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Federal Grants Support Local Environmental Education For New Yorkers; From Farm Waste to the Flora of Brooklyn, EPA Grants $270,000 for Projects Statewide

Release Date: 08/11/1999
Contact Information: Teresa Ippolito (212) 637-3675 /

(#99128) New York, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it has awarded approximately $270,000 to 14 organizations for efforts to educate children, parents and teachers about environmental and human health issues affecting residents of New York State. The grants, part of EPA's environmental education program, are awarded annually to non-profit organizations, educational institutions and local and tribal government agencies that demonstrate the ability to help communities understand and care about what are often complex environmental and human health issues.

"This year's grant recipients have displayed an outstanding commitment to educating young and adult New Yorkers about the very real effects the environment can have on their lives," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional Administrator. "The EPA environmental education program relies on local groups like these to bring home the message that a clean environment means safer and healthier children and adults, and the preservation of New York's natural resources for all of us to enjoy. We look forward to seeing the results of the groups' good work."

EPA's New York City office received 139 applications for environmental education grants of less than $25,000 each this year, and awarded 19 grants including 12 in New York State. EPA Headquarters in Washington D.C., which awards environmental education grants over $25,000, awarded two additional grants in the state. For information on how to apply for an environmental education grant, contact Teresa Ippolito, EPA Regional Environmental Education Coordinator, at (212) 637-3675.

The following are descriptions of the 1999 EPA environmental education grants made in New York State.

Educational Broadcasting Corporation, $145,500
New York City
"Wild TV"
AWild TV@ is a 13-week, half-hour televison series that will engage children ages 8 to 12 in an exploration of nature in the world around them. AWild TV@ takes the students straight to the environs they know best -- city streets, suburban ponds, rooftops, parking lots and backyards -- to find out what's actually going on there ecologically. The learning process will be enhanced with a teachers' guide, a docents' guide for outdoor settings, a Web component and workshops for educators. Outreach materials will also be disseminated to thousands of young people. The series will be broadcast in every state in the Fall of 2000, and may ultimately be packaged for dissemination to libraries, community centers, schools and related venues. The National Science Foundation and other non-profit groups are providing additional funding for this project.

Seneca Park Zoo Society, $33,470
Amphibian Alert!
Research over the past decade has documented cases of catastrophic extinction of amphibian species or populations around the world due in some part to air and non-point source pollution including agricultural run-off. Seneca Park Zoo Society and its partners are developing Amphibian Alert!, a curriculum package to train informal educators in zoos, museums and nature centers and classroom teachers around the country to address the topic of declining amphibian populations and provide students and community members with problem-solving skills. The package will provide a concise summary of the issues leading to declining amphibian population, as well as teaching strategies, activities, population assessment tools and audiovisual materials to be used in presenting these issues to school-age children across the country. Amphibian Alert! will also be made available to all informal and classroom educators who wish to incorporate this information into their educational activities.

Wildlife Conservation Society of New York /The New York Aquarium, $22,500
Kings and Dutchess Counties
Upriver, Downriver Education Program
Two New York school communities -- the Dover Union Free School District in Dutchess County and Community School District 22 in Brooklyn will join the New York Aquarium to study two vital wetlands: the Great Swamp in Dutchess County and Jamaica Bay in New York City. Two hundred-sixty students in grades four through six from both schools will engage in field investigations and inter-school exchanges, share scientific data and stories and participate in a mentoring program with kindergarten and first grade students. In addition, teachers from both communities will participate in workshops on wetland conservation and peer training, which will extend the Upriver, Downriver program to an additional 20 to 30 teachers. The result: students from two different communities will develop a better understanding of their common need to practice wetland conservation.

Boquet River Association, $18,400
Leaping with Salmon/Trout
This project introduces an interdisciplinary curriculum, Adopt-A-Salmon Family, into five schools in Essex County and the Lake Champlain Basin bordering New York and Vermont. Eleven teachers and more than 300 students in grades six through nine, will study watershed issues, participate in the rearing and releasing of salmon and make presentations to the public about their work. The program includes a teacher workshop, student field trips, electronic information packages and Internet bulletin boards linking the involved schools.

