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Ohio EPA Awards Environmental Education Mini Grants to Columbiana and Harrison County Schools

Ohio EPA has awarded nearly $10,000 in environmental education mini grants to equip learning labs for the Harrison Hills City Schools and Lisbon Exempted Village Schools districts and help students and teachers improve their research and technology skills to promote environmental sustainability. Twelve projects throughout the state were funded for $46,493.

Harrison North Elementary School will receive $4,900 for supplies to equip an outdoor environmental research learning lab with stations on composting and vermi-composting, butterfly gardening, weather, water quality and pond management, organic gardening and geological formations. The grant also will help train and certify additional teachers at the school in the national curricula for Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) and Project WILD (Wildlife in Learning Design) and the Ohio curriculum for Windows on Waste. The goal of the Harrison North Environmental Center project is to present learning activities to 325 students in 14 classes grades K-6.  Collaborators include the Carroll-Columbiana-Harrison Solid Waste District, Harrison County Farm Bureau and New Rumley 4-H Club.

David Anderson Junior/Senior High School in Columbiana County will receive $4,681 to teach students how to use technology to learn more about environmental sustainability. The grant also will equip the school’s outdoor environmental research learning lab for three new programs:

  • The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program is coordinated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The program informs students how to collect weather and soil moisture data according to scientific protocols for posting to an online database. Results are compared with data from schools around the world to research questions about climate.                                                                                                 
  • The National Geocache Monarch Tracking and Release Program requires that students learn about environmental geocaching. Students will be taught to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) to participate.
  • The third program also requires students to use GPS/GIS to tap into state and local databases to identify and map various environmental problems including radon hot spots and contaminated wells. Additionally, students will learn about water conservation, erosion and pollution and measure the effectiveness of rain barrels and rain gardens.

Two hundred students in grades six through eight will present their findings to the local community. Carroll-Columbiana-Harrison Solid Waste District and Columbiana Soil and Water Conservation District are collaborating.

The Ohio Environmental Education Fund gives out approximately $1 million each year for environmental education projects targeting kindergarten through university students, the general public and the regulated community. General grants are given for projects lasting up to 30 months and costing up to $50,000.

Mini grants are available for projects lasting up to 12 months and costing between $500 and $5,000. Proposals for classroom projects, conference speakers, and other activities that are eligible under the general grant program are eligible under the mini-grant program, but the application process is streamlined. Ohio EPA's Office of Environmental Education reserves up to $50,000 each grant round to fund projects submitted under this program. Just like the general grant program, there are two mini-grant rounds each year, with the next application deadline on Jan. 15, 2013.  An electronic letter of intent to apply is due on Jan. 8.

For more information, contact Ohio EPA's Office of Environmental Education at (614) 644-2873. Staff is available to assist potential grant applicants who contact the office before the submission deadline. Information also is available online.

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. In the past 40 years, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling. Ohio EPA -- 40 years and moving forward.


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