Commerce Secretary Gutierrez Announces $1.3 Million in Education Grants to the Gulf of Mexico

October 8, 2008

Students unloading seedlings at a Louisiana State University Coastal Roots Program restoration site.
Students unloading seedlings at a Louisiana State University Coastal Roots Program restoration site.

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The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced $1.3 million in NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grants to five Gulf of Mexico recipients.

 “This $1.3 million investment will help enhance and expand locally relevant, hands-on environmental education for K-12 in the Gulf of Mexico region,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez said. “I hope these grants help inspire today's children to take an interest in protecting and managing oceans and watersheds, which are vital resources for our nation.”

Funding has been awarded to:          

2008 is the first year that funding has been available for B-WET grants in the Gulf of Mexico, New England and Pacific Northwest. Previously, the program has funded successful projects in Chesapeake Bay, California and Hawaii. Projects are selected through a rigorous competitive process.

NOAA’s B-WET Program partners with awardees to provide environmental education for students as well as related professional development for educators. These meaningful watershed educational experiences combine classroom learning with firsthand experience to connect students with their watershed, reinforce an ethic of responsible citizenship, and promote academic achievement.

"The B-WET Program is at the core of meeting NOAA's education mandate," said NOAA Director of Education Louisa Koch. "Providing high quality programs that connect learning in the classroom to what is happening in the world outside is a key part of getting kids excited about science and understanding how we interact with the environment."

All B-WET-funded projects emphasize sustained, hands-on, environmental activities that are aligned with academic learning standards. The program supports regional education and environmental priorities through local implementation.

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.