Penn. DEP accepting applications for 2009 grant program

Applications are now available for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's 2009 environmental education grants, which support projects and programs that increase environmental awareness and understanding in Pennsylvania's communities. Schools, universities, intermediate units, non-profit groups and county conservation districts are eligible and encouraged to apply...

• Applicants encouraged to attend grant workshops

HARRISBURG, PA, Oct. 1, 2008 -- Applications are now available for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's 2009 environmental education grants, which support projects and programs that increase environmental awareness and understanding in Pennsylvania's communities. "Through environmental education we can provide Pennsylvania's schools and families with the tools and information they need to make smart choices about energy conservation, reducing pollution in their communities, and protecting Pennsylvania's natural resources," said Jack Farster, DEP's environmental education director.

Schools, universities, intermediate units, non-profit groups and county conservation districts are eligible and encouraged to apply. Grants will go to projects that promote understanding of important environmental topics, such as:

• Sustainable energy sources, like solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and alternative transportation fuels, as well as energy efficiency and conservation practices;

• Air quality, with a focus on lowering emissions from transportation vehicles and electric-generation to reduce ground-level ozone, or smog;

• Watersheds and wetlands, focusing on abating acid mine drainage and reducing non-point source pollution.

Grants will range from $3,000 to $20,000 and support programs that promote environmental education in Pennsylvania.

The deadline to submit a pre-application form for the grants is Dec. 12. Beginning Jan. 16, DEP will notify approved pre-applicants to prepare a full application to submit to the department by March 6.

Last month, DEP announced 78 grants totaling more than $478,000 for environmental education in Pennsylvania. Since the program's inception, the department has awarded more than $6 million in grants to support the environmental education efforts of schools, county conservation districts, and other non-profit organizations throughout the state.

The program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993 and mandates that 5 percent of all pollution fines and penalties collected annually by DEP be set aside for environmental education. The act was amended by the legislature in July and signed into law by Governor Edward G. Rendell to make more education programs eligible for the grants.

To encourage more successful grant applications, DEP and its partners, the Department of Education, Lake Erie-Allegheny Earth Force, and the Wildwood Lake Sanctuary at the Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center, will hold two free workshops in November. The first workshop will be held Nov. 3 at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle, Erie. On Nov. 13, a second workshop will be held at the Wildwood Lake Sanctuary at the Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center in Harrisburg.

Workshop participants, including teachers, school district curriculum specialists, intermediate unit staff, nature center and other environmental educators, county conservation district staff, college and university outreach staff and representatives of non-profit conservation and education organizations, will have an opportunity to prepare and submit a DEP environmental education grant pre-application during the workshop.

The workshops will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with lunch and refreshments provided. Teachers who attend will be eligible for 5.5 Act 48 credit hours through the state's Department of Education.

To register, contact Ann Devine in DEP's Environmental Education Center at 717-772-1644 or e-mail adevine@state.pa.us. The workshop registration deadline is Oct. 27.

To request a pre-application form, write to the DEP Environmental Education Grants Program, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063, or call 717-772-1828.

>> Click here for more information or to download a pre-application form (keyword: EE Grants)

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