WEST CHESTER (May 1) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that four Chester County organizations will receive a total of $ 17,873 in state Environmental Education Grants.

“These grants will be used to develop hands-on environmental education programs and community workshops,” Dinniman said. “It is crucial that we prepare the next generation of Pennsylvanians to value and safeguard the pristine waterways, lush open spaces and precious natural treasures that make our townships and boroughs such great places to call home.”earth-661447_1280

The grants, which come through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), are funded by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which sets aside 5 percent of the pollution fines and penalties collected annually for environmental education.

The grants and projects in Chester County are as follows:

  • The Coatesville Area Arts Alliance will receive $895 for the Learn to Love Organic Gardening program. The alliance will hold three one-hour sessions at the Chester County Library to outline the holistic approaches to growing food without synthetic poisonous chemicals.
  • The Green Valleys Association (GVA) will receive $2,019 for Explore Your Watershed Week. In July 2015, up to 50 campers in grades one through seven will have an opportunity to participate in a watershed-themed week of GVA’s summer nature day camp. In addition to teaching children to protect regional waterways, the camp aims to create awareness of local watersheds’ aquatic wildlife, water pollution and its effects on land and water ecosystems. Through outdoor and nature education-based activities, students will also hone their academic skills in Ecology, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
  • The Green Valleys Association will receive $2,987 for the Explore Your Watershed Environmental Awareness Club at Phoenixville Area Middle School. Beginning in the spring of 2016, the club will engage students in activities at different watershed sites. The activities, which focus on water pollution indicators, water use and advocacy opportunities, will incorporate Pennsylvania academic standards for Science and Technology, Engineering and Ecology.
  • The Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County will receive $3,000 for Open Hive Days, a monthly program that provides an inside look at the world of honey bees. The program, which is open to all ages, is led by a professional beekeeper at the conservancy’s four-hive apiary.
  • The Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County will receive $3,000 for the Free Time Adventures in Nature program, which enables children to explore the natural world with hands-on activities like birding, nature hikes, watershed exploration, natural crafts and fort building. The three-week program will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the 300-acre Bucktoe Creek Preserve.
  • The Urban and Rural Science Alliance will receive $2,990 for the ExerScience Initiative, a hands-on integrated environmental, materials science, engineering and Physical Education exploration project. Under the program, intermediate level students participating in seasonal walking clubs have an opportunity to generate harnessable electricity from walking and to work collaboratively with high school students in designed their own prototype Piezo Electric generator shoe insert.
  • The Urban and Rural Science Alliance will receive $2,982 for the SunBiosis Initiative and Demonstration Project, a collaborative endeavor that integrates life science and physical science with emerging sustainable technology (transparent solar panels) in context of project-based community service learning, micro-agriculture, leadership and intergenerational citizen environmental research.

The seven grants are part of $304,137 in total environmental education funding to be distributed to 110 schools, universities, nonprofit organizations and conservation districts across Pennsylvania.

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