Keep Maryland Beautiful Awards

March 17th, 2014 by Julie Walker

Students from the Greenmount School harvesting sunflower seeds to use for birdseed. The plants grew in garden beds funded by Keep Maryland Beautiful. Image from MD DNR web blog

The Keep Maryland Beautiful Program was established in 1967 as the first program administered by the Maryland Environmental Trust. Keep Maryland Beautiful Program is partially funded by the Maryland State Highway Administration and provides grants to non-profit organizations and schools to support environmental education and demonstration projects that enhance and maintain the environment.

Maryland Environmental Trust accepts applications annually for the following two categories: the Margaret Rosch Jones Awards and the Bill James Environmental Grants.

The Margaret Rosch Jones Award of up to $2,000.00 is awarded to non-profit groups or communities for an ongoing project or activity that has demonstrated success in solving an environmental issue, whether local or statewide. This award recognizes those organizations that have been actively educating people in their community about litter prevention, community beautification, or eliminating or reducing the causes of a local environmental problem.

The Bill James Environmental Grant of up to $1,000.00 is awarded to school groups, science and ecology clubs, and other nonprofit youth groups for proposed environmental education projects.

The objectives of the grants are to:

• Encourage a sense of stewardship and personal responsibility for the environment

• Stimulate a better understanding of environmental issues

• Aid in the elimination or reduction of a local environmental problem

• Encourage education about growth management protection of rural areas and sensitive resources while

discouraging sprawl development

For more information  of applying check out Maryland DNR website. Completed applications must be received by March 31, 2014.

Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators

January 20th, 2014 by Julie Walker

Past winners include Carolyn Ruos Thomas, a teacher at Wildwood Middle School in West Virginia, who "accidentally fell in love with brook trout" and ended up engaging her students in a Trout in the Classroom Program.

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Up to two teachers from each of EPA’s 10 regions, from different states, will be selected to receive this award. The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers this award to nationally honor, support and encourage educators who incorporate environmental education in their classrooms & teaching methods.

Teacher awardees will receive a commemorative plaque and an award of $2,000 to be used to further the recipient’s professional development in environmental education.  But that is not all – the teacher’s local education agency will also receive an award of $2,000 to fund environmental educational activities and programs of the teacher.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators, teachers must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Teach K-12 on a full-time basis in a public school that is operated by a local education agency1, including schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Hold a current teaching license from the state (or valid reciprocity from the state for a license from another state)
  • Have a minimum of 5 years of K-12 teaching experience, including at least 3 years of teaching environmental education and/or an environment-based curriculum
  • Anticipate a classroom teaching assignment involving environmental education for the upcoming school year
  • Be a citizen of the United States, its territories or possessions, or lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residency
  • Has not been a recipient of this award in the past 5 years

The deadline for submitting applications for the 2014 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators is February 28, 2014.

For complete details about this opportunity, please refer to the 2014 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators announcement.  You can also review the Application Requirements and Form and Frequently Asked Questions.

Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

Apply Now for NOAA’s Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Grant!

December 23rd, 2013 by Kevin

Students participating in Hartwick College's (NY) B-WET supported program collect and identify stream macroinvertebrates

K-12 programs that provide students with meaningful watershed educational experiences (MWEE) related to the Chesapeake Bay watershed and related teacher professional development, this one’s for you:  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now accepting applications for FY14 B-WET (Bay Watershed Education and Training) funding to support your program.

Proposals for FY14 funding must:

Be a systemic MWEE program that strives to reach the entire student and teacher population in one or more grades in an entire school system or recognized sub-unit of a school system;

OR

Incorporate Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences into K-12 Geographic Education.

If you’re interested, be sure to read the full NOAA Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity for details and requirements. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Eastern Time, January 29, 2014.

Contact B-WET Chesapeake Manager Kevin Schabow with any questions.

Kevin Schabow is an Education Specialist at NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Office.

Where to Start Your Path to a ‘Green School’

November 18th, 2013 by Kristin

Holy Trinity students stenciling storm drains. Image via Chesapeake Bay Trust.

Want to get your students engaged in their outdoor environment but aren’t sure how? Ever wanted to do a tree planting or create an outdoor classroom at your school but don’t know where to start? Consider applying for a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust!

The Chesapeake Bay Trust is the only non-profit grantmaking organization dedicated to environmental education and restoration in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. What does that mean? Essentially, we take the donations we receive and put them toward funding for projects related to restoration, community engagement, urban greening and environmental education. Last year, the Trust funded grants that engaged 59,547 students and 4,643 teachers and granted $505,693 for environmental field trips.

