Environmental Literacy Grants (NOAA)

Since 2005, NOAA's Office of Education has promoted the improvement of public environmental literacy through our Environmental Literacy Grants (ELG) program. These grants represent a significant portion of the Office of Education's efforts to support the agency's cross-cutting priority for increasing environmental literacy, stewardship, and informed decision-making among our nation's citizenry.

ELG competitions have consistently demonstrated alignment with NOAA's mission goals and NOAA's Education Strategic Plan. ELG competitions also require robust project evaluation; promote best practices; emphasize partnerships that facilitate the integration of NOAA assets into education programs; and promote climate, ocean, and atmospheric literacy. Additionally, the Office of Education strives with each opportunity to fund projects that complement rather than duplicate grant programs and other educational efforts offered by other NOAA offices and other Federal agencies.

STEM Ed Initiatives: 

Environmental Literacy Grants fund a broad range of informal and formal education projects implemented on regional to national scales. These projects include:

  • Professional development or training for K-12 teachers and informal educators

  • Development or modification of instructional materials for K-12 students, teachers, and/or informal educators

  • Experiential learning for youth and families

  • Citizen science

  • Civic engagement

  • Development of broadcast media products

  • Installations and creation of content and educational programming for Science on a Sphere and other spherical display systems at Informal Science Education institutions

  • Other types of exhibits for science centers, museums, and aquariums, with specific focus on building capacity to incorporate scientific data and data visualizations.

Between 2005 and 2010, the Environmental Literacy Grants program supported 72 competitive awards for a total of $34.1 million. Demand for these awards is very high, and NOAA has been able to fund only ~14% of the full applications received for this program.

Successful projects aim to catalyze change in K-12 and informal education through development of new partnerships, new approaches, new programs, and materials utilizing transformative methods that expand or lead to the expansion of the use of Earth System Science in K-12 and informal education. The goal is to not just increase knowledge of scientific phenomena but also to provide opportunities for the application of that knowledge to environmental issues.

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