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Environmental Education Mini-Grants Awarded to Seven Organizations throughout Ohio
Projects in Athens, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lucas, Meigs, Montgomery, Portage, Summit counties
Seven Ohio organizations are receiving Ohio EPA Environmental Education Fund mini-grants for programs focusing on watersheds, water quality, storm water management and rain gardens, geology and land use, and hydroponics. Mini-grants are awarded for up to $5,000. This fall’s grants total $26,263.
The mini-grant recipients, grant amounts, and project descriptions are:
- Miami Valley School, located in Dayton, is receiving $2,200 to introduce middle school students to hydroponics and vertical farming. Students will study community needs for fresh produce and demographics of food deserts in the Dayton East End area. Students will design and build vertical hydroponics structures to grow microgreens and other fresh vegetables, then provide the crops to the Dayton Food Bank.
- Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners, headquartered in Cuyahoga County, is receiving $4,941 for a “Bug BioBlitz” program designed to engage school-age children in Cuyahoga, Portage, and Summit counties in watershed stewardship. The program will introduce children to basic biomonitoring using local aquatic macroinvertebrates as indicators of water quality, including comparing restored vs. impaired streams, natural vs. constructed landscapes, and biodiversity.
- Worthington City Schools-Colonial Hills Elementary in Franklin County is receiving $5,000 to create an outdoor learning space focusing on education about food webs, ecosystem change, weather, erosion, and human impacts. Students will investigate how invasive species affect ecosystems and native plants create habitat.
- Hilliard City Schools middle schools in Franklin County is receiving $3,800 to explore water quality and its effect on aquatic organisms during a field trip to Latham Park. Seventh-grade students from four middle schools will test the levels of nitrates, dissolved oxygen, phosphates, and pH at the park’s pond and creek. They also will participate in Project WET activities that teach about watersheds and the effects of pollution on aquatic organisms.
- Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs is receiving $5,000 to bring students from five regional, rural school districts in Athens and Meigs counties for hands-on environmental field trips to Ohio University’s Museum Complex to explore regional geology, geomorphology, biology, historical land use, and landscape.
- Portage Park District in Portage County is receiving $2,796 for a project demonstrating a practical storm water quality practice that residents, local governments, and businesses can duplicate on their properties. Participants will construct a rain garden at a park district property to capture the storm water runoff from a roof. Educational workshops will immerse participants in the entire planning and construction process, culminating in a driving tour of existing local rain gardens on private residential properties.
- Oregon City Schools in Lucas County is receiving $2,526 for an augmented reality watershed project to provide hands-on learning about watersheds, nutrient management, storm water management, and habitat restoration to students in Lucas County and surrounding areas. Located in Lake Erie’s Western Basin area, the project is intended to encourage best management practices, awareness, and appreciation of the watershed.
The Ohio Environmental Education Fund provides grants each year for environmental education projects serving kindergarten through university students, the public, and the regulated community. OEEF grants are funded with a portion of the civil penalties Ohio EPA collects for violations of Ohio’s air and water pollution control laws.
Eligible grant recipients include environmental groups, public and private schools, colleges and universities, trade or professional organizations, businesses, and state and local governments. There are two grant cycles annually. Letters of intent for the next grant round are due to Ohio EPA no later than Jan. 8, 2020, with applications due no later than Jan. 15, 2020. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the Ohio Environmental Education Fund online or call (614) 644-2873 to discuss project ideas.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.