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Release Date: 08/10/1999
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the state of Vermont a $150,000 grant to train teachers and create a curriculum that includes environmental education.

The grant to Vermont's Department of Public Services is among the largest of 200 awards totaling $2.5 million given by EPA this summer for environmental education. Since 1992, EPA's Environmental Education Grants Program has awarded .nearly 2,000 grants to projects that will benefit the environment while educating the public.

Vermont's "Building Education for Sustainable Society" (BESS) project will help students meet the state's education standards in science, math and technology through environmental education. Funds will help pay to develop a curriculum that teaches environmental education through other subjects, rather than as an "add-on," as in the past.

EPA funds will help train 10 to 20 exemplary teachers a year as mentors. These teachers, chosen because of their knowledge of environmental education or their success teaching under new state standards, will then train as many as 300 other teachers during the first two years of the project.

"Vermont has proposed an exciting project that will educate teachers and students at the same time it serves the environment," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England Administrator. "We expect that the curriculum created by BESS will have a long-lasting effect on students as well as the varied natural resources of the state."

The governmental partners in BESS are the Vermont Department of Public Service; the Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets; the Vermont Department of Education and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Other partners are the University of Vermont, the Vermont Institute of Science, Math and Technology and the State Wide Environmental Education Program.

"This partnership wants to make environmental education part of the mainstream curriculum, rather than an add-on," said Richard Sedano, commissioner of the Department of Public Service, which submitted and received the grant. "We hope to accomplish this by training teachers, working with administrators and establishing a career ladder for environmental educators."