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EPA Grants Spur Environmental Stewardship In New York Classrooms, Rivers and Parks

Release Date: 03/06/2007
Contact Information: Teresa Ippolito, (212) 637-3671,

(New York, N.Y.) What do these groups all have in common -- teachers and students throughout New York raising trout to learn about stream and watershed protection, high school students trying to learn as much as possible about soils and forestry, teachers and students using a local park as an outdoor learning lab, high school students collecting water quality data on an urban river, and university engineering students learning how to a product’s environmental impact into its design? They are all recipients of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency environmental education grants, totaling about $82,000.

“The future caretakers of the environment are in our classrooms, parks, and universities today,” said EPA Regional Administrator, Alan J. Steinberg. “It is important to give them the skills and opportunities they need to understand their environment and take action to improve it. These grants empower today’s young people to become tomorrow’s environmental stewards.”

EPA’s local and nationwide educational programs promote environmental stewardship and support excellence in environmental education. Since 1992, EPA has funded over $40 million in environmental education grants to support more than three thousand projects across the country. Agency partnerships, including the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation and the Environmental Education Training Partnership, have given thousands of formal and non-formal educators the skills and knowledge needed to teach students of all ages about safeguarding the environment.

The New York grant recipients are:

Trout Unlimited
Flushing, N.Y. (718) 595-3503
Environmental Quality Monitoring and Public Education

By raising trout and managing their in-classroom water environment, teachers and students who participate in Trout in the Classroom (TIC) learn about the importance of clean, fresh water, the human impacts on watersheds, how water conditions impact living things and human drinking water supplies and how to care for this vital ecosystem. This grant agreement will support three teacher conferences at which educators will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to integrate TIC fully into their classes. Teachers and students learn how to care for the environment in which they live and develop environmental stewardship attitudes and skills.

Long Island Regional Envirothon, Ltd.
Riverhead, N.Y. (631) 727-2315
Long Island Regional Envirothon

This grant supports the participation of high school students in New York's Nassau and Suffolk Counties in an annual environmental education competition. Envirothon participants study and compete in a program to demonstrate what they have learned in aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and current environmental issues. Their involvement in the program fosters interest in environmental careers and develops environmental stewardship.

City of Kingston
Kingston, N.Y. (631) 727-2315
Kingston Parks: An Outdoor Classroom

The Outdoor Classroom Project provides teachers and students with a hands-on interactive approach to environmental studies by using local parks as locales for field experiences about local land uses, water quality of the Hudson River and the role of communities and nature centers in endangered species protection. The program will be correlated with state core curricula. Teacher workshops will prepare educators for the programs at the parks and will include pre and post trip materials. This grant makes provides fee-free stewardship building educational experiences to 70 classes of Kingston students in grades K - 12.

Rocking the Boat
Bronx, N.Y. (718) 466-5799
Bronx and East Rivers On-Water Education Program

Two programs focusing on the Bronx River and East River will be conducted for New York City high school students. Rocking the Boat staff educators work with classroom teachers to develop projects for their students. The projects combine classroom learning with field experiences on the rivers. Students in the Out-Of-School-On-Water program meet twice a week after school for a 13-week semester and four days a week for seven weeks during the summer. Using wooden boats built by their peers, they conduct river water quality studies including data collection, research, and physical restoration of the rivers. Students participating in the Community Environmental Program participate in a similar program during the school day. Both projects promote environmental stewardship as students are involved in implementing conservation and restoration projects.

Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, N.Y. (565) 475-7984
Sustainable Product Design and Development: Initiation of a Minor Program

RIT will develop a minor in sustainable product development (SPD). The SPD program will teach students to consider the complete product lifecycle in product development. The program will involve technically oriented students interested in the relationship between engineering, technology and sustainability. Traditional classroom instruction, web site development, student participation in a speaker series on environmental themes and site visits to natural and industrial sites will be included in the course. As these students learn about SPD they understand the importance of minimizing the environmental impacts of products they will develop during their careers, understand how to be more responsive to human impacts on the environment, find ways to mitigate those impacts and develop habits of environmental stewardship.

For more information on EPA’s environmental education programs, go to Find out more about the grants program at EPA’s environmental education web sites are: for Pre-K through Grade 4; for middle grade students; for high school students and for educators.