Office of Environmental Education

Office administers six different grant programs: Alternative Fuel Vehicles Conversion Grants, Clean Diesel School Bus Fund, Diesel Emission Reduction Grants, Ohio Environmental Education Fund, Ohio's share of the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund and Ohio Environmental Science and Engineering Scholarships.

Call (614) 644-2873 or email to be added to the interested parties list for any of these grant programs.

We also provide publications and resources for environmental educators and teachers; workshops on water quality monitoring methods and grant writing; and statewide coordination of the Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) and Healthy Water, Healthy People curricula for elementary, middle and high schools.

We are currently partnering with the Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources and the Environmental Education Council of Ohio to support a statewide network of 500 Environmental Career Ambassadors to introduce Ohio Students to careers in environmental science and engineering.

Volkswagen Mitigation Grants

Ohio EPA is requesting public comment on a draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan to use $75 million in funding from the Volkswagen settlement over the next ten years.  Written comments will be accepted through February 7, 2018.  Click on the VW Mitigation Grants tab above to view the draft plan.

Ohio Environmental Education Fund

The January 2018 grant cycle is now open. Updated grant application guidelines for 2018 are posted. Electronic letters of intent for the January 2018 cycle must be submitted through Ohio EPA’s eBusiness Center no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 9, 2019. Completed application must be submitted through the eBusiness Center by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday January 16, 2018. Funding priorities are spelled out in the application guidelines and also included in the OEEF Annual Agenda for 2018. Click on the Environmental Education tab above.

Clean Diesel School Bus Grants

We are celebrating ten years and more than 3,600 school buses equipped with pollution controls! For information, click on the Clean School Bus Grants tab above. This program is no longer accepting new applications. Interested school districts in eligible counties may apply through the Diesel Emission Reduction Grant program.

Diesel Emission Reduction Grants

A limited DERG grant application opportunity for 2017 has been posted, for public transit vehicle replacements. For more information, please click on the Diesel Emission Reduction Grants tab.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Conversion Grants

Ohio EPA invites applications for a new first-come, first served grant opportunity to convert or replace large trucks and buses to run on alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas and propane. Applications will be accepted beginning March 6, 2018, with an information session January 25th, and conference calls in February for applicants to ask questions. For information, please click on the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Grants tab above.

Environmental Science and Engineering Scholarships

The deadline to apply is April 15, 2018. For information, please click on the Scholarships tab above.

The January 2018 grant cycle is now open. Electronic letters of intent for the January 2018 cycle must be submitted through the eBusiness Centerno later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Completed applications must be submitted online by 5 p.m. on Tuesday January 16, 2018. Funding priorities for the coming year are posted in the OEEF Annual Agenda for 2018.

2018 OEEF General Grant Guidelines

2018 OEEF Mini Grant Guidelines

To apply, go to the eBusiness Center and create an account (user ID and password). Once the account is approved, follow the web link in your account approval e-mail and click on the OEEF Grant Service link to continue.

The OEEF was created by the General Assembly in 1990 to enhance Ohio citizens’ awareness and understanding of environmental issues. It is administered by the Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) and provides approximately $1 million annually in grants to support environmental education efforts within the state of Ohio.

The OEEF derives its monies from one-half of the civil penalties collected from violations of Ohio's air and water pollution control regulations. The OEEF funds education projects that target three audiences: (1) the general public; (2) the regulated community; and (3) pre-school through university students and teachers. General grants are available for $5,000 to $50,000, and mini grants for projects costing between $500 and $5,000.

Application guidelines spell out application requirements, current funding priorities, the application review process, and preferred characteristics for projects targeting the respective audiences. OEEF grant coordinators are also available to assist in preparing grant proposals prior to the deadline dates, and to advise applicants on the eligibility of possible projects. OEEF grant-writing workshops are also offered around the state several times yearly.

There are two grant cycles annually, with application deadlines on January 15 and July 15. OEEF supports innovative projects that increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues, and provide the skills to make informed decisions and take responsible actions. Environmental education is based on objective and scientifically sound information, and does not advocate a particular viewpoint or course of action. It teaches individuals how to weigh various sides of an issue through critical thinking, and it enhances their problem-solving and decision-making skills.

A list of past grant recipients illustrates the variety of projects that have been funded. Descriptions of OEEF Outstanding Project Award Winners showcase successful environmental education efforts that we encourage grant applicants to emulate.

