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NOAA to Fund Environmental Literacy Efforts in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

September 13, 2022

NOAA is recommending $2.65 million for NOAA Chesapeake Bay-Watershed Education and Training projects that support student learning, teacher training, and more.

Four women crouch over a seine net in a shallow stream

NOAA has awarded 13 new projects roughly $1.4 million in Fiscal Year 2022 funding as part of the Chesapeake Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program. The new projects are based in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and New York.

Students and teachers around the Chesapeake Bay watershed will benefit from these outstanding programs. This year’s new grants support projects to help school districts deliver Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences. MWEEs combine outdoor and classroom learning to help students investigate local environmental issues. They lead to students taking informed action, increase school districts’ capacity to deliver environmental education, and support statewide environmental literacy initiatives.

In addition to the new grants, Chesapeake B-WET will also fund 14 continuing projects. They will enable nonprofit organizations and universities to partner with school districts to implement MWEEs that will reach more than 10,000 students and 500 teachers.

These projects all support elements in NOAA’s Strategic Plan, including increasing environmental literacy and encouraging individual planet stewardship actions. 

New Fiscal Year 2022 Projects


  • The National Career Technical Education Foundation’s “Developing a State Framework for Incorporating Environmental Literacy in Career Technical Education” project will feature Advance CTE partnering with the Delaware Department of Education and Delaware Environmental Literacy Community of Practice to develop an environmental literacy framework.


  • The Paleontological Research Institution’s “A Watershed of Trees: A MWEE to Engage Students at the Intersection of Forest, Water, Climate, and Environmental Stewardship” will get Prince George’s County Public School System students outside in their own community to observe, record, monitor, and build understanding of the importance of water and climate on the quality of life in their communities, and to empower them to act on that understanding.
  • The Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education’s Maryland Environmental Literacy Advisory Network” will build the capacity and increase collaboration of existing state-wide environmental literacy networks to ensure all students in Maryland are environmentally literate upon graduation.


  • The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s “Pennsylvania Environmental Action Teams” will build and strengthen effective MWEEs into sustained and systemic student-led environmental action. This project will establish three local teams within Pennsylvania’s Capital Area Intermediate Unit service area, composed of teachers and community members who will collaborate on building and maintaining successful and full MWEEs.
  • The BLaST Intermediate Unit #17’s “Get ‘OUTSIDEE’ (Ongoing Understanding through Science Inquiry and Diverse Environmental Experiences)” project will strengthen community partnerships, build awareness around environmental needs and local support, and build a consistent systemic approach to hands-on student experiences in science.
  • The Central Columbia School District’s “Environmental Literacy Plan for Capacity Building and Curriculum Programming” will build capacity and enhance the school district’s ability to offer high-impact environmental literacy programming for students, teachers, and the surrounding community.
  • Gettysburg College’s “Partnership for Adams County Environmental Literacy (PACE)” will establish an environmental education community of practice that will build, implement, and sustain an environmental literacy plan for Adams County K-12 schools.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Stroud Water Research Center, Inc., and Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program will team up to implement “Building Sustainable and Equitable Capacity Support Systems toward Environmental Literacy for All K-12 Audiences across Pennsylvania,” which will establish and refine regional hubs and liaisons, along with the standardized processes and resources to distribute environmental literacy and MWEE professional development.


  • Friends of the Rappahannock’s “River History and Watershed Science: A Community-Based Approach to MWEEs” project will implement sustainable MWEE programs in Fredericksburg (Virginia) City Schools, within the Rappahannock River watershed.
  • Virginia Commonwealth University’s “Petersburg Environmental Activities and Regional Learning (PEARL)” project will provide transformational learning for educators about watershed education in the Petersburg City (Virginia) Public Schools district, which is located along the Appomattox River in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
  • The York (Virginia) County School Division’s “Fostering Bay Stewardship by Building Capacity to Lead Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs)” project will increase academic performance in science by enhancing teachers’ professional knowledge and immersing students in authentic learning experiences while focusing on stewardship of the local watershed. 
  • The Hanover-Caroline Soil and Water Conservation District’s “Building Capacity for Environmental Literacy in Virginia’s Middle Peninsula” project will use results from community engagement activities to create community networks and facilitate the formation of local workgroups serving as a backbone to support schools in Caroline, Essex, and Middlesex (Virginia) public school districts.
  • The Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Virginia Teachers Innovating and Designing Experiential Science (VA TIDES)—Phase 2” project will provide accessible, aligned resources for faculty at institutes of higher education to use in courses taught for pre-service teachers.

B-WET works with students directly and provides professional development to educators. The grants empower students to investigate local and global environmental issues that affect their lives, choices, and communities. Students identify actions to address these issues, helping them understand, protect, and restore their local watershed.

This is the 20th anniversary of NOAA’s B-WET program, which started in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Over the years, the program has grown from funding smaller projects in individual schools to supporting systemic programs. They ensure meaningful watershed educational experiences for all students in a given school district or even state.

Last updated by NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office on September 14, 2022