NOAA Awards Santa Barbara Area Environmental Education Grants - September 4, 2008

NOAA has announced the presentation of seven education grants totaling nearly $374,000 to Santa Barbara Channel area schools and non-profit groups. The grants, part of NOAA's Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program, will support environmental education projects focused on NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Funding was awarded to school districts and nonprofit organizations, many benefiting underprivileged students. Programs will take place in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and focus on two areas: meaningful watershed educational experiences for students; and professional development for educators. Several projects received funding up to $60,000.

Among the seven grantees are:

  • Oak Grove School (Ojai): Students from three schools learn about community stewardship through restoration activities such as soil sampling, invasive plant removal, seed collecting and native planting of the historic Ojai Meadows Preserve, located directly adjacent to the schools.
  • Ventura County Office of Education (Ventura County): Students explore a diverse marine environment through active participation in monitoring and data collection on their local Channel Islands and live interaction with researchers and scientists.
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara and Ventura counties): Teachers are provided with instruction on how to integrate watershed studies into their ongoing curricula, how to select watershed curriculum materials, and how to provide hands-on, inquiry-based field experiences to their students.

"This area is a natural learning laboratory to be used by our teachers to teach about the value of the coastal environment and the connection between land and sea," said Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Chris Mobley. "These grants will provide an opportunity for students to see, touch and learn about our national marine sanctuaries and the watersheds that lead to them."

The NOAA B-WET Program was established in 2002 to enhance environmental stewardship among students, teachers and communities through education. Recognizing that an educated community is the key to understanding and sustaining the nation's ocean and coastal environments, NOAA has developed B-WET programs across the United States.

NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries seeks to increase the public awareness of America's marine resources and maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument that together encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America's ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

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