2017 OEEF Annual Report

2018 OEEF Annual Agenda

OEEF Program Brochure

Application Guidelines and Resources

OEEF 2017 General Grant Guidelines

OEEF 2017 Mini Grant Guidelines

OEEF Grant Preferred Characteristics

OEEF Application Review Process

Grant Administration Reference Document (GARD)

The document contains reporting guidelines for your general and mini grants. However, we encourage grantees to contact OEEF if a particular circumstance arises that may not be covered in your GARD and we will be glad to assist you.

“Resources for Grant Seekers” and “Resources to Help You Evaluate Your Grant Program” are links (to be updated periodically) that will provide additional  information to help with your funding search and proposal preparation.

General Grants

Mini Grants

Resources for Grant Seekers:

Talk to a reference librarian in your public library!

Resources to Help You Evaluate Your Grant Program:

Past Grant Recipients

Outstanding Projects

Featured Environmental Education Projects

Periodically, the OEEF contracts with the Environmental Education Council of Ohio to conduct an independent review of completed grant projects, in order to select OEEF Outstanding Project award winners. OEEF highlights these projects as examples of effective environmental education. Because of the great variety in OEEF-funded projects, EECO and the OEEF developed a set of holistic instruments for use in reviewing these completed grant projects, Rubrics Cubed: What One Grant Maker Looks for in EE Projects [PDF].  These are the instruments that we use:

For K-12 education projects:
For general public/adult education projects:

For regulated community projects:

OEEF also uses a tool for website evaluation for both K-12 and general public projects that contain a website component.

* Although Ohio EPA cannot endorse, sanction or guarantee the accuracy of information found on external Web sites, we think you might find these outside links useful. When you select a link to an external Web site, you are leaving Ohio EPA's Web site and are subject to the privacy, security and accessibility policies of the owners/sponsors of the external site.

Grant Writing Workshops

Upcoming Workshops

Workshop Descriptions

Grant Writing 102:  Finding the Right Funder (format: half-day interactive workshop)Prospecting tips to help you identify foundations, corporations, and government grant programs, and how to approach different kinds of grantmakers.

Grant Writing 102:  Writing a Winning Proposal (format:  half-day interactive workshop)How to avoid common mistakes applicants make, and develop realistic objectives, activities and budgets.  OEEF will be discussed during this session.

If your organization would be interested in hosting a local workshop, please contact The Ohio Environmental Education Fund provides approximately $1 million annually in grants for environmental education projects targeting pre-school through university students and teachers, the adult general public, and the regulated community.  For more information, contact the Ohio EPA, Office of Environmental Education, (614) 644-2873.

Contact Dennis Clement at (614) 644-2048 or for details.

Environmental Education Resources


The Office of Environmental Education also works closely with partner organizations and other governmental agencies to promote and coordinate environmental education efforts.

* Although Ohio EPA cannot endorse, sanction or guarantee the accuracy of information found on external Web sites, we think you might find these outside links useful. When you select a link to an external Web site, you are leaving Ohio EPA's Web site and are subject to the privacy, security and accessibility policies of the owners/sponsors of the external site.

Ohio EPA is proud to report the results of Clean Diesel School Bus grants awarded between 2006-2015:
  • 2,625 school buses received pollution control equipment
  • 1,037 school buses received idle reduction equipment
  • 44 older diesel buses were replaced with newer clean diesel or alternative fuel buses
  • more than 117 tons of pollutants were removed from Ohio skies
  • more than $9.2 million was awarded

The Ohio Clean Diesel School Bus Fund awarded grants to school districts and county developmental disability programs  to retrofit diesel school buses with pollution controls and idle reduction equipment.  The program sought to reduce student and driver exposure to the harmful pollutants in diesel exhaust and to conserve fuel.  Grants were funded from civil penalties Ohio EPA collects from environmental violations and from federal grants.  The program was discontinued in 2016 because there are so few school buses left of eligible model years 1996-2004 that would continue in service for the required four years after retrofit.  (New buses since model year 2006 have much better emission controls installed at the factory.)   Instead, Ohio EPA is using federal grants received from U.S. EPA to assist local school districts in priority Ohio counties with the early retirement and replacement of aging diesel buses.  School districts in eligible counties may apply for retrofits or replacement buses through Ohio EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Grant Program.

Forms for Grant Recipients


School BusU.S. EPA also has a Clean School Bus program designed to reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust and reduce the amount of air pollution created by diesel school buses. According to U.S. EPA, 24 million children ride a school bus every day and, on average, students spend 90 minutes each weekday in a school bus.

