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Category Archives: EPA environmental justice environmental education grants

Four D.C. environmentally-conscious groups won grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency in two different grant programs – one geared towards environmental education and the other concentrating on environmental justice initiatives.  
         Out of 76 organizations working on environmental injustice (EJ), DC-based Catholic Charities and Earth Conservation Corps won an undisclosed amount of EJ grant money.
         Out of 14 organizations nationwide, the National Council for Science & the Environment (NSCE) and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAEE) won environmental education grants – the latter received the largest amount of the Environmental Protection Agency’s education grants.

  EPA environmental education grants support community projects like the one pictured above (Courtesy of woodleywonderparks)
    Since 1994, the EPA has awarded organizations with environmental justice grants to achieve their goals in educating people in their communities about improving their environmental health. The EPA awards grants to community organizations that help inform people of color about their local environmental hazards such as urban air pollution.
         To applyfor the environmental education grant, an organization must be a non-profit organization, or administrators from tribal and local schools – ranging from an elementary school level to higher education institutions.
         As a part of the application process, eligible grant recipients must also submit a budget form for the estimated cost of their project. Depending on the total of the project’s cost, the eligible recipient will either submit at their regional branch of the EPA (for budget proposals in the range of $50,000 or less) or its national headquarters (for budget proposals in the range of $50,000 to $200,000).
        The application requirements for the environmental justice grants are the same, except colleges and universities are not eligible – only local and state governments and non-profits that are not “national-multi-state-,or state-wide organizations with chapters.”
        This year’s $1.9 million education grant fund was split among  to several groups with a number of the proposed projects by grantees including: initiatives to increase recycling, creating workshops to teach everyday people about weatherization, climate change, and teach them how to test the quality of air and water. 
       The projects of Catholic Charities and Earth Conservation Corpsdiffer in their focus but share the same goal: increasing D.C. residents the importance of environmental protection (could us something more specific here). Earth Conservation Corpsbelieve that protecting and conserving the environment.
      Although D.C. enforces a strict recycling policy, littering is still a common occurrence, since the average person still does not consider the impact a stray plastic bag can have on their environment. But a wind-carried, stray bag can possibly make its way to a nearby lake or pound. If the bag gets snagged on a limb underwater, aquatic life- from a minnow, all the way up the food chain- could be threatened.
        Catholic Charities’project, “Pre-Apprenticeship Green Construction Program,” will teach low-income residents methods to reduce lead in their drinking water and protect themselves against air pollution (didn't I ask in the last edit for examples here- begs the question). Other Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training (PACT) programs throughout the nation have also offered PACT participants a step-by-step guide to gaining LEED certification.
        The Goodwill of Greater Washingtonpreviously held their own green construction program which focused on giving participants the know-how of environmentally-sound construction. “Green” construction is also cost-effective since installing smart meters (weatherization) for houses cutbacks on air conditioning bills.
         Unlike the environmental education grants, the amount of EJ grants were undisclosed. An EPA press release reports that 2010 grants were “the largest amount of total funding in one year for environmental justice grants in more than a decade.”
        The largest 2010 grant recipient was DC-based North American Association for Environmental Education(NAAEE). The NAEEE received $170,759 of a $1.5 million grant to fund branches all over the country.  The environmental association strives to increase Americans understanding of environmental science and foster the growth of eco-entrepreneurs that its bountiful contacts in higher educationattest for.
        The second recipient located in the district is the National Council for Science & the Environment (NSCE) which received $115,053. The NSCE plans to use the grant to expand its EnvironMentors program, geared towards preparing Amerindian and Hispanic children for college and green-collar jobs.