PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Dina Pierce
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mary McCarron
Ohio EPA to Hold Webinar Meeting about Environmental Education Fund Spending Priorities
Public Encouraged to Submit Comments in Writing Before March 31 Deadline
Ohio EPA will host a webinar public hearing, Monday, March 30, 2020, on proposed funding priorities for the Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) for July 2020 through June 2021.
The meeting will be held exclusively online. During the online information session that begins at 3:30 p.m., individuals participating in the webinar may submit questions through the webinar application. A webinar hearing will immediately follow during which the public can submit comments through the webinar application on the record about the proposal.
The webinar may be accessed through Ohio EPA’s website: https://ohioepa.webex.com/mw3300/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=ohioepa&service=6
Comments received in writing will be given equal consideration to those that are received at the online hearing.
OEEF provides grants for environmental education projects that benefit the regulated community, pre-school through university students and teachers, and Ohio adults. Priority focus areas for the grant program include education efforts to:
- Encourage careers in environmental science and environmental engineering;
- Reduce nutrient loading to Ohio’s streams and lakes, improve water quality, and prevent harmful algal blooms;
- Improve air quality by reducing emissions;
- Improve water quality by managing storm water and reducing nutrient loadings into streams and lakes that can result in Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs); and
- Encourage habitat restoration to improve biodiversity and improve air and water quality.
In addition to awarding environmental education grants, the OEEF also supports priorities through several outreach initiatives:
- Water Quality Education: Ohio EPA coordinates the national Project Wet (Water Education for Teachers), Healthy Water, Healthy People and Getting Little Feet Wet curricula by offering educator and facilitator workshops. Agency staff help citizen scientists, environmental professionals, volunteers and school classes monitor the health of local streams through Ohio’s credible data program. The OEEF also funds Ohio EPA’s annual sponsorship of the Ohio Storm Water Conference.
- Promoting Environmental Careers: OEEF supports college scholarships for Ohio students in environmental science and engineering, and competitions for K-12 students including State Science Day, the Future City engineering competition for middle schools, the Ohio Envirothon competition for high schools, and the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council’s “Teachers, Industry and the Environment” conference. A partnership with the Environmental Education Council of Ohio and the Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources is supporting a statewide network of more than 450 environmental professionals visiting schools as career ambassadors.
The law that created OEEF requires the program to develop an agenda (with spending priorities) for each fiscal year. After a public hearing, the agenda is submitted to the Ohio General Assembly on April 1. A fact sheet on the 2021 annual agenda is available on Ohio EPA’s website. Comments about the annual agenda can be sent to Carolyn Watkins, Ohio EPA Office of Environmental Education. P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments received by 5 p.m. on March 31 will be included in the official record.