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Environmental Education (EE) Grants Program

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, LEAs, and
IHEs for Environmental Education Activities

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Deadline Date:

04/11/18 11:59 PM ET


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Grants starting at $50,000 to USA and territories nonprofit organizations, government agencies, local education agencies, and IHEs to support environmental education activities. Applicants are advised that registration required to apply may take up to one month to complete. Projects should foster public knowledge and awareness regarding conservation and environmental issues. Additionally, projects should provide the skills that participants need to make informed decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment.


Under this solicitation, EPA is seeking grant proposals from eligible applicants to support locally-focused environmental education projects that promote environmental and conservation stewardship and help develop knowledgeable and responsible students, teachers, and citizens. This grant program provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques, as described in this notice, that will serve to increase environmental literacy and encourage behavior that will benefit the environment in the local community(ies) in which they are located.

EPA receives a large number of grant proposals under this program and can fund just a small percentage of those proposals received. To ensure that grant proposals are competitive, applicants should carefully read Sections IV and V regarding how to structure a proposal and what criteria will be used to evaluate proposals.

EPA seeks to fund a variety of projects in each competition cycle in order to support a range of educational and environmental priorities, geographic areas, and audiences, especially as compared to the pool of previously funded projects. In addition, applicants must demonstrate that their proposal is for a project for which they (the applicant) have not been previously awarded a grant by EPA’s EE program and a statement to this effect must be included in the Project Summary; or the applicant must demonstrate that they are expanding, building on, enhancing or otherwise modifying a project previously funded by EPA’s EE Grant Program.

Goal and Definitions:

(1) Goal

The goal of this solicitation is to fund locally-focused EE projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques, as described in this notice. EPA will provide financial support for projects that promote environmental and conservation stewardship and help develop informed, knowledgeable and responsible citizens in the community(ies) in which the project is located.

(2) Definition of Environmental Education (EE)

EE is defined in the Act as: “educational activities and training activities involving elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students, as such terms are defined in the State in which they reside, and environmental education personnel, but does not include technical training activities directed toward environmental management professionals or activities primarily directed toward the support of non-educational research and development.” The Act also states that “The Office of Environmental Education development and the widest possible dissemination of model curricula, educational materials, and training programs for elementary and secondary students and other interested groups, including senior Americans.”

EPA further clarifies that environmental and conservation information and outreach may be important elements of EE projects, but these activities by themselves are not EE. By itself, environmental or conservation information only addresses awareness and knowledge, usually about a particular environmental or conservation issue. Outreach involves information dissemination and requests or suggestions for action on a particular issue (often without the critical thinking, problem solving and decision making steps in between). EE teaches individuals how to weigh various sides of an issue through critical thinking, problem solving and decision making skills on environmental and conservation topics. EE is a continuum that covers the range of steps and activities from awareness to action with an ultimate goal of environmental and conservation stewardship.

EE increases public awareness and knowledge about environmental and conservation issues and provides the participants in its programs the skills necessary to make informed decisions and to take responsible actions. EE is based on objective and scientifically-sound information and does not advocate a particular viewpoint or a particular course of action. EE involves lifelong learning; its audiences are of all age groups, from very young children through senior citizens. EE can include both outdoor and in-classroom education, in both formal and non-formal settings.

Educational and Environmental Priorities:

In order to be eligible, all proposals must:
(1) address at least one of the EPA educational priorities listed below,
(2) address at least one of the EPA Administrator’s environmental priorities listed below; and, (3) satisfy the definition of “environmental education” as defined under Section I(B) as discussed above.

The educational and environmental priorities listed below are not in order of importance or preference. Proposals may address more than one priority in each category, but if more than one priority is addressed, then it is important that the proposal is clear which priority in each category (educational and environmental) is the focus of the project and why that focus was chosen for the proposed project. EPA seeks to fund a balance of projects in this competition cycle in order to support as even a distribution of educational priorities as possible, as well as a variety of geographic areas and audiences in both educational and environmental priority categories.

In addition, these priorities focus on environmental and conservation challenges that require a population that is diverse, informed, environmentally literate, as well as willing and able to translate their knowledge and skills into decisions and actions that protect the environment and conserve natural resources in every community, including but not limited to minority, low income, rural, and tribal communities. The EPA encourages proposals that reach out to a variety of communities, especially those that are or more likely to have been affected adversely (e.g., higher rates of medical problems due to environmental factors) by environmental risks or conservation issues than other communities.

EPA’s Educational Priorities:

Proposals must address at least one of these Educational Priorities to be considered eligible.

1. Agricultural Education: Educating students of any age group and/or training their educators or community leaders on how to teach, in formal and non-formal settings, about environmental issues affecting agriculture in urban, suburban and rural communities -- in such areas as integrated pest management, nutrient management, integrated vegetation management, and air, soil and water quality issues-- and how to find creative solutions to such issues.