U.S. EPA’s Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative also provides funding for school bus retrofits and replacements. More information is available at



An interview with Granville Local Schools transportation staff about their pre-heater installations is featured in a webinar about idle reduction on the Ohio Department of Health’s School Environmental Health and Safety page.  The webinar also features an interview with researchers about the effectiveness of anti-idling education in reducing emissions and improving air quality around schools in Cincinnati.

The University of Cincinnati's Department of Environmental Health is conducting a multi-year study to determine if children with higher levels of exposure to diesel exhaust particles are at increased risk for hypersensitivity to specific allergens and related respiratory disorders.

For more information about this project and similar publications from the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study, visit

Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) are announcing a limited Diesel Emission Reduction Grant (DERG) grant application opportunity for 2017, for public transit vehicle replacement projects, in keeping with the recommendations and needs identified by ODOT in the Ohio Statewide Transit Study of 2015. The DERG program is supported with federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) dollars awarded by the Federal Highway Administration to the Ohio Department of Transportation. A total of $10 million is available for this DERG Program 2017 Request for Proposals. Public transit vehicle replacement project proposals between $50,000 and $2 million are being solicited. Applications will be due on September 15th, with two conference calls for prospective applicants scheduled for August 30 and September 12. More information is available in the RFP below.

Please be advised, some projects from the DERG Program 2016 round of project selections are on hold, pending US DOT Buy America waiver approvals. In the event that the projects selected from this DERG Program 2017 RFP encounter similar challenges, Ohio EPA and ODOT reserve the right to rescind or revise the selected projects.

Interested parties may send contact information to in order to receive email notifications about the program.

For questions about eligible clean diesel technologies and estimating emissions reductions, please contact Alan Harness at or (614) 644-4838.

DERG program overview slides September 2016

Request for Proposals 2017

NEW! Questions and answers about 2017 RFP (PDF)

Grant applications must be submitted online, in the electronic form posted at

Note that the form will calculate some formulas. Public transit system applicants should carefully read the entire 2017 Request for Proposals (RFP) to understand the supporting documentation that must be uploaded with the application. Appendices A and B and a project scope description must be completed and uploaded with all applications. The other appendices provide supplemental information.

Print entire RFP Instructions and Appendices as a single PDF file (PDF)

Forms for use by DERG grant recipients after grant award

Previous DERG Grant Awards

DERG projects are administered jointly by the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 

Related Information

Ohio EPA invites applications to a new Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Conversion Grant program that will award $5 million in grants to reimburse Ohio owners of large diesel or gasoline vehicles for a portion of the cost of replacing or converting the vehicle to run on compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) or propane autogas (LPG), including bi-fueled or dual-fueled vehicles that can run on both an alternative fuel and on gasoline or diesel fuel. Eligible vehicles must be registered in Ohio for operation on public highways and weigh at least 26,000 pounds (class 7 and 8). The program is open to applicants in every Ohio county. The purchased or converted vehicle must be used for business purposes, and at least half the miles driven by the new or converted AFV vehicle must be within the state of Ohio. This program does not require the destruction of the engine of the vehicle being replaced.

A Public Information Session about the grant opportunity will be offered on Thursday January 25, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Ohio Department of Transportation, 1980 West Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43223. Two conference calls are scheduled on February 8 and February 27 to take questions from prospective applicants. Dial-in information for the calls is included in the Grant Application Guidelines posted below. It is not necessary to pre-register for either the information session or the conference calls. Ohio EPA will post a summary of questions and answers from these sessions to this Web page.

The earliest date that grant applications may be submitted is March 6, 2018, at 8:00 a.m. Applications submitted prior to this time will not be considered. Applications must be submitted by e-mail to Applications will be considered in the order received, and grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to applicants whose proposals are deemed complete and eligible, until all available funds have been allocated. The status of pending applications will be posted on this Web page and regularly updated after March 6th.

Application Information

The maximum grant amount allowed per alternative fueled vehicle will be the lesser of:

  • 50% of the adjusted purchase price of the new AFV
  • 50% of the cost of the conversion, or
  • $25,000

The maximum grant award allowed to a person that purchases or converts multiple AFVs is $400,000.

Rulemaking Information

As required by statute, Ohio EPA conducted a formal rulemaking and three rounds of public comment in order to implement the program. The effective date of the rules is December 31, 2017.

