BOSTON – Two organizations in Massachusetts have been awarded 181,864 in Environmental Education Grants by the US Environmental Protection Agency to support their work in addressing a range of topics in classrooms.
The grants given to Health Resources in Action and the New England Aquarium, both in Boston, were among 36 grants awarded nationally and three grants awarded in New England this week under the 2017 Environmental Education Grants Program.
Health Resources in Action of Boston received $91,000 for a two-year program called Empowering Boston Youth. Leaders through Education, Action, and Hope is a youth and career development program that gives low-income high school students of color at Boston Public Schools with paid teaching internships to teach science to fourth to sixth graders in after school programs.
Through LEAH, high school students are trained to teach an urban ecology curriculum adapted specifically for this age group. The LEAH Project pilots the curriculum, which uses interactive lessons to draw students into learning, problem-solving, and decision-making related to resiliency and energy efficiency. Partner sub-grants support events in which students serve as stewards to address energy efficiencies/resiliency threats in their neighborhoods.
“We are excited to receive this EPA grant which will allow the LEAH Project to expand its programming and prepare high school youth in Boston to be environmental stewards and future environmental professionals,” said Steve Ridini, president and CEO of Health Resources in Action. “The LEAH Project will leverage funds from this grant to support and train Boston high school youth as peer mentors who will increase environmental stewardship among younger students in Boston’s most economically and environmentally disadvantaged neighborhoods.”
The New England Aquarium received $90,864 for a two-year project that will educate 500 Boston area residents, both youth and adult volunteers, on habitat restoration opportunities. The project is called Promoting Education through Action for Conservation of Habitats. New England Aquarium partners with about a half dozen local environmental organizations to train staff and in turn offer orientation programs to volunteers to manage habitat restoration and citizen science projects. The project is focused toward habitat areas in local watersheds that can help to protect water resources and reduce harmful inputs to area streams and rivers flowing to Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay.
“We are looking forward to deepening our partnerships with local environmental organizations to create new opportunities for youth and adult volunteers to become involved as learners, citizen scientists, and protectors of key habitats in Massachusetts,” said William S. Spitzer, vice president for programs, exhibits, and planning at the aquarium.
The other New England organization to receive a grant was The National Audubon Society which received $91,000 to create school yard habitats.