EPA Healthy Communities Grant to University of Vermont Will Help Protect Children's Health in Local Communities
BURLINGTON, Vt. (October 18, 2019) – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $25,000 Healthy Communities Grant award to the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont.
Announced during Children's Health Month in October, the grant will help create a new partnership project between the University of Vermont, middle school and high school teachers and students, and community partners to pilot a team-based approach to education, hazard reduction, and educational materials development related to addressing lead in water and soil in Burlington and Winooski.
"EPA is excited to see the partnerships between the University of Vermont, Burlington and Winooski to help build community awareness and capacity around addressing critical lead issues," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "Enabling communities to reduce lead exposure, especially for children, is a critical issue for EPA across New England and here in Vermont."
"We're very excited to be able to undertake this project and are grateful to the EPA for providing the grant funding for it," said Nico Perdrial, research assistant professor in UVM's Department of Geology and the principal investigator on the grant. "It will enable us to bring much needed information to light on an important public health issue. It is also an opportunity to engage UVM faculty with middle and high school students, and their teachers, in an innovative citizen-science project that will deepen their learning -- and may motivate some to pursue further education and a career in science. This work is very much in the tradition of UVM's land grant mission, and we're proud to be part of it."
The lead water and soil education and assessment project will evaluate and reduce environmental and human health risks and build local, community capacity to understand and solve environmental and public health problems related to lead in water and soil in Burlington and Winooski.
The project will educate and engage 7th through 12th grade students on lead and engage them in sampling soil and water in the local geographic target areas to learn more about the extent of lead and find ways to minimize exposure and prevent lead poisoning for local children and families.
Project partners include the City of Burlington Lead Program, Burlington High School, George F. Edmunds Middle School, Lyman C. Hunt Middle School, and the Winooski School District.
EPA New England's Healthy Communities Grant Program combines resources from several EPA programs to strategically address the environmental and public health issues burdening New England communities. Contributing programs include Air Quality Outreach, Assistance & Pollution Prevention, Asthma and Indoor Air, Children's Environmental Health, Clean, Green and Healthy Schools Initiative, Toxics and Pesticides, Urban Environmental Program, and Water Infrastructure (Stormwater, Wastewater, and Drinking Water). The program has competitively selected projects that will: assess, understand, and reduce environmental and human health risks; increase collaboration through community-based projects; build institutional and community capacity to understand and solve environmental and human health problems; advance emergency preparedness and resilience; and achieve measurable environmental and human health benefits in communities across New England.
The projects that have been awarded funding must meet several criteria including: (1) location in /or directly benefit one or more of the EPA's identified Target Investment Areas; and (2) identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental and/or public health results in one or more of the EPA's identified Target Program Areas. In 2019, the Target Investment Areas included: Areas Needing to Create Community Resilience; Environmental Justice Areas of Potential Concern; and Sensitive Populations. Target Program Areas included: Clean, Green and Healthy Schools; Community and Water Infrastructure Resilience; Healthy Indoor Environments; and Healthy Outdoor Environments.
More information about the Healthy Communities Grant Program: https://www3.epa.gov/region1/eco/uep/hcgp.html.