Good news for educational institutions that offer programs geared toward promoting environmental stewardship as well as to help develop knowledgeable and responsible students, teachers and citizens. There are grant programs available to help with the funding of environmental education and green-related topics.
Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA)
This last week Washington, D.C. played host to the Sustainability Education Summit, a two-day event where more than 300 experts came together to begin developing an action plan for a broad national approach to economic sustainability, centering on higher education and the education system in general.
This congressionally mandated summit was the result of the passage of the Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA), part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, and featured senior government, education and business leaders out to explore how to promote America\’s transition to a sustainable, green economy.
In addition HESA provides for a university sustainability grant program designed to offer competitive grants to colleges, universities and other institutions of higher education in order for them to develop, implement and evaluate academic sustainability curricula, programs and practices.
The hope is that the grant program will contribute to the environmental health and economic competitiveness of the U.S. Allowing colleges and universities to develop, teach and implement sustainability practices benefits the students who gain the education necessary for their future as well as those who are impacted by the results of that education.
However, the U.S. Department of Education isn\’t the only driving force behind bringing more environmental awareness into our educational system.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers green education grants
For local education agencies, state education or environmental agencies, colleges or universities, non-profit organizations or non-commercial educational broadcasting entities, the EPA’s Environmental Education Division (EDD), Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environment Education, sponsors a grant program designed to support environmental education projects that enhance public awareness and knowledge about the environment and the decisions they make.
The EPA awards grants annually based on funding from Congress. Annual funding for the program ranges between $2 and $3 million. Most grants will be in the $15,000 to $25,000 range and can be applied for locally. Applicants are encouraged to review eligibility requirements and complete the appropriate paperwork before the December deadline at www.epa.gov.
National Education Association Foundation green grants
The National Education Association (NEA) Foundation offers two categories of green grants: Nickelodeon Big Green Help Public Education Grants and Staples Foundation for Learning Green Grants to Public School Educators.
Public school educators are eligible to apply for individual grants worth up to $5,000 for the development and implementation of ideas, techniques, and approaches for teaching green concepts.
Those interested in applying can do so through the online application process at www.neafoundation.org.
Project Learning Tree GreenWorks! grants
Project Learning Tree® (PLT), an award-winning national environmental education program, and the USDA Forest Service offer funding for environmental education through their GreenWorks! grant program. Partnering with local business and community organizations, teachers and educators create an environmental neighborhood improvement project that blends service activities with the academic curriculum.
Grant awards range from $250 to $5,000. This year’s deadline is December 1, 2010. For further information, to review the GreenWorks! guide or to apply online, visit the PLT website at www.plt.org.