2022. The chart reveals that, on average, these recipients received approximately $2 million in funding per fiscal year. The highest amount of funding was provided in 2020, while the lowest amount was in 2018. It's important to note that the fiscal year refers to the period in which funding was allocated by Congress.
The bar chart (below) illustrates the types of hazardous weather, climate changes, and other environmental threats that active recipients of resilience education addressed in fiscal year 2022. A majority of these recipients addressed multiple threats during this time. The most common threats that were addressed were extreme heat events, droughts, and sea level rise.
Resilience education grants and their geographic impact
To date, the program’s resilience education grants have served thousands of children, youth, and adults from 38 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — including 231 counties of which about 35 percent are considered rural and/or persistent-poverty areas. They have supported education efforts to build their participants’ environmental literacy so they have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to assist their communities in becoming resilient to hazardous weather, changes in climate, and other environmental threats monitored by NOAA. To see the full geographic impact of these grants, view the map offsite link of all the grantees and the counties where their projects’ activities occurred or are occurring — and/or download the data.
In the map the:
- dark blue dots indicate an institution that has received a resilience education award from the program. Click on the blue dot, and a pop-up window will appear with information about the institution and the awards in which they are involved, such as total number of grants, total funding amount, and geographic impact. Note: Some institutions have received more than one award and may be involved in awards led by other institutions. In these instances, there will be more than one entry within the pop-up window. To see the multiple entries, click the arrows at the top of the pop-up window.
- light blue shaded counties indicate where an impact is occurring or has occurred from an award. Click on a shaded county, and a pop-up window will appear with information about the award(s) serving that county, such as the lead institution, types of audiences served, and the focus areas of the award(s).
Note: This map shows closed and open awards.
Statistics on all awards
The bar chart (below) shows the number of new and continuing grants by fiscal year from 2005 to 2023. The chart reveals that, on average, the program has supported at least 30 grants per fiscal year. In total, the program has awarded 154 grants to 104 institutions nationwide for a total of $84,474,823 in federal funding.
The bar chart (below) shows the amount of federal funding received by active recipients during each fiscal year from 2005 to 2022. On average, these recipients received around $4.5 million per fiscal year. The highest amount of funding was provided in 2010, while the lowest amount was in 2018. It's important to note that the fiscal year refers to the period in which funding was allocated by Congress.