Chart of Vehicle Class Sizes

Please direct questions to:
Carolyn Watkins
Ohio EPA, Office of Environmental Education
PO Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049
Phone (614) 644-2873

If you would like to be added to the Interested Parties list to receive email updates about the program, please send your full contact information to or call (614) 644-2873. If you are already on the Interested Parties list for Ohio EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Grant program, you are automatically on the list of Interested Parties for the new AFV program.

Thank you for your patience as we develop this new program and website.

NEW! Ohio EPA Invites Comments on Draft VW Mitigation Plan

Ohio EPA is asking for public comment on a plan to invest $75 million over the next ten years to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution from the transportation sector. Funding will come from dollars allocated to Ohio from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund. Three regional public information sessions are scheduled for January 2018 to explain how the plan was developed and to answer questions. It is not necessary to pre-register to attend these.  Sessions will be held at the following times and locations:

Thursday, Jan. 11, (10 a.m. to noon) Auditorium, Ohio Department of Transportation, 1980 West Broad Street, Columbus

Thursday Jan. 18, (1 p.m. to 3 p.m.) Estabrook Recreation Center, 4125 Fulton Rd., Cleveland

Monday Jan. 22, (10 a.m. to noon) Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), 720 East Pete Rose Way, Suite 420, Cincinnati.
Directions to OKI

Ohio Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (PDF)

Ohio EPA will accept written comments on the plan through 5:00 p.m. on February 7, 2018. Comments may be emailed to (Please include “VW Comment” in the subject line.) Written comments may also be mailed to:

Carolyn Watkins
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049
or hand delivered to Ohio EPA headquarters, 50 W. Town Street, Suite 700, Columbus, OH 43215.

Volkswagen Consent Decree and Partial Settlement

A Partial Settlement and Consent Decree has been finalized between the U.S. Justice Department, the Volkswagen (VW) Corporation and its subsidiaries regarding the installation and use of emission testing defeat devices in over 500,000 vehicles sold and operated in the U.S. beginning in 2009. The settlement requires VW to pay $2.7 billion in to an Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund, to offset the excess air pollution emitted by some of the VW vehicles that violated the Clean Air Act. Ohio expects to receive $75.3 million from the Trust between 2017 and 2027, to fund certain eligible projects to reduce NOx emissions from the transportation sector.

Ohio filed a Certification for Beneficiary Status with the VW Trustee on November 3, 2017. 

Ohio EPA must develop a state mitigation plan to accept and distribute these funds to eligible projects, to achieve the maximum air quality benefits for the people of Ohio. Ohio EPA is reaching out to the public, fleet owners and other potential beneficiaries, government officials and transportation organizations for information and ideas about how the settlement money should be spent within the allowable uses. As we develop the plan and implement the new grant program, we will continue to provide as much information as possible on this Web page.

To be added to the Interested Parties list to receive emailed updates, please send your email address and contact information to

Overview of Ohio VW mitigation planning (PDF) (updated 10/3/17)

You can learn more about the Volkswagen Clean Air Act Partial Settlement here.

About the Decree and Settlement

A Partial Settlement and Consent Decree was finalized on October 25, 2016 between the United States, the State of California, Volkswagen AG and various of its subsidiaries (VW) regarding the installation and use of emissions testing defeat devices in more than 500,000 vehicles sold and operated in the U.S. beginning in 2009. Use of these defeat devices has increased air emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), resulting in adverse impacts to air quality and violating the federal Clean Air Act. NOx emissions contribute to the formation of smog, which impairs lung function and cardiovascular health.

An Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund has been established as part of the settlement, to provide funds to the states to mitigate the air quality impacts of the higher vehicle emissions from the offending action. The share to Ohio from the Trust is $75,302,522.67. The Trust establishes a process to administer the funds, and identifies 10 categories of mitigation actions that will be eligible for funding, along with reimbursement rates for these actions.

Separate parts of the settlement require VW to earmark About $10 billion in funding to buy back affected vehicles, terminate leases early, or repair the vehicles. Additionally, VW is required to invest $2 billion over 10 years in zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, access and awareness initiatives. VW, US EPA and California will administer these parts of the settlement. Approximately 15,000 affected vehicles were registered in Ohio. Owners of these vehicles are urged to visit for more information about buyback and modification options, and claims may be submitted here.

Mitigation Actions Eligible for Funding

Eligible Mitigation Actions

Trust funds may be used to pay some or all of the cost to repower or replace eligible diesel-powered vehicles with new diesel or alternative fueled or all-electric engines or vehicles. Appendix D-2 to the Partial Consent Decree spells out eligible model years and different percentages of the cost for government-owned and privately-owned vehicles, and requires that the old vehicles be scrapped. 

