NOAA awards $4 million to advance community resilience through education

Nine projects will engage children, youth, and adults around extreme weather and climate change

NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program is funding nine 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 $4.1 million to empower people to protect themselves and their communities from local climate impacts.

Cartoon illustration of community members discussing and collaborating on a schematic featuring maps and environmental information. Speech bubbles show that they are discussing storms, tornadoes, and storm shutters. Next to them, two people look at NOAA information on a laptop.
NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program (ELP) supports projects that both inspire and educate people to use Earth system science to increase ecosystem stewardship and resilience to extreme weather, climate change, and other environmental hazards. (NOAA Office of Education & Jessica B. Bartram, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Recent environmental events underscore the importance of resilience education. According to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), “In 2021, the U.S. experienced 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, putting 2021 in second place for the most disasters in a calendar year, behind the record 22 separate billion-dollar events in 2020." Communities continue to contend with hurricanes, wildfires, rising sea levels, and other climate-related impacts. Furthermore, the geographic distribution of climate change impacts is uneven, and long-standing inequities heighten vulnerabilities for underserved groups.

“Community resilience is strengthened when communities are well informed of risks, and they are empowered to take action individually and collectively,” said NOAA Administrator, Dr. Rick Spinrad. “The projects funded by these grants will help ensure that those most affected by the impacts of climate change are prepared and empowered to adapt and become more resilient.”

NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program funds 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.)

This is the sixth year that NOAA’s Office of Education is funding community resilience projects through the Environmental Literacy Program. Due to extremely high demand for these types of projects, our previous competition in 2020 solicited new projects from the Southern and Western regions of the country. The 2022 competition continued this approach, soliciting new projects from the Central and Eastern regions (Priority 1). There was also a solicitation open only to awardees from projects funded between 2015-2018 from this program (Priority 2). 

  • Priority 1 received 135 pre-applications submitted 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 had a much smaller pool of potential applicants than Priority 1, and received 11 applications from nine different states, with a total federal request of more than $5.3 million.

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 projects funded in 2022 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 wildfires, 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. For example: 

  • Diverse groups of youth and adults learning workforce development skills within the solar industry and other sustainability-related fields. 
  • Community educators improving their knowledge and capacity to mitigate and manage heat-related illnesses and impacts. 
  • Youth leaders building skills to strengthen environmental justice and resilience in their neighborhoods.  
  • Teachers and school administrators designing customized outdoor learning opportunities with an emphasis on green infrastructure design and stewardship.
  • Indigenous, rural, and urban youth creating climate podcasts that focus on actionable solutions and relevant NOAA resources.
  • Community forums designing local climate resilience strategies, such as repurposing derelict neighborhood lots.
  • Faith-based leaders, scientists, and resilience practitioners working with congregations in rural, coastal counties to implement sustainability projects.  

 

RECIPIENT

PROJECT

PRIMARY PROJECT LOCATION

AMOUNT

Carilion Medical Center

Building Heat Resilience in Southwestern Virginia through Education

Roanoke, VA

$316,777

Solar One (CEC Stuyvesant Cove)

Newark Resilient Solar Initiative

Newark, NJ

$499,994

Creation Justice Ministries  (Division of Homeland Ministries of the Christian Church, Inc.)

Participatory Education in Faith Communities for Climate Resilience

Coastal counties in NC, MD, and VA

$375,206

Kettering University

Climate Resilient Flint: Building Community-Driven Climate Resilience through Hyperlocal Science-to-Civics Learning

Flint, MI

$499,941

Manomet, Inc.

Brockton Kids Lead the Way: Enhancing 

Stewardship and Climate Resilience through Outdoor Education

Brockton, MA

$483,173

Regents of the University of Colorado

HEART Force - Resilient Colorado

Rural counties in CO

$500,000

F.H. Faunteroy Community Enrichment Center (Rockson Community Development Corp)

Nothing Without Us: Building Environmental Literacy, Resilience, and Sustainability in DC through a Multi-Partner, Community-Led Approach

Washington, D.C.

$499,999

Twin Cities Public Television, Inc.

Climate Youth Labs (CY-Labs): Elevating Youth Voices to Promote Climate Resiliency 

Minneapolis, MN; Red Lake Nation, MN; and rural communities in WI

$498,664

We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Inc.

Nos Quedamos: Youth-led Activation of Community Climate Resiliency Hubs in Melrose Commons

Bronx, NY

$440,276

Funding amounts listed above are full federal amounts for all years of the award. These nine new projects are part of a growing community of practice of NOAA-funded community resilience education projects that includes 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 2022, please visit the awards webpage.