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Environmental Education Grants Awarded to Seven Central Ohio Organizations
Seven central Ohio organizations have received grants from Ohio EPA’s Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF): Columbus City Schools, Canal Winchester Local Schools, Slow Food Columbus, Columbus Public Health, Public Media Connect, Columbus Jewish Day School and The Ohio State University.
Columbus City Schools, Canal Winchester Local Schools and Slow Food Columbus received mini grants. Columbus Public Health, Public Media Connect, Columbus Jewish Day School and Ohio State received general grants. General grants are awarded for up to $50,000; seven general grants were issued statewide for a total of $207,860. Mini grants are awarded for $500 to $5,000; 10 mini grants were awarded for a total of $34,369.
The grant recipients, grant amounts and project descriptions are:
- Columbus City Schools-Cedarwood Elementary: $5,000 for the “Kindergarten Life Science Triad.” About 180 Columbus kindergarten students will participate in hands-on activities and field trips to learn to use science inquiry and application and explore careers in life science. Three classroom lessons will be supplemented with field trips to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Franklin Park Conservatory and Columbus City Schools Spruce Run Outdoor Education Center.
- Canal Winchester Local Schools: $500 for “How Does Runoff Affect Soil and Water Quality of a Wetland Ecosystem.” Seventh grade students will perform water and soil testing of the wetland next to the middle school to determine the health of the water and soil and develop a plan to make changes to increase biotic diversity.
- Slow Food Columbus: $5,000 for “Slow Food Columbus Low-Tunnel Environment.” More than 500 Columbus City Schools students will participate in environmental education activities to include water conservation and how to sow and grow food in an outdoor garden-based program. Low-tunnel growing allows students to plant seeds earlier in the season with a harvest ready before the end of the school year.
- Columbus Public Health: $28,865 for the “Air Monitoring Education” project. The project will monitor outdoor air quality in Columbus neighborhoods and provide educational information to residents on the general levels of pollutants found. Data will be used to increase awareness about air quality and pollution, its possible impacts to people and wildlife and offer strategies that can reduce residents’ contribution to harmful pollution and reduce exposures when high levels of pollutants are present.
- Columbus Jewish Day School: $19,351 for the “Storm Water Quality Enhancement, Education and Awareness” program. The project will enhance the water quality of the storm water basin and wetland restoration within the Rose Run Creek Watershed by planting emergent plants, trees and shrubs near the basin’s edge. The project also will provide environmental stewardship curriculum workshops for 21 faculty members and about 65 students will participate in wetland education projects to learn about water quality issues and explore careers in environmental science.
- The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research: $34,862 for “Fueling Our Future: Introducing Seventh Graders to Careers in Clean Energy.” A 30-foot hydrogen fuel cell bus will be outfitted with a series of hands-on learning experiments that will introduce students to photovoltaics-, wind- and fuel cell-based energy conservation to teach students about the environmental benefits of clean energy technologies. A trailer with a photovoltaic array and wind turbine also will be used. The project will be presented to seventh graders in Champaign, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Madison, Portage, Stark, Summit and Union counties. The program includes classroom lessons and career opportunities.
- Public Media Connect: $37,000 for “Let’s Get Wild: Teachers Learn to Teach about Nature.” The project will train 600 preschool and school-age teachers in 28 central and southwestern Ohio counties to use nature as a tool to teach multidisciplinary and STEM topics. Curriculum includes hands-on projects, story books and other materials. Workshops will be held in Brown, Butler, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Darke, Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Licking, Marion, Miami, Montgomery, Morrow, Pickaway, Preble, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Shelby, Union and Warren counties.
The Ohio Environmental Education Fund provides grants each year for environmental education projects serving kindergarten through university students, the public and the regulated community. OEEF grants are funded with a portion of the civil penalties Ohio EPA collects for violations of Ohio’s air and water pollution control laws.
Eligible grant recipients include environmental groups, public and private schools, colleges and universities, trade or professional organizations, businesses and state and local governments. Letters of intent for the next grant round are due to Ohio EPA no later than Jan. 9, 2018, and applications are due by Jan. 16, 2018. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Ohio Environmental Education Fund online or at (614) 644-2873 to discuss project ideas.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.