NOAA awards $3 million to advance community resilience through education

Six projects will engage children, youth, and adults to prepare for extreme weather and climate change

NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program is funding six projects that will use education to build the foundation for resilience to extreme weather and climate change in their communities. Together, these projects will receive a total of $2.9 million to empower people to protect themselves and their communities from local climate impacts.

Since 2015, NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program has funded grant projects that build resilience to extreme weather and climate change in ways that contribute to community health, social cohesion, and socio-economic equity. (See NOAA’s Community Resilience Education Theory of Change for more information on these relationships.) 

Across the country, communities are confronted by escalating threats from hurricanes, wildfires, drought, sea level rise, and other climate-related impacts. According to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), as of mid September 2023 there have been 23 confirmed weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each to affect the United States, the most ever recorded in a single year and there are more than three months to go before the year is over. These disasters and extreme weather events underscore the importance of resilience education. Furthermore, the geographic distribution of climate change impacts is uneven, and long-standing inequities heighten vulnerabilities for underserved groups.

“NOAA values education, empowerment, and equity, and these awards give an important boost to NOAA’s commitment to build a climate-ready nation,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Deputy NOAA Administrator, Jainey Bavishi, “Because NOAA’s climate science helps communities become climate smart and identify what they need to build resiliency, and it enables NOAA to partner with them to build it all with a sharp eye on equity and environmental justice.”

Six projects were selected for funding following a highly competitive request for applications in which communities highlighted their need for education projects that build resilience. For the 2022-2023 competition, NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program solicited new projects from only half the country, due to extremely high demand and completing the same approach used in 2020-2021 (Priority 1). There was also an opportunity open only to awardees from projects funded by this program between 2015-2018 (Priority 2).

  • Priority 1 received 135 pre-applications from 27 states as well as the District of Columbia, with a total federal request of nearly $68 million. Only 57 of the highest ranking pre-applications were authorized to submit full applications, and 49 did so. 
  • Priority 2 received 11 applications from nine different states, with a total federal request of more than $5.3 million. 

NOAA previously funded nine projects from this competition in 2022. Projects were selected through rigorous peer review by a group of experts representing a variety of fields, including environmental justice, science education and evaluation, and resilience planning.

The additional projects funded in 2023 incorporate relevant local and state resilience plans and collaborate with individuals and institutions that are involved in efforts to develop or implement those plans. The projects address local environmental hazards and climate impacts, such as extreme heat and flooding. All projects use educational approaches that develop community level environmental literacy to understand threats and implement solutions that build resilience to extreme weather, climate change, and other environmental hazards. 

The funded projects use a variety of educational approaches to serve different audiences from rural, remote counties to densely populated urban environments. For example: 

  • Diverse groups of youth and adults learn workforce development skills to pursue climate-related careers.
  • Researchers co-generate resilient solutions with environmental justice organizations. 
  • High school students and teachers develop local projects that will help them become more resilient.
  • Youth ambassadors work on resilience plans to mitigate the impacts of flooding and become agents of change in their communities.
  • City planners connect residents with government officials to become more involved in community-level resilience planning.
  • Community-based organizations and libraries create spaces for youth and adults to learn about climate change and resilience through art, science, and community.





City of Raleigh

Community Climate Education for a Resilient Raleigh

Raleigh, NC


Drexel University

Science Shop for Community Resilience

Philadelphia, PA


Eastern Michigan University

Community resilience from the youth up: a place-based education strategy for southeast Michigan

Detroit and Ypsilanti, MI


Groundwork Ohio River Valley

Engaging Youth and Frontline Communities in Climate Justice Planning and Action in Greater Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH


Nurture Nature Center, Inc.

CREATE Connections: Linking a Vision of Resilience to Action

Lehigh Valley, PA


West Virginia University Research Corporation

Preparing Agents of Change for Tomorrow (PACT): Building Youth Confidence and Capacity for Climate Resilient Futures in Appalachia

Rural counties in West Virginia


Funding amounts listed above are full federal amounts for all years of the award. These six new projects are part of a growing community of practice of NOAA-funded community resilience education projects that includes nine projects funded in 2022, 10 projects funded in 2020-2021, nine projects funded in 2018, two projects in 2017, five projects in 2016, and six projects in 2015. For more details about the projects funded in 2023, please visit the awards webpage. The next solicitation is planned for the fall of 2024. Please check the Apply page to stay up to date.