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EPA Environmental Education Grant to Alelí Environmental will strengthen agricultural education, promote environmental stewardship in Puerto Rico communities

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Jennifer May-Reddy (

(New York, N.Y.) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Alelí Environmental has been selected to receive funding to support agricultural education and community projects in southwest Puerto Rico. EPA anticipates that it will award Alelí Environmental an Environmental Education grant in the amount of $100,000 once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

“We are very pleased to select Alelí Environmental to receive this funding, and are excited that they are partnering with the Municipality of San Germán to support agroecology education in public schools,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Locally-focused environmental education projects like this are important towards better understanding and promoting the role of agriculture and agricultural practices in protecting the environment.”

“Alelí Environmental, Inc. receives this award with gratitude and excitement as this is a dream project that has become true,” said Alelí Environmental, Inc Co-Director Glenis Padilla Plaza. “This initiative will strengthen an agroecology program that will build capacity in six public schools of southwest Puerto Rico. Our short-term goal is to motivate youth to pursue a career in sustainable agriculture. Our long-term vision is to see our island plant the seeds for self-sufficient livelihoods, respect for nature, and healthier lifestyles.”

Alelí Environmental - $100,000

Project Title: Strengthening and Expanding an Agricultural Education Program for Environmental Stewardship and Community Integration at the Laura Mercado Agro-ecology Specialized School in San Germán, Puerto Rico.

For this project, Alelí Environmental, Inc will be partnering with the Laura Mercado Agroecology Specialized School (LMASS) and the Municipality of San German to strengthen the LMASS agroecology education and to expand their agroecology program to surrounding schools. The grant will be used on several different projects:

1) The first is to install an aquaponic system to grow fresh water fish and vegetables.  Workshops will be held to educate the students and teachers of LMASS about the maintenance and use of the system. Grant funding will be used to purchase two 1,000-gallon tanks and assorted pipes for the construction of a rainwater collection system at the school.

2) 1.5 miles of rainforest trails and four outdoor classrooms will be rehabilitated with assistance from the Municipality of San Germán.

3) Education on agroecology will take place in the form of field trips for students to agroecology farms on the island and workshops for the teachers.

4) Monthly environmental presentations will be held with the parents of LMASS students so the parents can help reinforce environmentally-friendly practices at home.

During the 2017 hurricane season, schools in Puerto Rico served as hubs for people seeking refuge. Hurricane Maria left many schools on the island without adequate water or food supplies. By collecting rainwater and growing fish and vegetables through the aquaponic system, this project will help to increase food and water supplies at LMASS to serve local communities in emergencies. 

Background on EPA’s Environmental Education Grant Program

Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 million and $3.5 million in EE grant funding per year, for a total of over $75 million supporting more than 3,700 grant projects. The program traditionally provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate or disseminate environmental education practices, methods or techniques.

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