NOAA announces $5.5 million to support watershed education projects for K-12 students around the country

October 24, 2012

NOAA Office of Education’s Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program participants.

NOAA Office of Education’s Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program participants.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA.)

NOAA today announced the winners of its recent competition for education grants that will allow thousands of K-12 students around the country to get outside and participate in hands-on environmental education opportunities. A total of 59 projects will benefit from $5.5 million in grants from the NOAA Office of Education’s Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program that will support activities ranging from data driven field investigations in the Pacific Northwest to studies of storm water management and invasive species in the Great Lakes.

All recipients of B-WET grants emphasize meaningful watershed educational experiences — sustained, hands-on activities that are aligned with academic learning standards and responsive to regional education and environmental priorities. Some 2012 student activities include learning about currents and marine debris on the coast of Hawaii with the Malama Kai Foundation, participating in field investigations in the Gulf of Mexico with the University of Texas, and developing urban schoolyard habitats with the Living Classrooms Foundation in Chesapeake Bay.

“Field-based STEM education activities, like those funded by B-WET, are a critical part of NOAA’s education portfolio,” said Louisa Koch, director of education at NOAA. “There is growing evidence that these types of activities contribute to understanding and commitment to environmental conservation and stewardship, which is core to NOAA’s mission.”

B-WET also provides funding for formal K-12 educator training programs to help teachers incorporate meaningful watershed educational experiences, as well as NOAA data and other resources, into their classrooms. Teachers and education professionals involved with the B-WET Program are equipped with information they can share with their students and communities for many years to come.

B-WET currently serves seven areas of the country: California, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, New England, and the Pacific Northwest. This is the first year NOAA has made awards in the Great Lakes region, made possible by funds from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. New 2012 B-WET recipients, by region, are:

Chesapeake Bay:
Great Lakes:
Gulf of Mexico:
New England:
Pacific Northwest:

For more details about the 2012 B-WET awardees, please visit: or the regional program websites.

These new B-WET grants will reach an estimated 40,000 students and 4,000 teachers this year. New awards last from one to three years in duration and range in value from $10,000 to $420,000. Grantees were selected through a rigorous peer review process administered by a NOAA program office in their region. All B-WET applicants are encouraged to partner with local NOAA offices, and/or utilize local NOAA field sites and data where appropriate.

Congress established NOAA’s B-WET Program in 2002. Since that time NOAA has awarded more than $50 million to support more than 680 projects around the country. NOAA is currently accepting applications for new B-WET projects for the 2013 fiscal year. More information on NOAA’s Office of Education funding opportunities is avialable online.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at and join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.