NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $91,000 environmental education grant to the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks (The Wild Center) and an $87,093 environmental education grant to the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Water Academy Program. The programs focus on educating youth about the importance of the natural resources specific to their regions.
The Wild Center and Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper were two of three recipients to receive grants from EPA Region 2, which is responsible for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight tribal nations. Grants totaling $266,532 were awarded in EPA Region 2 with Fiscal Year 2016 funding for the three grants, and funding nationwide for this round of grants totaled approximately $3.3 million.
"The hands-on experiences provided through EPA Environmental Education Grants are wonderful resources for student learning while also improving human health and the environment," said Catherine McCabe, Acting EPA Regional Administrator. "Our agency is thrilled to be awarding funding to communities in New York who will greatly benefit from this project."
Expanding on the success of the Youth Climate Summit, an idea originally conceived by a high school student seven years ago, The Wild Center’s Adirondack Youth Climate Program engages and empowers students in identifying opportunities and actions to reduce carbon emissions in their schools and communities. Student and teacher participants will develop a stronger climate literacy through workshops and presentations led by climate experts, which will focus on the regional climate hazards and stresses of the greater Adirondack region of northern New York State.
Over the course of the project, students will attend Youth Climate Summits and will create and implement a Climate Action Plan, a framework for reducing emissions and climate impacts in the community. The program will provide sub-grant awards to local educational institutions for implementation of Climate Action Plans that address climate change impacts, increase environmental literacy, promote environmental stewardship and that are cost-effective.
For more than two decades, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper has safeguarded Western New York’s waterways and has grown to become one of the largest Waterkeeper Alliance organizations in the world. The Water Academy Program, designed to educate present and future generations, will inspire high school, college students and community members to seek solutions to modern environmental problems by embracing community initiatives that prioritize the importance of better managing and sustaining fresh water.
Partners for the program include Buffalo State College Great Lakes Center and SUNY Erie Community College. Buffalo State will provide their modern outdoor classroom, state-of-the-art aquatic research center and a GLC research vessel, while Erie Community College will allow its students to get college credit for participating in the program to further their environmental careers.
Through hands-on experiences, such as educational tours, water-quality monitoring practice, and community restoration and cleanup projects, participants in the Water Academy will gain valuable knowledge, skills and abilities to further their environmental careers. Environmental priorities of the program include local climate change solutions, addressing watershed contamination and safeguarding fresh water. The Water Academy program will include workshops such as "The Love Canal Legacy in Western NY," "Healing Scajaquada Creek," and "Restoring Niagara’s Hazardous Waste Sites."
Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 million and $3.5 million in grant funding per year, for a total of more than $68 million supporting more than 3,600 grant projects. This highly competitive grants program supports environmental education projects that increase public awareness about environmental issues and provide participants with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. The program provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate or disseminate environmental education practices, methods or techniques.
SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency