EPA Issues Taxpayer Money to ‘Enhance Environmental Education and Awareness’

By Susan Jones | July 14, 2010 | 11:12 AM EDT

(CNSNews.com) – The Environmental Protection Agency is handing out a total of $190,000 in grants to enhance environmental education and awareness in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio.

Some of the grants will benefit "underserved communities." One will promote "sustainable gardening." And others will promote "carbon sequestration," the process of reducing carbon dioxide levels by transferring CO2 from the atmosphere into the soil through various farming and forestry practices. 
“EPA is pleased to support innovative programs that help increase knowledge about environmental issues through hands-on training and also provide tangible benefits to communities,” EPA Regional Environmental Education Coordinator Megan Gavin in a news release on Tuesday.
The regional grants are given to nonprofit organizations, government agencies, community groups, tribes, schools and universities, as follows:
-- Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Ill.: $35,137 for Green and Growing, an educational program providing training, field trips, and project-based learning about sustainable gardening to the Monmouth community.
-- Lake County Solid Waste Management District, Merrillville, Ind.: $32,131 for Environmental Stewardship Begins at Home. The program provides workshops and special events on hazardous household waste disposal to several underserved urban communities in East Chicago, Hammond, and Whiting, Ind.
-- Michigan State University in East Lansing: $34,217 for an agriculture and climate-change initiative, which aims to increase awareness about soil carbon sequestration and agriculture’s role in climate change by working with field crop farmers and training MSU Extension educators.
-- Cleveland Botanical Garden in Ohio: $44,360 to expand the garden's Green Corps, which provides classroom teaching, field trips, and hands-on training on pollution prevention, energy efficiency, urban sustainability, and water and watershed protection to high school students from underserved Cleveland-area neighborhoods.
-- Regents of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis: $44,155 for its School Forest Carbon Sequestration Modeling Pilot, which will train Minnesota teachers to challenge high school students to explore and think about global climate change in a local context. Students will investigate current carbon sequestration in their school forest and apply what they learn to the environment beyond their school.
The EPA said it is awarding the funds under the 1990 National Environmental Education Act, which gives EPA the authority to support and create environmental education programs nationwide.