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Federal Government Addresses Farmworker Safety, Lead Poisoning, Asthma and Other NJ Environmental Issues With Education Funds

Release Date: 08/11/1999
Contact Information: Teresa Ippolito (212) 637-3675 /

(#99127) New York, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it has awarded grants to five organizations for efforts to educate workers, children, parents and teachers about environmental and human health issues affecting New Jerseyans. The grants, part of EPA's environmental education program, are awarded annually to non-profit organizations, educational institutions and local and tribal government agencies that demonstrate the ability to help communities understand and care about what are often complex environmental and human health issues.

"This year's grant recipients have displayed an outstanding commitment to educating New Jerseyans about the very real effects the environment can have on their lives," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional Administrator.  "The EPA environmental education program relies on local groups like these to bring home the message that a clean environment means safer and healthier children and adults, and the preservation of New Jersey's natural resources for all of us to enjoy. We look forward to seeing the results of the groups' good work."

EPA's New York City office received 139 applications for environmental education grants of less than $25,000 each this year, and awarded 19 grants including four in New Jersey. EPA Headquarters in Washington D.C., which awards environmental education grants over $25,000, awarded one additional grant in the state for farm worker training. For information on how to apply for an environmental education grant, contact Teresa Ippolito, EPA Regional Environmental Education Coordinator, at (212) 637-3675.

The following are descriptions of the 1999 EPA environmental education grants made in the state of New Jersey.

Farmworker Health and Safety Institute Inc., $40,000
Farmworker Training and Development Program
The Farmworker Health and Safety Institute, a consortium of three community-based farmworker organizations, is developing a unique educational program that trains farmworkers to teach their peers and their families about environmental issues such as pesticide safety, runoff, spills, solid waste incineration, and crop dusting and its effect on air quality. The Institute will teach farmworkers how to: 1) analyze their work and community for environmental hazards such as pesticides and unsafe drinking water; 2) train their fellow farmworkers; and 3) evaluate this program and the comprehension of their trainees through follow-up training and community visits. The program also teaches experienced farmworker trainers how to conduct A train-the-trainer@ workshops consisting of three separate training sessions totaling over 250 hours. The Institute will train farmworkers in New Jersey, Florida, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas and the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. This project may serve as a model for similar programs in other states.

International Youth Organization, $13,391
Newark Asthma and Lead Poisoning Education and Risk Reduction Project
This project will teach 1,000 parents and care-givers of young children how to reduce the risks of asthma and lead and better manage chronic conditions related to them. Twelve Youth Corps/School-to-Work participants and 16 Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) are being trained to work with the parents and care-givers to incorporate everyday practices into the home that reduce the risks of asthma and lead poisoning. IYO will utilize its network of day care centers, elementary schools, block clubs, tenant associations and community centers in Newark's Enterprise Community to reach its target audience and educate them about important indoor air quality issues that impact children's health.

Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE), $5,000
Establishment of a Resource Information Center
EPA's grant will support ANJEE's development of a website that will encourage and enhance communication among New Jersey's environmental educators. The website will unify environmental education programs in the state and improve New Jersey's capacity to deliver effective environmental education. It will include an online resource information center and a directory linking professional educators, non-professional educators and resource professionals. The website/center will also provide a platform for chatting and sharing real time information.

Citizen Policy and Education Fund of New Jersey, $5,000
Train the Trainer Statewide Program
This program leverages the resources of community groups and social service agencies in New Jersey's cities including Elizabeth, Camden and Jersey City to educate the public about lead poisoning. In these urban centers, where housing is older and more likely to contain lead paint, a lack of education about lead poisoning and its prevention puts thousands of children at risk. Grant funds will support a statewide program of day-long seminars and follow-up outreach in each city that will enable community leaders and agency staff to teach parents how to prevent and respond to lead poisoning. This highly motivated group of agency and organization staff will interact with at-risk families on a regular basis.

Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission $5,000
Urban Watershed Education
This project will teach 150 educators in grades six through 12 about the Hackensack River Watershed. Teachers' workshops will present several aquatic ecosystem curricula including Project Wet and WOW!, and state and regional curricula that focus on watershed science, map skills, regional history and management issues. Educator participants will develop a deeper understanding of the environmental and health impacts of human activity on watersheds, acquire leadership skills for student stewardship projects and learn how to better incorporate environmental education into classroom programming.

For more information contact:
Nina Habib Spencer, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3670 FAX: 212-637-4445