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Tuesday, March 26 , 2019, 2:21 pm | Partly Cloudy 63º


Rep. Lois Capps: NOAA Awards Grants to Six Local Organizations

Schools and nonprofits in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties receive funding to support environmental education

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded six grants totaling more than $400,000 to schools, teachers and nonprofit groups in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties to support local environmental education projects.

The grants are part of NOAA’s California Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program and will support standards-based, hands-on education activities that promote greater understanding about the ocean and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Capps has been a longtime supporter of the B-WET program, authoring legislation that was recently passed by the House National Resources Committee that would formalize and expand the Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Regional Program and National Literacy Grant Program.

Capps also helped secure more than $2 million for California B-WET in the fiscal year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which was used to fund the grants.

“This is wonderful news and one more reason to be thankful as we enter this holiday season,” Capps said. “It’s difficult in this time of devastating budget cuts to find the resources to support even the best educational programs. But this critical funding will help ensure that our local schools, teachers and nonprofit organizations have the financial tools at their disposal to keep providing our students with this excellent environmental education.”

Local schools and nonprofit organizations, many serving underrepresented students and communities, received funding. In addition, the projects will provide related professional development to teachers.

The six grantees from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties are:

» Art from Scrap ($60,000): Students from 20 fourth- through sixth-grade classes will learn about local watersheds and how various human activities can impact creeks, estuaries, the ocean and the Channel Islands. Lessons are conducted at school sites, the Watershed Resource Center at Arroyo Burro Beach, and at creek sites.

» Oak Grove School ($60,000): Every public school in the Ventura River watershed will participate in restoration and stewardship activities of historic wetlands located throughout the Santa Barbara area.

» Ventura County Office of Education ($73,018): Students will interact with researchers working in and around Channel Islands National Park and National Marine Sanctuary, and monitor and gather data on the local environment.

» University of California ($61,505): Funding will support the Research and Education for Students and Teachers Supporting the Ormond Beach Restoration (RESTOR) Project. The project will provide 15 Ventura County teachers with professional development in environmental education. Teachers will learn about their local watershed, collect base-line scientific data, teach students using the provided curricula, and train them in effective water quality monitoring.

» California Department of Education ($90,126): Funding will support teacher professional development, with the goal of establishing a Schoolyard Habitat Program in the Santa Barbara Channel Watershed and a Schoolyard Habitat Coordinator position. The Schoolyard Habitat coordinator position will be established to work with public school teachers in Santa Barbara Channel area, providing professional development in the area of environmental education with an emphasis on linking meaningful watershed education to schoolyards.

» Channel Islands Marine Resource Institute ($60,000): Funding will support the Building the Marine and Environmental Scientists of Tomorrow (MERITO Academy II). The MERITO Academy II is expected to support meaningful watershed and ocean classroom and field experiences for 1,350 multicultural and underrepresented fourth- through seventh-grade students residing in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties by providing educational content, financial support, materials and technical knowledge. Students will participate in a minimum of three watershed and coastal restoration or monitoring experiences depending on their grade level, while meeting California Standards in the areas of science, language arts, math, visual arts and English language development.

— Emily Kryder is the communications director for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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