We have two grant programs that are designed specifically to help teachers find the funding they need to allow their students to have meaningful watershed experiences in the Chesapeake Bay, and now to help fulfill the new Environmental Literacy requirement. Our grant managers will even work with you to come up with a grant that fits your goals and curriculum.

Our Mini grants are the most popular for teachers to apply for, and grants have ranged from $100 to $5,000. Most of this funding is applied to individual class field trips or schoolyard habitat installations, and have included activities like native plantings and stormwater stenciling. The current round of mini grant applications are due January 10, 2014 by 5:00 pm.

We also have an Environmental Education grant which has three areas of focus. Environmental literacy, meaningful watershed experiences, and green schools are all funded by our education grants, and tend to be larger and are applied to whole schools or counties. Applications for these grants are due December 6, 2013 by 5:00 pm.

How are we able to do all of this? With help from people like you. We receive donations from the purchase of the Treasure the Chesapeake license plate, from the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species or “Line 35” on the Maryland state income tax form, partnerships with businesses and corporations, and from individual donors. We are proud to say that 90 cents of every dollar we receive go back into restoration and education for the Chesapeake Bay.

Contact one of our grant managers today to learn how you can bring environmental education to your school.

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Kristin Foringer is the Communications and Development Associate at the Chesapeake Bay Trust. She can be reached at 410-974-2941, ext. 113 or at kforinger@cbtrust.org. Kristin is also a former Environmental Management Staffer at the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Engage Your Students in STEM and Win Technology for Your School

October 21st, 2013 by Sarah Kozicki

Enter Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow Contest today!

Increasing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) knowledge and expanding STEM education and career opportunities for students is a national priority. Student achievement in STEM is key to fostering a new wave of innovators who can creatively address complex 21st century challenges.

Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow Contest is an excellent opportunity to engage students in STEM while applying to win a share of $2,000,000 in technology and prizes for your school.  Samsung is asking teachers to answer the challenge:  “Show how STEM can be applied to help your local community.” Up to 255 applicants will be chosen to create their vision for this program, and then 51 teachers will be chosen to have their classes create videos addressing the challenge. Fifteen schools will win technology packages estimated at $35,000 and be invited to pitch their ideas to an expert panel of judges. Five of those schools will win prize packages estimated at $140,000 for their school and be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington D.C.

Additionally, each applicant will be eligible for the Environmental Innovation Sustainability Award, in which schools can win an additional $50,000 in Samsung technology by applying STEM to an environmental challenge in their community.

The environment is a compelling context for teaching STEM as it provides teachers with a diverse range of real-world challenges that engage students in hands-on opportunities to apply and reinforce STEM concepts across multiple subject areas. Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow Contest is an opportunity for students to make a difference in their community by using technology to apply STEM to a real environmental challenge.

Learn more and apply for Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow Contest at: http://www.samsung.com/us/solvefortomorrow/home.html.

Application period ends October 31.

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Sarah Kozicki is an Education Program Coordinator for National Environmental Education Week.

Funding Fun: Fall 2013 Environmental Education Grants

August 12th, 2013 by Sarah

School gardens are just one example of the cool environmental education projects these grants could help support! Image via Captain Planet Foundation.

It’s that time of the year again: the summer is wrapping up and educators, parents, and students alike are all getting ready for the coming school year.  With lesson plans to create, classrooms to set-up, and new students to prepare for, this is a very busy time of year for educators.  As you get ready to go back to school this fall, be sure to keep grant opportunities in mind.  To save you some time and to help support your Chesapeake Bay watershed field studies, environmental education projects or school greening activities, we have assembled a list of grants with application deadlines in September and early October. Check them out below, and good luck with your applications!

Captain Planet Foundation Grants

These grants are intended serve as a catalyst to getting environment-based education in schools and inspire youth and communities to participate in community service through environmental stewardship activities. Funding will be awarded to non-profits, schools, and community-based environmental and educational organizations, and preferential consideration is given to requests seeking funding of $500 or less and to applicants who have secured at least 50% matching or in-kind funding for their projects. On occasion, grants of up to $2,500 may be awarded.  Application Deadline: September 30, 2013.

