National watershed education programs to be funded by NOAA grants

NOAA announced the winners of its recent competition for education grants that will allow thousands of K-12 students around the country to get outside and participate in hands-on environmental education opportunities.

Oct. 25, 2012 -- NOAA today announced the winners of its recent competition for education grants that will allow thousands of K-12 students around the country to get outside and participate in hands-on environmental education opportunities. A total of 59 projects will benefit from $5.5 million in grants from the NOAA Office of Education’s Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program that will support activities ranging from data driven field investigations in the Pacific Northwest to studies of stormwater management and invasive species in the Great Lakes.

All recipients of B-WET grants emphasize meaningful watershed educational experiences -- sustained, hands-on activities that are aligned with academic learning standards and responsive to regional education and environmental priorities. Some 2012 student activities include learning about currents and marine debris on the coast of Hawaii with the Malama Kai Foundation, participating in field investigations in the Gulf of Mexico with the University of Texas, and developing urban schoolyard habitats with the Living Classrooms Foundation in Chesapeake Bay.

“Field-based STEM education activities, like those funded by B-WET, are a critical part of NOAA’s education portfolio,” said Louisa Koch, director of education at NOAA. “There is growing evidence that these types of activities contribute to understanding and commitment to environmental conservation and stewardship, which is core to NOAA’s mission.”

B-WET also provides funding for formal K-12 educator training programs to help teachers incorporate meaningful watershed educational experiences, as well as NOAA data and other resources, into their classrooms. Teachers and education professionals involved with the B-WET Program are equipped with information they can share with their students and communities for many years to come.

B-WET currently serves seven areas of the country: California, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, New England, and the Pacific Northwest. This is the first year NOAA has made awards in the Great Lakes region, made possible by funds from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. New 2012 B-WET recipients, by region, are:

Exploring New Horizons (Santa Cruz, Calif.)
Robert H. Down Elementary School (Pacific Grove, Calif.)
Hilton Bialek Habitat (Carmel, Calif.)
University Corp at Monterey Bay-Camp SEA Lab (Monterey, Calif.)
Marine Science Institute (Redwood City, Calif.)
Santa Cruz County Office of Education (Santa Cruz, Calif.)
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (San Francisco, Calif.)
Earth Island Institute (Oakland, Calif.)
The Regents of the University of California (Berkeley, Calif.)
Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association (San Francisco, Calif.)
Seven Tepees Youth Program (San Francisco, Calif.)
The Regents of the University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
California Department of Education (Santa Barbara and Oxnard, Calif.)

Chesapeake Bay
Elizabeth River Partnership (Portsmouth, Va.)
Virginia Institute of Marine Science - NERRS (Gloucester Point, Va.)
Boxerwood Education Association (Lexington, Va.)
Living Classrooms Foundation (Baltimore, Md.)
Alice Ferguson Foundation (Accokeek, Md.)
Cecil County Public Schools (Elkton, Md.)
District of Columbia Environmental Education Consortium (District of Columbia)
National Council for Science and the Environment (District of Columbia)
Hartwick College (Oneonta, N.Y.)
The Mountain Institute (Elkins, W.V.)
National Wildlife Federation (Reston, Va.)

Great Lakes
Board of Regents of the Univ. of Wis. System / UW-Superior (Superior, Wisc.)
Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, Ill.)
Grand Valley State University (Allendale, Mich.) |
Michigan State University (East Lansing, Mich.)
Chicago Public Schools, District #299 (Chicago, Ill.)
The Pennsylvania State University (University Park, Pa.)
Copper Country Intermediate School District (Hancock, Mich.)
Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (Alpena, Mich.)
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Madison, Wisc.)|
Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Inc. (Manitowoc, Wisc.)
Detroit Zoological Society (Royal Oak, Mich.)
Friends of the Chicago River (Chicago, Ill.)

Gulf of Mexico
University of Texas at Austin (Austin, Texas)
Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Tallahassee, Fla.)
University of South Florida (Tampa, Fla.)
University of Texas - Pan American (Edinburg, Texas)
Audubon Nature Institute (New Orleans, La.)

Oahu Resource Conservation and Development Council (Aiea, Hawaii)
Malama Kai Foundation (Kamuela, Hawaii)
University of Hawaii Systems (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Pacific American Foundation, Inc. (Kailua, Hawaii)
The Kohala Center (Kamuela, Hawaii)
The Alaka'ina Foundation (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Pacific American Foundation, Inc. (Kailua, Hawaii)
Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Pono Pacific Land Management, LLC (Honolulu, Hawaii)

New England
Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (Provincetown, Mass.)
Westport River Watershed Alliance (Westport, Mass.)

Pacific Northwest
Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership (Portland, Ore.)
Pacific Education Institute (Olympia, Wash.)
Dungeness River Audubon Center (Sequim, Wash.)
Oregon Department of State Lands (Charleston, Ore.)
NatureBridge (San Francisco, Calif.)
Curry County Soil and Water Conservation District (Gold Beach, Ore.)

For more details about the 2012 B-WET awardees, please visit or the regional program websites.

These new B-WET grants will reach an estimated 40,000 students and 4,000 teachers this year. New awards last from one to three years in duration and range in value from $10,000 to $420,000. Grantees were selected through a rigorous peer review process administered by a NOAA program office in their region. All B-WET applicants are encouraged to partner with local NOAA offices, and/or utilize local NOAA field sites and data where appropriate.

Congress established NOAA’s B-WET Program in 2002. Since that time NOAA has awarded more than $50 million to support more than 680 projects around the country. NOAA is currently accepting applications for new B-WET projects for the 2013 fiscal year. For more information on NOAA’s Office of Education funding opportunities, visit

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels at


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