Learn about how your school district can receive federal funding and other grant opportunities.
Many times, environmental education (EE) can be integrated into the K-12 curriculum without enormous added costs to a school or district. Many EE resources are designed to address existing academic standards, making EE a platform for helping students achieve knowledge and skills in a meaningful and locally relevant way. But providing teachers wth the professional development needed to provide effective instruction in environmental content, use the schoolyard for hands-on learning, or integrate an off-site field experience into pre- and post-classroom instruction may require additional funds. Likewise, transportation for enriching experiences at nearby nature centers, public lands, or other program providers can add up.
Funding for EE is frequently available through small grants that may be offered through a state agency or local and regional private grantmakers. But some federal agencies offer grant programs that support larger educational initiatives each year. Here is information about just a few of these opportunities.
EPA Office of Environmental Education Grants
The EPA Office of Environmental Education administers grants each year through all EPA regions. These grants support work that expands environmental education and promotes environmental stewardship, awareness, or skills. Local education agencies and their nonprofit partners are eligible for these grants and make up a large portion of awardees in the past.
ESSA Title IV, Part A
Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act allows, for the first time ever, for federal funds to be used for EE programming. Both Part A and Part B funds are block granted to states and subsequently distributed to LEAs. In Part A, EE is eligible for funding as part of “a well-rounded education,” while Part B includes environmental literacy as an eligible activity within 21st Century Community Learning Centers. EE is, however, one of many allowable activities under both of these parts of Title IV, but we believe it to be a useful and important component. The deadlines to submit applications for funds vary significantly by state.
NOAA B-WET Grants
NOAA also administers the Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant program. This grant program is offered for programs that provide K-12 students with Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs). MWEEs typically have both outdoor and in-the-classroom components. B-WET grants are open to the following regions: California, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Hawai'i, New England, and the Pacific Northwest. Applications open in late summer or early fall and close in late fall or early winter. For information on project ideas and application information, visit the website.
NOAA Environmental Literacy Grants
NOAA regularly administers grants for programs that forward environmental literacy on a local, regional, or national scale. A large focus of this grant program is on projects that use science to advance stewardship and community resilience to environmental harms. Visit the website for information on past recipients for project ideas.