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News Releases from Region 10

EPA Awards Environmental Education Grants to Alaska Songbird Institute, University of Washington, and Friends of the Teton River

Contact Information: 
Suzanne Skadowski (skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov)

(Seattle – May 31, 2016)   Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced grant awards for environmental education to the Alaska Songbird Institute, University of Washington, and Friends of the Teton River. The local awards are among 35 grants completed nationwide under EPA’s 2015 environmental education grants program.

EPA awarded the Alaska Songbird Institute a $90,631 grant for its Alaska Swallow Monitoring Network in Fairbanks and in Native Villages. The network recruits and trains students, teachers and other volunteers over two field seasons to collect, analyze and present ecological data on climate change impacts to nesting tree swallows. In 2016 the network will train interns, middle and high school students, and community volunteers including teachers, senior citizens and Alaska Native Elders, to monitor existing swallow nests and establish and monitor additional swallow nesting sites. Volunteers will present their findings to the community through outreach and presentations at professional conferences. In 2017 the network will recruit and train additional interns, students, and volunteers to continue the project across the nesting sites in rural and urban Alaskan communities. More information about the Alaska Songbird Institute is available at: http://aksongbird.org/.

The University of Washington Center for Conservation Biology and Indigenous Wellness Research Institute received a $91,000 grant for its Culture-Based Environmental Education for Tomorrow’s Tribal Leaders. The project enhances Tribal middle school education by providing interactive classroom presentations on research methods including non-invasive wildlife monitoring. Inquiry-based classroom lessons are combined with hands-on, cooperative-based activities that address cultural content and national learning standards. Leadership workshops are focused on connecting students to conservation and health concepts through outdoor learning and cultural-based actions. More information about the UW Center for Conservation Biology and Indigenous Wellness Research Institute is available at: http://www.conservationbiology.uw.edu/.

EPA awarded the Friends of the Teton River a $91,000 grant for the Teton County WaterWise Initiative. The Initiative educates students and adults in Teton County, Idaho, on the importance of maintaining clean drinking water as part of a WaterWise community education program. Events and workshops over the 2-year project focus on what households in Teton County can do to protect drinking water, such as testing for nitrates in drinking water wells and properly maintaining residential septic systems. Biology students at Teton High School learn about water quality and how to take field water quality measurements, including how to test specifically for nitrates. Students organize a nitrate testing event at the high school to provide free testing kits and instruct community members on how to do their own testing. Friends of the Teton River work with Teton County and the Teton County Drinking Water Protection Committee to develop and implement a best management practices and incentives program to reduce the risk of drinking water contamination and distribute drinking water education materials. More information about Friends of the Teton River is available at: http://tetonwater.org/.

In 2015, EPA funded 35 grants from organizations in 26 states. Grants range from $36,000 to $192,000, for a total of more than $3.3 million. EPA will award grants under the 2016 environmental education grants program later this year. Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 million and $3.5 million in grant funding per year, for a total of approximately $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.

More information about the grant winners and how to apply for future grant competitions is available at: http://www2.epa.gov/education/environmental-education-ee-grants.