Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
NOAA-21st Century Community Learning Centers Watershed STEM Education Partnership Grants
Diving into eeBLUE: NAAEE Partnered with NOAA to Offer Watershed STEM Education Grants
NAAEE, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and supported by the U.S. Department of Education, is excited to award $2.45 million to 30 environmental education organizations that partner with NOAA to provide enriching after school watershed-related STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) projects. These grants support programming for a total of 100 local Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) sites and their students, many of whom live in high-poverty and underserved areas. The 30 selected projects are serving 18 states, ranging from Alaska to Florida. These Watershed STEM Education Partnership Grants allow environmental education organizations to collaborate directly with the 21st CCLC sites on the design and implementation of locally relevant, out-of-school-time programs that develop students’ environmental literacy and leadership skills as they improve their communities. The funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by NAAEE.
"This opportunity to help youth learn about and discover ways to protect their watershed couldn’t come at a better time. Aside from the many health benefits of connecting to nature, both physical and mental, empowering youth to find their voice and learn ways they can help protect the watershed will have ongoing positive impacts on these local communities." —Kelly Steffan, from the Environmental Science Center in Washington
Anticipated Program Outcomes
- Students will learn about STEM while also building leadership and advocacy skills by participating in exciting hands-on learning activities and connecting to nature. All Watershed STEM Grantees and partners are adapting to meet the needs of the students according to current health and safety guidelines. Please note that proposals were submitted prior to COVID-19.
- Watershed STEM grantees are offering virtual professional development opportunities and planning with partners to ensure that their projects are tailored to evolving partner and community needs.
- Staff will also gain from the partnership, strengthening both environmental literacy and teaching skills. Watershed STEM grantees and 21st CCLC partners will deliver authentic STEM experiences that use components of the NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) model along with other NOAA assets and expertise.
"In response to the social distancing mandate and in efforts to both protect our students and the places we would like to take them to engage in meaningful watershed educational experiences, the Pacific American Foundation’s Kilo Kai program is planning on using GoPro Max 360 cameras to combine still and video imagery to create an immersive experience where students can walk through an entire watershed from the ridges to the reefs." —Derek Esibill, from the Pacific American Foundation in Hawaii
Each month, NAAEE will post blogs from the Watershed STEM Grantees as they implement their projects, adapt to challenges, and work collaboratively towards a blue planet. Join us on their journey!
- November 2020: "Mass Audubon: Place-Based STEM Meets You Where You Are"
by Cori Brauer, Education Coordinator at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
- December 2020: "Kilo Kai, to Observe the Ocean—Connecting Land Use and Its Impacts on the Nearshore Ecosystem" by Derek Esibill, from the Pacific American Foundation in Hawaii
- January 2021: "Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies: Kenai Watersheds" by Katie Gavenus, Program Director for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies
- February 2021: "Training Teachers to Bring the Outside In" by Meredeth Dash, VA Environmental Education Specialist for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
- March 2021: "Staying Engaged from Afar" by Riley Hazel, Student Assistant at the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education
- April 2021: "It's All About the Connections" by Creek Connections Director Wendy Kedzierski and Allegheny College Project Assistants Gretchen Barbera and Isabella Petitta
- May 2021: "Stepping Outside" by Mary Ronan, from the Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Depew, New York
- June 2021: "Celebrating Watersheds and Wildlife: Bringing MWEE to Youth Creatively During COVID-19" by Kirsi Johnson from St Lucie County, Florida, Environmental Resources Department & Oxbow Eco-Center
- July 2021: "Urban Watersheds: Adjusting Instruction During COVID-19" by Katheranne Reese, Program Coordinator for Environmental Science Center
- August 2021: "Puget Sound Estuaries: Inspiring the Next Generation of Stewards of Puget Sound Through Exploration and Education" by Paris McClusky, Executive Director for Puget Sound Estuarium
- September 2021: "A Professional Journey in Cultivating Stewardship of Land and Water Using the 21st Century Community Learning Center Model" by Ayana Melvan, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, Mission Programs at Mystic Aquarium
- October 2021: "PIVOOOOOT!” - Flint Partners Persevere with Passion Through the Pandemic" by Autumn Mitchell, Education Programs Manager at the Flint River Watershed Coalition
- November 2021: "Blazing Trails for CCLC Youth and Families" by Elise Sheffield, Education Director, Boxerwood Education Association
- December 2021: "Connecting with the Great Lakes through Watershed Education" by Juliana Lisuk, Associate Director, Inland Seas Education Association
"We are so excited about this partnership! We can’t wait to hear the first gasps and exclamations of 'ewww!' and 'whoa!' as students wade into cold rivers and mud marshes, look at macroinvertebrates and plankton up close or hold a sea star for the first time." —Katie Gavenus, Program Director at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies
Congratulations to the Watershed STEM Grantees!
Please visit the You for Youth site for additional information on this partnership and to view an interactive map to learn more about each of the grantees.
For additional information on this partnership, please visit the You for Youth site.