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EPA Supports Teacher Training, Mentoring Programs in New York State

Release Date: 09/02/1998
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(#98119) New York, New York -- Fourteen environmental education projects in New York State, many focusing on teacher training and mentoring programs, have received a total of nearly $115,000 in grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Agency announced today. The annual grants are awarded by EPA to non-profit organizations, educational institutions and local and tribal government agencies for educational projects designed to build greater understanding of the environment and concern about the impacts of pollution.

"Many of these projects have very far-reaching benefits, because many are designed to train teachers who will share their knowledge with students and other teachers for years to come," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional Administrator. "Teachers and students, as well as estuaries, lakes, seashores, rivers and wetlands across New York State will benefit from EPA's funding, which encourages the development of effective environmental education at the grassroots level."

The annual grants are authorized under the National Environmental Education Act, which is currently up for re-authorization. EPA Region 2, which covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, received 104 applications requesting a total of $1.34 million in funding. The available $200,000 was distributed to 24 recipients from across EPA Region 2. For information on how to apply for an Environmental Education grant in EPA Region 2, contact Teresa Ippolito, EPA Region 2 Environmental Education Coordinator, at 212-637-3675.

The New York State recipients are:

Citizens Committee for NYC, 305 Seventh Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10001 "The Neighborhood Environmental Leadership Institute, Queens Chapter (NELI)" -- $24,481

NELI targets grass-roots leaders from low-income communities in Queens, New York, one of the most diverse of New York City's five boroughs. More than 100 community residents will take part in an interactive train-the-trainer program on environmental issues, leadership skills and organizational development designed to enhance their problem solving, critical thinking and decision-making skills. The program will enhance the teaching skills of these non-formal educators who will return to their communities to provide environmental education and assistance in implementing grassroots projects.

The River Project, Pier 26, New York, NY 10013 "The River Project's 1998-1999 Internship Program" -- $10,913

Located on the Hudson River in Manhattan, NY, the River Project is dedicated to the protection and restoration of estuarine wildlife through research, education and hands-on programs in urban ecology. This program establishes a newly-improved Internship Program, "Young of the Year," in partnership with Stuyvesant High School, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the City of New York Department of Health, the Baykeeper, the Hudson River Park Conservancy, the High School for Environmental Studies, and the New York City Soil and Water Conservation District's Stewardship program. The internship program will provide young people, under the supervision of environmental scientists, with field experience in the local environment through science projects focused on waterfront habitats of Manhattan.

Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10460 "Project PEERS: Promoting Environmental Education in Rural Schools" -- $21,328

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) will partner with the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), a consortium of 18 school districts in rural, under-served areas of northern New York State, to develop a training program in environmental education for elementary school teachers. The program, part of a BOCES reform program, will improve science education in the elementary schools by focusing on wildlife to capture students interest in pursuing environmental studies. An intensive six-day seminar will be followed by a technical assistance program featuring Internet on-line chat rooms and bulletin boards, a toll-free consultation hotline and newsletters to further support environmental science content, teaching methods and peer training.

Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment Inc., The Tennis House, Prospect Park Brooklyn, NY 11215 "Future Teachers, Scientists and Mathematicians --- SciMat3" -- $ 5,000

The goal of this program is to involve high school and elementary school students in Brooklyn, New York's Fort Greene neighborhood in careers in science, mathematics and teaching, with an emphasis on environmental issues. Students from two high schools will study local environmental issues such as lead poisoning, soil contamination and water quality. The high school students will be paired with elementary school classes for whom they will act as teachers and mentors over a ten week period, giving them first-hand experience with environmental issues and the challenges of math, science and education.

Centers for Nature Education, Inc., P. O. Box 133, 4007 Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus, NY 13108-0133 "Teacher Environmental Workshop: Introducing Environmental Understandings into the Whole Curriculum" -- $4,836

During this project, a curriculum guide used to infuse the environment into classroom programming will be revised to include new educational tools, including computer software and Internet. Regional workshops will be held for teachers in Syracuse and Onondaga County schools to introduce and review the curriculum and provide hands-on experience with the units. Follow-up questionnaires will be used to evaluate the workshops and test the implementation and effectiveness of the program.

Environmental Action Coalition (EAC), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012 "East Harlem Neighborhood Education Network" -- $ 5,000

Together with neighborhood residents and classroom teachers, EAC will implement a community-based environmental stewardship program. Two pilot programs will be developed targeting youth and adults. Members of EAC's East Harlem Women's Environmental Leadership Program will take an active role by visiting block and tenant associations, churches and schools throughout the neighborhood to help community residents implement the stewardship program. Website lesson plans aimed at 4th - 6th graders will also be developed and posted on EAC's website.

Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Dept. of Geoscience & Chemistry, Geneva, NY 14456 "Herbicide & Pesticide Awareness in the Finger Lakes: Curriculum Improvements and Community Outreach" -- $5,000

Hobart and William Smith Colleges will integrate field and laboratory investigations regarding the source, fate and remediation of Atrazine (a widely used herbicide) in Seneca Lake into various environmental, geoscience and chemistry courses. Students will determine the source and fate of the herbicide by sampling vertical and horizontal gradients within the lake and by testing targeted tributaries. In courses such as hydrogeology and organic chemistry, classroom and laboratory exercises will be developed using the student findings which will also be presented to local watershed associations focused on protection and preservation of the Seneca Lake Watershed.

Hudson Valley Materials Exchange, Inc., (HVME) 207 Milton Turnpike, Milton, NY 12547 "Learning with Leftovers, an ECOrriculum of Interdisciplinary Lessons, Using ‘Stuff' From the Hudson Valley Materials Exchange" -- $ 5,000

This project examines the sources, uses, contents and fate of reusable business and industrial waste materials, which are collected and made available at the HVME. A curriculum will be developed and teacher training provided for 11 schools in the Newburgh City School District. The course of study will include teaching units, evaluation tools for teachers and students and a video highlighting the value of recycling and reuse as well as the workings of the HVME. The lesson plans developed will correlate with New York State Learning Standards.

Long Island Traditions Inc., 619 Brooklyn Avenue, Baldwin, NY 11510 "South Shore Estuary Maritime Culture" -- $ 5,000

Building on a New York State mandate for education about local history, this program seeks to build stewardship among local fourth graders for the Long Island South Shore maritime community and ecosystem. The program includes classroom presentations by local baymen and anglers, field trips to local pollution sites, hands-on experience at wetlands and fish habitats and classroom audio visuals. Writing, oral communication, research and analytical skills development are central to this project. A staff-development workshop will enable teachers to infuse the south shore estuary's maritime culture and environment lessons into science and social studies programs.

Niagara Aquarium Foundation, 701 Whirlpool Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14301-1094 "Faces in the Mist: The Lower Niagara River Environmental Education Project -- $ 4,875

This project targets non-point source pollution and toxic contaminants in a program that provides students and teachers in formal and non-formal settings with three ways to learn about the environment of the Lower Niagara River. The program includes staff development workshops, development of an interpretive exhibit and hands-on activities for students. The aquarium will partner with New York Sea Grant Cornell Extension Program and the Great Lakes Program of SUNY at Buffalo to focus on environmental education experiences in Niagara and four surrounding counties.

Shenendehowa School District, 1581 Crescent Road, Clifton Park, NY 12065 "Okte Elementary Wetland Project : Students educating themselves and their community about local wetlands" -- $ 5,000

Partnering with the Saratoga Lake Conservancy and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Okte Elementary School Fourth Grade Teachers Team will provide fourth graders with hands-on educational experiences in local wetlands. Students will research and study a local wetland ecosystem, studying an assigned square meter plot throughout the school year. Students will research the flora and fauna and other characteristics of the wetland ecosystem. The student findings will be presented in a hyper-studio interactive program and in presentations to community groups.

Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary, Inc., 134 Cove Road, Oyster Bay, NY 11771 "Migratory Bird Initiative" -- $ 5,000

This project builds upon the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary's migratory bird program and outreach to Long island educators and their classes. By tagging and following the migration of a local osprey, this project enables students to track a migrating bird and participate in an international environmental research project. Participating teachers will be supported by Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary staff and expertise through workshops. Students and teachers will be able to become immersed in the environmental issues associated with migratory birds in general and the tagged osprey in particular.

The Tides Center, PO Box 29907, San Francisco, CA 94129-0907 (Project in Ossining, NY) "Environmental Action" Teacher Training Workshop -- $ 3,017

E2: Environment and Education, an educational non-profit activity of the Tides Center, will train secondary school teachers from the Ossining, NY Union Free School District to integrate environmental education into an existing curriculum and develop their facility with classroom exploration of environmental issues. The workshops will focus on Environmental ACTION, a six module program including Energy Conservation, Water Conservation and Biodiversity. The program educates teachers, students and, through home activities, parents about environmental health threats. The program allows students to relate global environmental issues to their lives and local neighborhoods by using the school as their laboratory.

County of Westchester/Environmental Management Council,. 407 Michaelian Office Building White Plains, NY 10601 "Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) Conference" (Community-based education to provide training on how to prepare an NRI) -- $5,000

This project facilitates the development and updating of Natural Resource Inventories in Westchester County communities. Using the New York State Department of Conservation's Natural Resources Inventory: A Guide to the Process, the County of Westchester will develop a course for environmental management councils, conservation advisory councils, county and local municipal officials and citizens of Westchester County. The program provides a method to educate the public, board members and communities about local natural resources through development of an NRI and its use as a decision-making resource.

For more information contact:
Mary Mears, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3669 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: