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EPA Awards $91,000 Environmental Education Grant to Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council in Providence, R.I.

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David Deegan (

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $91,000 environmental education grant to the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council in Providence, R.I. to work on a two-year effort to educate K-12 students in greater Providence about environmental protection and their natural environment.

"Teaching students about conservation through hands-on experiences ensures that our future generations will continue to be good stewards of our natural resources," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "This grant furthers EPA's commitment to working alongside our local partners to promote a healthy environment."

The EPA Funding will be used by the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC) to partner with the Partnership for Providence Parks, through their Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership, on a program called "Using Parks & Partners for Broad Reaching Environmental Education," with a goal of connecting the urban community, particularly underserved populations, with their natural surroundings within walking distance from their schools. Using a variety WRWC's water education curricula, as well as the Roger Williams Park Zoo Teacher Institute, the program will reach K-12 students in the Providence and North Providence public school systems.

The Teacher Institute trains participants in field biology, wildlife conservation, watershed restoration, and outdoor education using public parks as outdoor classrooms with the intention of having these teachers use these skills with their students throughout the schoolyear. Summer camps for students 6-14 years old will take place in their local parks. A high school Environmental Leaders program, for 15 to 30 students, has students engage in an environmental educational curriculum program and conduct projects on a relevant topic which the participants then teach to younger students. Finally, WRWC educates the more than 1,000 adults who join the WRWC for stewardship activities annually.

"The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council and the Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership are excited to educate hundreds of urban youth using local parks as our laboratory. With the help of our partners in three school systems, the Audubon Society of RI and the Roger Williams Park Zoo, both teachers and students can make the most out of local natural resources to build young environmental scientists and stewards. This exciting program will bring over 500 Providence and North Providence K-12 students outside to learn and also to teach others what they learn through outdoor art," said Alicia J. Lehrer, Executive Director of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council.

More information:

EPA's environmental education grants (