Green Thumb Challenge

The Green Education Foundation and Gardener’s Supply Company have teamed up on an exciting funding opportunity for established youth garden projects nationwide! The organizations are calling on schools and youth groups to submit chronicles of their garden projects in a race to win a $1,000 prize. The award is designed to support the continued sustainability of an exceptional youth garden program that has demonstrated success, and has impacted the lives of kids and their community. Application Deadline: September 30, 2013

Kids In Need Teacher Grants

Kids In Need Teacher Grants provide K-12 educators with funding to provide innovative learning opportunities for their students. The Kids In Need Foundation helps to engage students in the learning process by supporting our most creative and important educational resource — our nation’s teachers.  Teacher Grant awards range from $100 to $500 each and are used to finance creative classroom projects. Application Deadline: September 30, 2013.

Target Field Trip Grants

Learning opportunities extend far beyond the classroom. But schools are finding it more and more difficult to bring students to museums, historical sites and cultural organizations. Field Trip Grants help give children these unique, firsthand learning experiences. As part of the program, each Target store will award three Target Field Trip Grants to K—12 schools nationwide—enabling one in 25 schools throughout the U.S. to send a classroom on a field trip. Each grant is valued up to $700. Application Deadline: September 30, 2013.

Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund Advisory Committee Grants (Virginia Only)

The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Advisory Committee accepts grant applications to conduct Chesapeake Bay-related education and restoration activities.  Projects focusing on environmental education should increase public awareness and knowledge about the Bay, and projects of a restoration and conservation nature should be action oriented. This year $254,000 in grant monies, funded from the sale of the special Chesapeake Bay license plate, Friend of the Chesapeake, will be awarded in May-June 2014 to eligible applicants. Applications will be accepted from private non-profit conservation organizations, schools and universities, and governmental agencies whose projects will affect water bodies that are located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Application Deadline: October 1, 2013

Toshiba Grants for Grades K-5

Do you teach in an elementary school classroom? Do you have an idea for improving math or science instruction in your classroom?  K-5 grade teachers are invited to use Toshiba America Foundation’s short application form to describe a set of lessons or a hands-on project they would like to introduce in their own classrooms. Any K-5 teacher in a public or private (not-for-profit) school is eligible for a grant to support science or math education up to $1,000 for project materials only.  Application Deadline: October 1st, each year.

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Sarah Brzezinski a Chesapeake Conservancy Intern and serves as the manager of Bay Backpack. She is a former Chesapeake Research Consortium/Chesapeake Bay Program Fostering Stewardship Staffer.

Chesapeake Bay Trust Environmental Education Grants

July 22nd, 2013 by Kristin

With funds from a Chesapeake Bay Trust mini grant, these students were able to plant a rain garden.

Ahhh, summer vacation. A time for relaxing, laying by the pool, and for teachers, getting a much needed break from the classroom. But don’t completely disconnect just yet, because the Chesapeake Bay Trust has some opportunities you may want to start planning for during this upcoming school year. If you aren’t familiar, the Chesapeake Bay Trust is a non-profit grantmaking organization that gives funding to students, teachers and communities to help improve their environment and the Chesapeake Bay. These projects can range from outdoor field experiences with students, to rain garden planting, to the installation of living shorelines.

In 2011, 4,688 teachers used funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to teach their students about the environment and the Chesapeake Bay, sending 83,688 students on outdoor field experiences. Most of these projects were funded through our Environmental Education Mini grant that gives up to $5,000 to support Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEE) and teacher professional development in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. Recent projects in this grant program included raising trout in classrooms, sending students to NorthBay environmental camp, and student-led invasive species removal on school grounds. The next deadline for this grant is August 9 at 5pm, so make sure you check out these opportunities now!

With the new Maryland environmental literacy requirement in full swing, many school systems are turning to the Trust’s larger Environmental Education grant program to help fund environmental literacy programs in their schools. One of the Trust’s most recent grantees, Allegany County, saw life science and earth science test scores increase by 50 percent after implementing their literacy program! Environmental Education environmental literacy track grants can range from $30,000 to $50,000 for up to three years. Another opportunity in the Trust’s Environmental Education grant program is the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience track. This grant is designed to help fund organizations who are interested in providing outdoor field experience programs to students. Both tracks in the Environmental Education grant program are open to state and local agencies as well as 501(c)3 private non-profit organizations in Maryland. This grant program’s deadline is expected to be in late November 2013.

How are we able to do all of this? With help from people like you. The Chesapeake Bay Trust receives most of its funding from the purchase of the Maryland Treasure the Chesapeake license plate, or Bay plate. When you buy a Bay plate for just $20, you are helping to support environmental education, restoration and community engagement programs around Maryland. We are proud to say that 90% of all donations we receive go directly back into restoration and education for the Chesapeake Bay.