2. Community Projects: Increasing public understanding of the benefits of and participation in environmental and conservation stewardship through community collaboration on water and soil quality issues, food waste management, increase of locally sourced food in farm to table systems, management of ecosystem health and/or local fire or flood prevention and fire, flood or hurricane preparedness as related to human health and environmental protection. Projects can take place in rural, suburban and urban settings, in a local formal or non-formal educational context, and use outdoor, place-based, experiential, service learning and/or community-focused stewardship activities as the primary teaching tool(s).

3. Career Development: Educating students of any age group and/or training their educators or community leaders on how to teach, in formal and non-formal settings, about environmental and conservation issues, solutions and stewardship for the purpose of encouraging interest in careers in environmental fields, including conservation, natural resources, chemical safety, and water and air quality management fields.

A note on training educators:
EPA has previously funded various projects focused on the skills needed to be an effective environmental educator. A resource developed by one of these projects, Guidelines for the Preparation and Professional Development of Environmental Educators, is intended to guide other projects that address EE teaching skills.

EPA’s Environmental Priorities:

Proposals must address at least one of the Administrator’s Environmental Priorities to be considered eligible. From the list below, select at least one numbered priority. Then specify a topic under the priority that the proposal will address. Note that for illustrative purposes only, samples of topics are listed under each priority below.

You may choose one of the sample topics or propose another topic relevant to your local area and consistent with the Administrator’s priorities and the Agency’s Strategic Plan.

1. Priority: Improving air quality to ensure Americans are living and working in areas that meet high air quality standards.

Sample Topic:
Work collaboratively to prevent future air quality issues by making appropriate preparations for the prevention of wild fires.

2. Priority: Ensuring clean and safe water by supporting clean drinking water, aquatic ecosystems, and recreational, economic and subsistence activities.

Sample Topics:
a. Work collaboratively to prevent future water quality and human health issues through appropriate management for flood and hurricane preparedness.
b. Work collaboratively to participate in the conservation of quality water resources.
c. Work collaboratively to manage nutrients in water systems by reducing the use of pesticides and/or nutrient run-off from soil, while maintaining both quality agricultural yields and minimal environmental harm.
d. Work collaboratively to manage the health of aquatic ecosystems to achieve the maximum in environmental and human health benefits and support recreational, economic, and subsistence activities.

3. Priority: Ensuring the safety of chemicals.

Sample topics:
a. Work collaboratively on Integrated Pest Management to achieve the most environmentally effective management of pests in the agricultural setting.
b. Work collaboratively on Integrated Vegetation Management issues for the maximum in environmental benefits; for example, for maintaining native species within public rights-of-way.

4. Priority: Increasing transparency, public participation, and collaboration with communities.

Sample topics:
a. Work collaboratively to educate school-aged children, their parents, and the community on food issues as related to environmental health issues; e.g., maintaining school gardens to teach about pesticide management and water conservation, or using farmers’ markets and farm to table systems to teach about the environmental benefits of local food supplies.
b. Work collaboratively to manage food waste for environmental benefits; e.g., the benefits of composting, reduction of waste going to landfills, etc.


Partnerships are not required. However, applicants are encouraged to work with partners to develop, design and implement proposed projects and will be evaluated on their plan to work with partners (or their plan to develop, design and implement the project without partners) under a criterion explained in Section V. Partners can be non-profits, colleges and universities, schools and school districts, tribal entities, state and local government agencies, federal agencies, and for-profit companies. Note, however, that federal agencies and for-profit companies cannot receive any of the grant funds awarded by EPA under this program and federal funds cannot be used as match.

Partnerships can strengthen recruitment plans by increasing potential numbers and diversity of audiences, can increase the variety of and accessibility to expertise needed to conduct a successful project, and can assist in meeting the matching funds requirement. See Section III (B) for more information about the matching funds requirement. Note too that partnerships with for-profit companies are especially encouraged when they can help the applicant produce environmental results in their grant project that improve the quality of air, water, soil, and natural resources.

Linkage to EPA’s Strategic Plan and Expected Outputs and Outcomes:

The activities to be funded under this announcement are intended to further EPA’s current priority to increase transparency and public participation by listening to and collaborating with impacted stakeholders and providing effective platforms for public participation and meaningful engagement. In addition, because environmental education is an important non-regulatory tool the Agency uses to help meet its mission, the activities to be funded under this announcement are intended to further EPA’s current priorities for improving air quality, ensuring clean and safe water, and/or ensuring the safety of chemicals, as outlined in Section I.C. of this solicitation. Applicants must explain in their proposal how their project will further these current priorities.

EPA also requires that grant applicants adequately describe environmental outputs and outcomes to be achieved under assistance agreements. Applicants must include specific statements describing the environmental results of the proposed project in terms of well-defined outputs and, to the maximum extent practicable, well-defined outcomes that will demonstrate how the project will contribute to the priorities described above.

(2) Expected Outputs and Outcomes. Recipients of these grants will design, develop and implement locally-focused educational projects that encourage behavior beneficial to the environment and our natural resources through non-regulatory means while raising public awareness of actions that can be taken to promote environmental and conservation stewardship. The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. As such, the proposal should demonstrate how the project will result in both educational and environmental outputs and outcomes.