  • Class 8 local freight trucks and port drayage trucks
  • Class 4-8 school buses, shuttle buses or transit buses
  • Class 4-7 local freight trucks
  • Pre-Tier 4 diesel switcher locomotives

Click here for a chart of vehicles by class size.

Other eligible projects include:

  • Repower or upgrade of eligible diesel-powered ferries and tugs
  • Shorepower equipment for oceangoing vessels and vessels operating within the Great Lakes
  • Repower or replacement of eligible diesel-powered airport ground support equipment with all-electric forms
  • Repower or replacement of eligible forklifts and port cargo handling equipment with all-electric forms
  • Light duty zero emission vehicle supply equipment
  • Matching funds for Ohio EPA’s state allocation of funding under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA).

In addition to cutting NOx emissions, the projects that receive funding are likely to reduce ozone (smog) concentrations and emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. States are allowed to use no more than 15% of the allocated funds to cover their costs for administering the program.

VW Settlement Timeline of Events*

*All dates are estimates and are subject to change

 Event Approximate Time Frame
Court approves the partial settlement October 25, 2016
Trust takes effect and VW deposits funds
October 2, 2017
States elect to become beneficiaries of the trust (i.e. to participate in the settlement) Fall 2017 (Trust Effective Date = 60 days)
Ohio filed to become a beneficiary on 11/3/17
States are notified of beneficiary designation Spring 2018 (Trust Effective Date + 120 days)
States file a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan describing broadly how funds will be used Spring 2018 (Notice of Beneficiary Designation + 90 days)
States may request funds
Late Spring 2018
Ohio EPA releases Request for Proposals for first annual round of Ohio VW Mitigation Grants
Late Spring 2018

Ohio’s Mitigation Plan – Requesting Comments

Ohio’s State Mitigation Plan will be based on mitigation actions that can produce the greatest air quality benefit in terms of NOx emission reductions, reduced public exposure to the pollutants in diesel exhaust, and the promotion of clean vehicle technologies. Ohio EPA is proposing to include all ten eligible categories of mitigation actions in the state plan. 

Based on the rate at which VW is required to deposit funds to the Mitigation Trust, and the number of grant projects we can effectively oversee, Ohio EPA initially expects to award $15 million in competitive grants for fleet and equipment projects in each of the first three years of the program (2018, 2019 and 2020). Separate funding opportunities will be offered for infrastructure projects such as shorepower and electric vehicle charging. We expect to continue to award funding annually until the remaining available funds have been spent.

Ohio’s plan must direct funding to areas that bear a disproportionate share of the increased pollution burden. This could include densely populated areas and communities adjacent to rail yards, shipping terminals, and distribution centers where diesel emissions have been concentrated.

Based on air quality (Ohio counties of concern due to ozone levels), historical levels of diesel emissions, the locations where the most VW vehicles equipped with defeat devices were registered in Ohio, and US EPA’s Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool, Ohio EPA has created a map showing the counties where we believe eligible projects should receive first priority and secondary priority for the available funds.

Ohio EPA will continue to update this website to inform the public about the Settlement, and gather information and ideas from the public and stakeholders as we develop and implement the state’s Mitigation Plan. To be added to the Interested Parties list to receive emailed updates, please send your email address and contact information to Please send any questions and comments about Ohio’s implementation of the VW Mitigation Trust funds to or contact Carolyn Watkins in the Office of Environmental Education at (614) 644-3768.

Forms for use by Ohio VW grant recipients after grant award

Phone: (614) 644-2873
Fax: (614) 644-2738
Email Webmaster

Physical address:
Ohio EPA - Public Interest Center
Lazarus Government Center
50 W. Town St., Suite 700
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Mailing address:
Ohio EPA - PIC
Lazarus Government Center
50 W. Town St., Suite 700
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049 

Environmental Education Staff
Watkins, Carolyn Office Chief   (614) 644-2873
Shuman, Justin Administrative Professional 4
(614) 644-2873
Clement, Dennis Ohio Environmental Education Fund (614) 644-2048
Montavon, Jeff Ohio Environmental Education Fund (614) 644-3671

Ohio Project WET (Water Education for Teachers)
This video is an introduction to the Ohio Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) Program, which is an award-winning national curriculum facilitated in Ohio by the Office of Environmental Education at Ohio EPA.