For more information on the Trust’s environmental education grant opportunities, please contact Kacey Wetzel, 410-974-2941, ext. 104 or Jamie Baxter, 410-974-2941, ext. 105.

Kristin Foringer is the Communications and Development Associate at the Chesapeake Bay Trust. She can be reached at 410-974-2941, ext. 113 or at kforinger@cbtrust.org. Kristin is also a former Environmental Management Staffer at the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Funding Fun: Summer 2013 Environmental Education Grants

July 8th, 2013 by Sarah

More than 50 Lowe’s Heroes from 11 area stores devoted three days to help create a learning garden at Sope Creek Elementary in Marietta, Ga. Funded by a $5,000 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education® grant, the new outdoor environment includes a 3,600-square foot fruit and vegetable garden with a greenhouse that serves as an outdoor classroom year-round. Image via Lowes.

The school year may be over, but deadlines to support your fall environmental education activities, Chesapeake Bay field studies, and school greening activities are coming up!  To save you some time and to help support your innovative environmental education activities and projects, we have assembled a list of grants with application deadlines in July and August. Check them out below, and good luck with your applications!

Toshiba Grants for Grades 6-12

Do you teach 6-12 science or math? Do you have a wish list of instructional equipment that will make learning more exciting for your students? If the answer is yes to these questions, Toshiba America Foundation would like to hear from you. Grade 6-12 grant applications for $5,000 or less are accepted on a rolling basis, throughout the calendar year. Grants requests of more than $5,000 are reviewed twice a year. Applications for grants of more than $5,000 are due by August 1, 2013.

American Honda Foundation Grants

The goal of this grant program is to help meet the needs of American society in the areas of youth and scientific education by awarding grants to nonprofits, public school districts, or private/public elementary and secondary schools, while strategically assisting communities in deriving long-term benefits.  Funding Priorities are given to programs focused on youth education, specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the environment, job training and literacy.  The grant range is from $20,000 to $75,000 over a one-year period.  Applications are due by August 1, 2013.

K-12 Environmental Education Mini Grants

The Chesapeake Bay Trust Mini Grant Program supports activities such as Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEE), teacher professional development and programs to advance environmental literacy in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams.  Public and independent primary, intermediate, and secondary schools, non-profit organizations, and more from DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, and WV are invited to apply for up to $5,000 for funding.  Applications are due by August 9, 2013.

Kids In Need Teacher Grants

Kids In Need Teacher Grants provide K-12 educators with funding to provide innovative learning opportunities for their students. The Kids In Need Foundation helps to engage students in the learning process by supporting our most creative and important educational resource — our nation’s teachers.  Teacher Grant awards range from $100 to $500 each and are used to finance creative classroom projects. The 2013 Kids In Need Teacher Grant applications will be available by July 15, 2013 and are due by September 30, 2013.

Target Field Trip Grants

Learning opportunities extend far beyond the classroom. But schools are finding it more and more difficult to bring students to museums, historical sites and cultural organizations. Field Trip Grants help give children these unique, firsthand learning experiences. As part of the program, each Target store will award three Target Field Trip Grants to K—12 schools nationwide—enabling one in 25 schools throughout the U.S. to send a classroom on a field trip. Each grant is valued up to $700. Grant applications will be available by August 1, 2013 and are due by September 30, 2013.

Lowes Toolbox for Education Grants

This grant program provides individual public K-12 school or non-profit parent group associated with a public K-12 school with financial tools to help improve their children’s schools.  Projects should fall into one of the following categories: technology upgrades, tools for STEM programs, facility renovations and safety improvements. Grant requests can range from $2,000 to $100,000. A large majority of grants will be given in the $2,000 to $5,000 range. Most larger projects fall between $10,000 and $25,000. Critical need projects over $25,000 will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Grant applications will be available by July 15, 2013 and are due by October 15, 2013.

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Sarah Brzezinski a Chesapeake Conservancy Intern and serves as the manager of Bay Backpack. She is a former Chesapeake Research Consortium/Chesapeake Bay Program Fostering Stewardship Staffer.

Funding Fun: May & June 2013 Environmental Education Grants

April 22nd, 2013 by Sarah

Shadia Fayne Wood, Brower Youth Awards winner '04, presents Jacob Glass with his award. Image: Earth Island Institute

Finding funding to support environmental education can be a real challenge and identifying applicable grants can be a hassle. To help you kick-start the process of getting your classroom project off the ground, we here at Bay Backpack have identified some great grant opportunities that are about to fly by. Some of these grants are not directly related to environmental or Chesapeake Bay education, but all could be used to support it. Be sure to note the submission deadlines, and good luck with your applications!

