Wolf Administration Announces 2022 Environmental Education Projects in Southwestern Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that a total of $632,897 in environmental grant funds has been awarded to 63 projects, 50 of which engage youth and adults living or working in areas of environmental justice. Grants have been awarded to schools, institutions, conservation districts, and environmental and community organizations.

“These grants help lay the foundation for environmental education for people of all ages,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “This year’s Earth Day theme is ‘Investing in Our Planet,’ and each of these projects represents an investment in advancing the environmental education of Pennsylvanians.”

The Environmental Education Grant Program was created by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which requires setting aside 5% of pollution fines and penalties DEP collects each year for environmental education in Pennsylvania . Since its inception, DEP has awarded $12.3 million in environmental education grants to support 2,135 projects.

The 2022 program has selected applications for the development of innovative formal and non-formal education projects that:

Address grant program priorities related to water, climate change and/or environmental justice;

Provide opportunities to broaden the public’s understanding of Pennsylvania’s environmental issues; and

Develop the skills needed to make informed decisions.

“Whether it’s programs for students, teachers, residents or elected officials, DEP’s investment in environmental education provides organizations with resources to foster environmental stewardship for this generation and the next,” said Jim Miller, DEP Southwest Regional Director.

Grants have been awarded to schools, institutions, conservation districts, and environmental and community organizations. Thirty-four local projects received mini-grants of up to $3,000; 28 projects with a broad or statewide scope received general grants of up to $20,000; and a project, designed to engage students and teachers at the local, state and national levels, received a $65,710 grant. Over 90% of grant funds will support projects that engage youth and adults living or working in areas of environmental justice.

Southwestern Pennsylvania projects by county:

Allegheny

Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation “Garfield Native Gardens”: Host public workshops and green industry training programs. Participants and volunteers will set up a demonstration garden of native plant habitats. ($3,000)

Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light: “Caring for Creation with SW PA IPL” consists of seven recorded climate change education sessions and three celebratory sessions at two urban farms in southwestern Pennsylvania. Programs will include listening sessions and practical introductions to urban agriculture on a variety of topics, including climate change, environmental justice, social justice, energy, water and waste conservation , organic planting, planting native trees or shrubs and healthy eating. ($20,000)

Venture Outdoors “Exploring Our Waterways with Pittsburgh Youth”: Engage 50-60 elementary and middle school students in the City of Pittsburgh to take classes on water quality and field studies. ($8,380)

fayette

Mountain Watershed Association “Water Guardians Environmental Youth Club”: Organize an after-school program for 4th and 5th graders. During classroom and field experiences, students will delve deeper into environmental issues and be introduced to green-themed careers. ($18,600)

Washington

California Area School District “Success is Built on Sustainable Schools”: Using a tiered system, coordinate district programs to develop green, sustainable K-12 schools that reduce energy , food waste, conserve water, introduce environmentally friendly transport and increase recycling. ($20,000)

Westmoreland

Brandywine Conservancy “PA Master Naturalist in the Laurel Highlands”: To train Pennsylvania Master Naturalist volunteer leaders, including providing 30 hours of service to conservation organizations, schools, and municipalities. ($3,000)

Regional

Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) “Clearing the Air: Air Quality Education for Public Officials and Staff”: Develop an introduction to air quality and conduct nine workshops for elected officials and staff in Allegheny, Beaver , Butler, Washington, Greene, Fayette, Westmoreland and Armstrong counties. ($19,922)

Jacobs Creek Watershed Association “Macro Monday”: consists of four quarterly “Macro Monday” events in Westmoreland and Fayette counties for K-12 children and their guardians to perform hands-on activities on the yards to learn more about macroinvertebrates and water quality. ($2,989)

Pennsylvania Resources Council: Watershed Education and Rain Barrel Workshop Program is conducting eight watershed and rain barrel education workshops for residents of southeastern and southwestern Pennsylvania counties (Delaware, Allegheny , Beaver and Fayette) to teach participants about watershed protection and stormwater management. Attendees will receive PRC’s Watershed Wisdom booklet and a 55 gallon rain barrel with instructions for installation, use and maintenance. ($18,950)

Statewide

Pennsylvania Envirothon: “2023 Pennsylvania Envirothon”: implementing a statewide project that encourages high school students to explore environmental issues and equips them with tools to create healthy communities through stewardship actions . Students and teachers interact at the county, state, and national levels. Analyze existing curriculum to determine ways to expand teacher and youth engagement in areas of environmental justice. ($65,710)

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