During the evaluation process for proposals, EPA will determine if each work plan contains well-defined educational and environmental outputs and outcomes, adequately describes the applicant’s plan and approach for tracking and measuring progress towards achieving the outputs and outcomes, and clearly explains how the applicant will achieve the expected outputs and outcomes. Proposed outputs and short-term outcomes must be completed and be reported to EPA within the project period. Progress should at least begin on medium-term or long-term outcomes during the project period.

Note that separate solicitations will be issued from each of the 10 EPA Regional Offices, and selections and awards will be made in each respective Region:

-EPA Region 1: CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
-EPA Region 2: NJ, NY, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
-EPA Region 3: DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, WV
-EPA Region 4: AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN
-EPA Region 5: IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI
-EPA Region 6: AR, LA, NM, OK, TX
-EPA Region 7: IA, KS, MO, NE
-EPA Region 8: CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY
-EPA Region 9: AZ, CA, HI, NV, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands
-EPA Region 10: AK, ID, OR, WA

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 150553

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

EPA expects to award three or four grants from each of the EPA’s 10 Regional Offices under the Fiscal Year 2018 Environmental Education Local Grants Program, for a total of approximately 30 to 35 grants nationwide.

Estimated Size of Grant:

The award amount for each of these grants will be no less than $50,000, and no more than $100,000 in federal funds.

Term of Contract:

Proposals should plan for projects to start no earlier than September 1, 2018. Project periods should be proposed for one or two years or any time period between one and two years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Any local education agency, college or university, state education or environmental agency, nonprofit organization as described in Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or a noncommercial educational broadcasting entity as defined and licensed by Federal Communications Commission may submit a proposal.

Applicant organizations must be located in the United States or territories, and the majority of the educational activities must take place in the United States; or in the United States and Canada or Mexico; or in U.S. Territories. A teacher’s school district, a nonprofit organization of which an educator or other individual is a member, or a faculty member’s college or university may apply, but an individual, a teacher or a faculty member may not apply on his/her own. Eligibility requirements apply to both “prime” recipients and sub-grantees. “Tribal education agencies” that are eligible to apply include a school or community college which is controlled by an Indian tribe, band, or nation, which is recognized as eligible for special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians and which is not administered by the Bureau of Indian Education. Tribal organizations do not qualify unless they meet those criteria or the non-profit criteria listed above and below.

For-profit organizations are not eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. Additionally, nonprofit organizations described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying activities as defined in Section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 are not eligible to apply.

Ineligible Activities:

If a proposal is submitted that includes any ineligible tasks or activities, that portion of the proposal will be ineligible for funding and may, depending on the extent to which it affects the proposal, render the entire proposal ineligible for funding. Activities and tasks ineligible for funding in the EE Grants Program include:
(1) Technical training of environmental management professionals;
(2) Environmental “information” and/or “outreach” projects that have no additional educational component, as described in Section I (B)(3);
(3) Advocacy promoting a particular point of view or course of action;
(4) Lobbying or political activities as defined in 2 CFR Part 200.450;
(5) Non-educational research and development; or
(6) Construction projects–EPA will not fund construction activities such as the acquisition of real property (e.g., buildings) or the construction or modification of any building.

Pre-Application Information:

Applicants must demonstrate how they will provide non-federal matching funds of at least 25% of the total cost of the project.

The RFPs, originally issued in January, have been modified in order to expand the scope of the environmental issues that can be addressed. The updated RFPs for the 2018 Local Grant Program are posted by Region. To provide applicants with time to modify their proposals in light of the new amendments, EPA has extended the deadline until April 11, 2018.

The closing date and time for receipt of proposal submissions is April 11, 2018, 11:59 PM Eastern Time (ET) in order to be considered for funding.

Proposal packages must be submitted electronically through the website.

Please note that the registration process requires that your organization have a DUNS number and a current registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) and the process of obtaining both could take a month or more. Applicants must ensure that all registration requirements are met in order to apply for this opportunity through and should ensure that all such requirements have been met well in advance of the submission deadline.

To access the entry for your region, enter the appropriate Funding Opportunity Number for your region:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Office of Environmental Education at EPA Headquarters:
Karen Scott

Region 1 Contact:
Kristen Conroy

Region 2 Contact:
Jennifer May-Reddy

Region 3 Contact:
Kathy Kirkland

Region 4 Contact:
Jason McDonald

Region 5 Contact:
Megan Gavin

Region 6 Contact:
Paula Flores-Gregg

Region 7 Contact:
Emily Albano

Region 8 Contact:
Wendy Dew

Region 9 Contact:
Eric Canteenwala

Region 10 Contact:
Sally Hanft

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:

Region 1: EPA-EE-18-01 / Region 2: EPA-EE-18-02 / Region 3: EPA-EE-18-03 / Region 4: EPA-EE-18-04 / Region 5: EPA-EE-18-05 / Region 6: EPA-EE-18-06 / Region 7: EPA-EE-18-07 / Region 8: EPA-EE-18-08 / Region 9: EPA-EE-18-09 / Region 10: EPA-EE-18-10

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)