BGE Green Grants

BGE Green Grants of between $500-$10,000 are now being offered to local communities within the BGE service area.  Applicant’s must be a 501c3 non-profit with a Board of Directors, and will be considered for new and existing programs that fall within the Environmental Focus Areas (conservation, education, energy efficiency, pollution prevention and community activism) as well as requests for funding that clearly demonstrates improvement in environmental efforts of the community. Applications are due by May 10, 2013.

Brower Youth Awards for Environmental Leadership

The Earth Island Institute established The Brower Youth Award for Environmental Leadership to recognize the outstanding leadership efforts of young people who are working for the protection of our shared planet.  Each of the six recipients of the Brower Youth Awards will receive a $3,000 cash prize, a professionally produced short film about their work, and flight and lodging accommodations for a week-long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. Applications are due by May 13, 2013 by 9:00 p.m. Pacific time

Stream Restoration Challenge

The Stream Restoration Challenge is once again accepting applications for projects that enhance or establish forested stream buffers while creating service learning and environmental literacy activities for students.  With $4 million dollars available, the State of Maryland will add to the 364 acres of buffer funded from the first solicitation and the 13,300 Maryland students that will already be actively engaged.  All proposals are due by Thursday May 30, 2013 at 5pm.

Learning & Leadership Grants

The NEA Foundation’s Learning & Leadership grants support public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes: (1) Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences, such as summer institutes or action research; or (2) Grants to groups fund collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff new to an assignment. The grant amount is $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups engaged in collegial study. All professional development must improve practice, curriculum, and student achievement. Applications are due by June 1, 2013.

Student Achievement Grants

The NEA Foundation provides grants to improve the academic achievement of students in U.S. public schools and public higher education institutions in any subject area(s). The proposed work should engage students in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen their knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work should also improve students’ habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection. Grant requests can be submitted for $2,000 and $5,000. Applications are due by June 1, 2013.

K-12 Environmental Education Mini Grants

The Chesapeake Bay Trust Mini Grant Program supports activities such as Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEE), teacher professional development and programs to advance environmental literacy in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams.  Non-profit organizations, community associations, faith-based organizations and more in the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia can apply for funding of up to $5,000.  Applications are due by June 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

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Sarah Brzezinski a Chesapeake Conservancy Intern and serves as the manager of Bay Backpack. She is a former Chesapeake Research Consortium/Chesapeake Bay Program Fostering Stewardship Staffer.

Are You and Your Students Ready for the Stream Restoration Challenge?

April 15th, 2013 by Gabe Cohee

Engage youth in environmental service learning and restoration activities!

The Stream Restoration Challenge will get kids outdoors.

The Stream Restoration Challenge is once again accepting applications for projects that enhance or establish forested stream buffers while creating service learning and environmental literacy activities for students.

With $4 million dollars available, the State of Maryland will add to the 364 acres of buffer funded from the first solicitation and the 13,300 Maryland students that will already be actively engaged.

Projects funded through this program will not only enhance water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but will also educate and prepare the environmental stewards of tomorrow.  To date, the most successful projects have demonstrated strong collaboration between local governments, school systems, and watershed organizations to bring together technical skill, capacity, and academic rigor.

This funding is a wonderful opportunity for your school to actively involve students in all phases of a restoration project; from planning and site prep to monitoring and evaluation.  The projects will meet a number of Environmental Literacy Standards, namely Standard 1 which involves investigation and action (and is traditionally difficult to address).  Here are some great ideas for stream restoration and forest buffer lesson plans to help you start thinking about education connections.

To accept the challenge, visit the Challenge website, review the RFP, and begin to explore your project idea using the StreamHealth and Trust Fund Priority maps.  Regional Foresters are available to visit your potential sites and discuss planting plans and species selection. All proposals are due by Thursday May 30, 2013 at 5pm.

For further information, to discuss your idea, or to connect to potential partners, please contact Gabe Cohee (gcohee@dnr.state.md.us; 410.260.8753) at the Department of Natural Resources.

Also, make sure to join the conversation on Facebook!  You can access additional resources, ask questions, and collaborate with other applicants.

Gabe Cohee works for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Chesapeake & Coastal Service.
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