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MEDIA CONTACT: Linda Fee Oros
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mary McCarron
Ohio EPA to Hold March 26 Hearing on the 2013 Agenda for the Ohio Environmental Education Fund
The Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) is accepting comments on its proposed agenda for 2013 grant programs, environmental science and engineering initiatives, watershed awareness and water quality monitoring for students and adults. The fund is administered by Ohio EPA.
A public meeting will be held March 26, 2012, to discuss the annual agenda, answer questions and accept public comments. The meeting is at 10:30 a.m. at Ohio EPA conference center room B, 6th floor, Lazarus Government Center, 50 West Town Street, Columbus.
OEEF plans to provide about $700,000 in 2013 to fund larger projects (grants up to $50,000). Funded education projects target the regulated community, general public and students. Priorities for funding include compliance assistance, community issues, environmental public health, standards-based education, career development and environmental sustainability. The program also has earmarked $100,000 for smaller grant projects of up to $5,000 each.
The fund will continue to provide $50,000 in annual scholarships to support environmental science and engineering students at Ohio colleges and universities. To promote middle and high school student interest in environmental careers, OEEF will continue to support State Science Day, the National Engineer’s Week Future City Competition and the Ohio Envirothon competition.
To address the requirements under federal storm water regulations, many municipalities are working to educate residents about the problems of storm water management and how to identify a local watershed and reduce pollution. OEEF plans to assist by awarding grants to support their efforts. The Office of Environmental Education also coordinates the Ohio distribution of the Healthy Water, Healthy People curriculum, providing educator guides, water quality testing kits and training as level one data collectors.
OEEF continues a 14-year partnership with the Environmental Education Council of Ohio to support one statewide and three regional conferences for educators and local professional development workshops to certify educators in national environmental education curricula such as Project WET, Project WILD and Project Learning Tree. The partnership has a network of nearly 2,000 participating school contacts.
The law that created the OEEF requires that an agenda with spending priorities for each upcoming fiscal year be submitted to the General Assembly on April 1, after a public hearing is held, allowing for input from appointed OEEF advisory council members.
A fact sheet on the 2013 annual agenda is available at http://www.epa.ohio.gov/oeef/
. Comments can be sent to Carolyn Watkins, Ohio EPA Office of Environmental Education, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049, or by fax to (614) 728-1275 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Comments received by March 30 will be included in the official record.