Brockport Central School District, $4,849
Great Lakes Ecosystem Discovery
The Brockport Central School District is designing a high school science module that will engage students in a scientific study of Lakes Erie and Ontario. Students and their parents will gather data about the two Great Lakes through water testing and observation, and interpret the data to better understand environmental issues related to the lakes. The module will meet all national and state education standards for secondary science, math and technology.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, $5,000
Science Apprenticeship Program for High School Students
This program provides New York City high school students with intensive, hands-on experience working directly with Brooklyn Botanic Garden scientists on a 20-year survey of plants in the Greater New York area called the New York Metropolitan Flora. The Science Apprenticeship project targets students from Brooklyn public high schools traditionally under-represented in the sciences. Students will receive an in-depth introduction to professional science careers, develop and implement their own plant science research projects, have first hand experience learning taxonomy, ecology, biodiversity and conservation biology and engage in data collection, analysis and computer applications testing.

City Parks Foundation, $5,000
New York City
Growing Gardens Handbook
This project takes the successful Growing Gardens program, a partnership between the New York City Board of Education and the City Parks Foundation, into the next phase of hands-on interdisciplinary garden-based learning. Elementary and middle school students from lower-performing schools in the "Chancellor's District" that participate in Growing Gardens develop better science and reading skills from both classroom lessons and field experiences in gardens built on school property. The handbook will be used in Growing Gardens teacher-training workshops as a text, and may become a model text for school boards in other urban areas across the nation.

Mahopac Central School District, $5,000
The Mahopac Middle School Nature Trail Project
While involving their students in the development of a nature trail on campus, Mahopac Middle School teachers will increase their own understanding of science and the environment and improve their ability to create instructional materials that can challenge students and meet New York State learning standards. Teachers will lead their students in the construction of a 1/4 mile visually-impaired accessible trail, the production of a trail guide for the Mahopac middle school, the design of a webpage and the collection of various species on the trail.

Mohonk Preserve, $5,000
New Paltz
Water Quality Awareness Program
The Water Quality Awareness Program is designed to engage young people from upstate urban centers and their parents in water quality issues. Students visiting the Mohonk Preserve will study watershed/water table models and sample and observe the Hudson River and one of its tributaries to learn about how water moves within watersheds and through water tables and how human activity impacts water quality. Young participants will develop hypotheses about water quality and analyze and compare water monitoring data from multiple test sites to identify sources of contamination in the Hudson River.

St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, $5,000
Environmental Education/Solid Waste & Pace Energy Project
The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, partnering with the Pace University Energy Project, will implement a solid waste and energy education program to increase knowledge among the 5,200 members of the Tribe about proper solid waste management practices and energy efficient measures to preserve natural resources. The community will be reached through fact sheets, radio broadcasts and ten cartoon strips for local newspapers.

Institute for Economic Growth, $4,995
Project RE-Create
Visitors to the AProject RE-create@ exhibit at the Long Island Children's Museum in Garden City will assume the roles of decision-makers challenged with developing strategies to deal with solid waste on Long Island, where garbage is a pressing environmental issue. The designers of the exhibit are teachers and students grades four to eight, who will devise ways of guiding visitors to the museum through hands-on experiences about the manufacture, distribution and disposal of familiar products while learning about these issues themselves.

Pace University $4,950
Watershed Awareness
Pace University's Watershed Awareness project will increase participating teachers' understanding of key environmental issues, enabling them to incorporate environmental education materials into classroom programming and improving their abilities to analyze environmental issues and make informed decisions. Participants will focus on water issues at a location in the middle of the Croton Reservoir watershed serving New York City, where urban sprawl and heavy development have stressed the system. Teachers that have completed the project will help their students assess problems, develop solutions and become effective environmental stewards of the watershed.

City of New York/Parks & Recreation, $4,715
Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay Parks, The Bronx
Birds of the Bronx
Under the leadership of Parks staff, a group of seventh and eighth grade residents of the Bronx will explore their local environment to understand the complexities of urban ecosystems and the environmental challenges wildlife and humans face. Site visits to natural ecosystems and those that are built -- including a shopping center in a large development built on a wetland -- will provide an understanding of the needs of wildlife and the impact human activity can have on them. This community-based experiential education will emphasize wildlife habitat requirements, the effects of habitat loss and the complex processes involved in environmental decision-making. Students will apply what they have learned in the field to a research mini-project and present the results at a mock town meeting.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, $4,500
Radio Farm
The Radio Farm program will address the improper disposal of agricultural waste and its resulting environmental, economic and health problems. Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County is producing twelve 5-minute radio segments to inform listeners about the environmental problems resulting from the improper burning of agricultural plastic waste like bail wrap, silo bunker covers and mulch film. The programs, produced for public service radio broadcasts, will be available on CD-ROM and cassette for class and seminar use, and will target an audience of farmers in six northern New York counties.

For more information contact:
Nina Habib Spencer, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3670 FAX: 212-637-4445