EPA Funds What? Junk Education

Published October 1, 1999

The Environmental Protection Agency’s education grants are relatively small, by federal government standards, often just a few thousand dollars each. That may be why they usually slip below the radar screen of most observers on Capitol Hill and around the country.

In case you were wondering what your tax dollars are paying for, here are a few last year’s 254 EPA education grants, described in official agency-speak:

Montana to Oaxaca: Migratory Bird Education Exchange

$4,825 to Five Valleys Audubon Society, Missoula, Montana. “This project educates fourth and fifth grade teachers to develop an international sister school program with students and teachers in Oaxaca City, Mexico. Teachers and students participate in a cross-cultural study of neotropical migratory birds that breed in Montana and migrate to Oaxaca.”

Design, Plant, and Monitor a Campus Butterfly Garden

$1,320 to the Vanguard School, Paoli, Pennsylvania. “The Vanguard School’s science department and Junior Achievement Club, in cooperation with Valley Forge National Park and the NOVA Society of Lockheed Martin Corporation, design, plant, and monitor a campus butterfly garden.”

Boat-based Environmental Education Project

$5,000 to Headwaters to Ocean, Portland, Oregon. “Boat-based education on the Columbia/Willamette Rivers is an innovative program that fosters a broad-based community stewardship program through hands-on experiences involving boats.”

Science Education for Public Understanding Program Fellows Institute for Northeast Ohio (SEPUP)

$5,000 to Keep Akron Beautiful, Akron Ohio. “SEPUP is a comprehensive, 12-module unit, through which teachers learn to teach science in the context of societal issues.”

Coalition for Conservation and Environmental Education

$6,150 to Gateway to Science Center, Bismarck, North Dakota. “Under this project, conferences are held for educators at the kindergarten through grade 12 levels in North Dakota, especially those educators in home school and Native American Programs. Sessions address education reform and the development of community action projects.”

Natural Resources Inventory

$5,000 to the County of Westchester, White Plains, New York. “This project facilitates the development and updating of natural resource inventories in Westchester County communities.” [Among the wealthiest in the country — Editor]

Environmental Journalism

$5,000 to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. “. . . provides a handbook and fact sheet for high school writing teachers with the information they need to incorporate environmental journalism into their curricula.”

The Re-Bicycle Project

$4,820 to the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan. “The Ecology Center of Ann Arbor provides a summer program for young people through which participants learn to repair used bicycles.”

Training for Automotive Education Instructors

$5,000 to Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repairs. “The goal of this grant is to provide in-service training to secondary, post secondary, and industry instructors who then train automotive shop owners and technicians.”

Cooperative Study of a Reclaimed Northwest Iowa’s Accretion Wetland

$18,886 to Akron-Westfield Community Schools, Akron, Iowa. “The project is designed for 60 students (grades 9 through 12) and four staff members who meet on two Saturdays a month for three-hour sessions. The group goes into the wetlands in the flood plain of the Big Sioux River next to the school, where they gather data, take samples and record observations.”

Two-World View Environmental Education Project

$144,520 to the Nez Perce Tribal Foundation. “The Nez Perce Tribal Foundation, in partnership with the educational program of the Idaho Division of Environmental Quality, the University of Idaho, and high school teachers of the reservation, provides an environmental education curriculum that uses the Nez Perce Tribe’s wildlife and fish books as a foundation.”