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Mini-Grants Enrich Bay ­Environmental Education

Now’s the time to plan your project

Seeing, hearing and touching is believing.    
    To put K-12 students in touch with Chesapeake Bay and its connected streams and rivers, another $525,000 has been added to the Environmental Education Mini Grant Program. The money comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chesapeake Bay Office and from Chesapeake Bay Trust, which is supported by your tax-time Bay Fund check-offs and Treasure the Chesapeake license plates
    “Getting young people in the field, letting them hold a crab or a fish in their hands and understand the connections we have to the ecosystem those critters live in. That really brings it home for them,” says
NOAA’s Peyton Robertson.
    Grants of up to $5,000 help schools and nonprofits enrich environmental education for grades K-12. This year the program expands from Maryland and Washington, D.C., to the other Bay states: Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. 
The grants can also be used for environmental education for teachers professional development.
    Many projects unite field trips and streamside testing and restoration with classroom education.
    “The students come back and reflect on the so what? of their field experience,” Robertson says. “That is, what do I need to think about in terms of actions I take and decisions I make every day that might affect what I saw?”
    Now’s the time to plan your project. Application for this round of grants runs through Jan. 12, 2013: