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Ohio EPA Awards Environmental Education Grants to Five Organizations
Five Ohio organizations are receiving Ohio EPA Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) grants for projects focused on solar energy, pollinator habitat protection, watershed dynamics, water quality, and sustainable forestry. Five grants are being awarded statewide for a total of $150,000.
The grant recipients, grant amounts and project descriptions are:
- Warren County Park District is receiving $8,731 for a solar energy and pollinator habitat project at Warren County’s Armco Park. The park currently has a 50,000 square foot solar array and 1.5 acres of pollinator habitat. The grant will help fund interactive trail exhibits as well as public and school programs about solar power, improving air quality, pollinators, native plants, and will encourage pollinator friendly gardens and simple solutions to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
- Columbiana County Educational Service Center is receiving $40,563 for a professional development project to help teachers in four local school districts teach about the importance of clean water using the Ohio Project WET and Project Wild programs. Topics to be covered will include the impact of healthy water on the Hellbender salamander, an endangered species native to Northeast Ohio. Students will participate in a symposium to share what they’ve learned at the end of the unit.
- Holden Forests and Gardens in Lake County is receiving $27,605 for a sustainable forestry and land management outreach project called Working Woods. The organization has developed a demonstration site that it will use for workshops and trainings for landowners statewide. The focus will be on helping private landowners who hold small woodlands of less than 10 acres, giving them the knowledge, skill, and professional resources they require to implement habitat restoration and good forest management practices.
- North Central Ohio Educational Service Center is receiving $45,166 to help teachers and students in Columbiana, Crawford and Seneca counties learn about watershed dynamics. Participants will study the riparian environment along streams, including how invasive species and humans affect the watershed. Students will use the i-Tree application and Project Learning Tree activities that are aligned with Ohio’s science education standards.
- Boardman Local School District in Columbiana and Mahoning counties is receiving $27,935 for a project with Boardman Center and Glenwood junior high and high schools to monitor water quality of Mill Creek’s watershed, develop an extensive environmental education program using Project WET and Project Wild curricula, and create educational kits to be used in environmental education programs. The school district plans to replicate the watershed programs, teacher training, and number of educational kits to all grade levels in Boardman schools.
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. 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. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Ohio Environmental Education Fund online or at (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.