L.D.W.F. Environmental Education Commission Announces 2012-13 EPA Region 6 School Sustainability Grants Program

Release Date: 08/23/2012

Aug. 23, 2012 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Environmental Education Commission (LEEC) has received an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant for $150,000 to assist educators, students and citizens in EPA Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas) more fully appreciate the need to conserve our resources and understand that the choices we make today affect the world that we live in tomorrow. Two new funding opportunities and one workshop series will be made available with this EPA grant.

  The first funding opportunity, a School Sustainability Grants program, is currently accepting proposals. These grants are designed to encourage student learning via sustainability initiatives in K-12 schools. Proposals to be considered are those within a specific school campus that will engage students and result in a more sustainable facility. School administrators or fulltime classroom teachers affiliated with accredited public or non-public schools (K-12) in EPA Region 6 are eligible to apply on behalf of their school. Grant awards are not to exceed $5,000 and the grant application deadline is Oct. 1, 2012.  All applications will undergo an anonymous and competitive grant review process. For guidelines and additional information, go to http://www.cain.lsu.edu/node/68 .

Sustainability Initiative Project grants will be offered later in the year. They can be used to fund a variety of environmental initiatives including: volunteer opportunities, educator workshops, and other projects that have a fundamental EE component and clear sustainability message. Local education agencies, colleges, universities, state education or environmental agencies, or 501(C)(3) non-profit organizations will be eligible to apply for these mini-grants. 

Finally, Quantifying Debris, a workshop series for educators and their students, will be offered beginning in the summer of 2013 and will focus on the dynamics of marine debris. Teachers will participate in marine debris lessons and then travel to a stretch of beach where they will mark areas of concentrated debris via GPS units. They will pick up, sort, and weigh debris, determine recyclable content, develop statistics on trash types, infer sources of trash, etc. Attendees will receive up to 16 hours of professional development; they will also receive travel reimbursements and a classroom GPS unit. Teachers will return during the school year with their 6-12 grade students, who will participate in activities similar to those in the teacher workshop. Students will then design signage to be produced and displayed at marinas and boat launch facilities. These and other follow-up projects at school will encourage problem solving related to reducing trash in the environment.  

The grants program focus is changing longstanding practices which are commonly accepted within the community.  Sustainability initiatives, such as the ones to be funded with this grant, are designed to counteract the current trend to use, purchase, and waste at a rate that outpaces resource growth.  

For more information, contact Venise Ortego, LDWF Environmental Education Coordinator, ph. 337-948-0255 or vortego@wlf.la.gov.