HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection awarded over $1 million in funding to over 70 projects statewide, including 10 projects in the south-central region of the state.
“The Shapiro Administration is committed to delivering practical solutions to the environmental and safety issues our communities face from climate change and water pollution,” said DEP Acting Secretary Rich Negrin. “Pennsylvania’s environmental educators help provide these solutions. Through impactful work in the field, classroom, and neighborhood, they engage Pennsylvanians of all ages and backgrounds in projects that can have immediate local impacts and spark lasting environmental stewardship.”
The Environmental Education Grant program brings projects that engage youth and adults who live or work in Environmental Justice areas, to the forefront.
“Fully 83 percent of this grant funding supports educational projects that will benefit Environmental Justice communities, as we continue to expand our work to help Pennsylvanians most at risk from pollution, climate change-related hazards, and other environmental impacts,” said Negrin.
Ranging from equipping students to study wetlands to training landowners on how to assess stream health, 10 projects in southcentral counties received a total of $98,287.
As quoted in the release, the following counties and projects have received these grants:
- Stroud Water Research Center, Inc.: $20,000 to create outdoor learning spaces on school grounds in Berks, Lancaster, and Chester counties. These spaces will provide meaningful opportunities for teachers and K-12 students while creating water quality and wildlife habitat benefits. Schools will provide input at all phases of the project, ensuring a sustainable, engaging, and meaningful model for other schools to adopt. In addition, the spaces will enable communities to engage with the school while learning about their local watershed.
- Saint Patrick Parish and School Charitable Trust: $5,000 to enable seventh grade students to explore the Cumberland Valley watershed and participate in a student-driven Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) project.
- Pennsylvania State University: $30,000 to increase the capacity of their environmental education network. Adult volunteers will be trained to administer the Future Master Watershed Stewards (FMWS) program, and educators will be provided training and classroom resources to use on their own or with a FMWS volunteer partner.
- Dauphin County Conservation District: $5,000 to partner with municipalities to host Stormwater Management for Homeowners workshops on reducing non-point source pollution.
- Friends of Wildwood Lake Nature Center, Inc.: $5,000 to provide state standards-based wetlands education programs to students in grades 4-12. Students will observe aquatic life, perform water quality studies, and determine sources of point and non-point source pollution within a watershed.
- Juniata County Conservation District: $1,440 to increase public awareness about stormwater pollutants by collaborating with the Mifflintown Borough maintenance department to stencil about 60 stormwater grates with the message “only rain in the drain.”
- Lebanon County Conservation District: $4,758 to hold two streambank landowner workshops providing presentations, materials, and hands-on macroinvertebrate stream studies to educate landowners on assessing stream health.
- LEAF Project Inc.: $20,200 to develop a pilot program, in collaboration with a local school district, that will enable students to understand their connections with food, farming, and the environment.
- Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Harrisburg: $5,000 to use a new greenhouse to incorporate sustainability education into the school’s K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) curriculum.
- York County Conservation District: $4,039 to hold two seminars for residents on York County’s watersheds. The seminars will provide in-depth information on how residents’ actions can make a difference, even if they don’t have a waterway or a water body on their property.