NOAA's Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program funds locally relevant, authentic experiential learning for K-12 audiences through Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs). MWEEs are multi‐stage activities that include learning both outdoors and in the classroom and aim to increase understanding and stewardship of watersheds and related ocean, coastal, riverine, estuarine, and Great Lakes ecosystems.
New England B-WET focuses on the priorities and challenges facing New England watersheds by helping students and teachers apply scientific methods and tools to understand and appreciate their local watershed system. The New England region includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. B-WET encourages students to become more interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. By focusing on watersheds where they live and by participating in personally relevant stewardship projects, students and teachers can become knowledgeable stewards of their local environment.
Priority 1. Backyard B-WET in a Pandemic
During the pandemic, with masks and social distancing required and so much being experimental and innovative, Backyard B-WET may be reconfigured virtually, or realized individually with appropriate, small-scale facilitation and mentoring by educators. Restoration projects on school grounds, on land adjacent to schools, in the backyard or in the kitchen, or through walking field trips can still support the four essential elements of the MWEE, whether by Teacher MWEE Professional Development Training or in the Student MWEE itself or both. Successful Priority 1 projects may implement environmentally sustainable practices to improve the health of the school’s watershed, assure teacher confidence integrating the program into the classroom curriculum, offer authentic investigation and stewardship experiences for students in their own backyard or even in their home, or reduce energy and maintenance costs for schools (internal as well as external climate mitigation).
Priority 2. Second Glance: Capacity-Building for Sustainability
Priority 2 is available only to previous (prior to FY2017) New England B-WET grantees.
Historically, New England B-WET has asked for new innovative projects, not repeat performances. The disruptions to outdoor environmental education caused by the pandemic suggest that now is an appropriate time to assess what we have done in the past to address STEM requirements using the MWEE methodology, to see how B-WET projects have stood the test of time in a rapidly changing world, particularly within the context of a deepening pandemic.
Priority 2’s capacity-building focus has two key dimensions: (1) expanding the institutional partnership capabilities of the community, while supporting STEM, placed-based outdoor environmental education for K-12 and (2) supporting and improving upon prior B-WET investment. We are interested in identifying key differences in what worked in the earlier, pre-pandemic world of outdoor environmental education and what supports Teacher MWEE Professional Development Training, the Student MWEE, and participation of underserved populations and community-based partnerships, today.
Who Can Apply?
Eligible applicants are K-12 public and independent schools and school systems; institutions of higher education; community-based and non-profit organizations; state, county, local, or Indian tribal government agencies; and regional organizations. Individuals, federal agencies, for-profit organizations, foreign organizations, and foreign public entities are NOT eligible to apply. Federal employees can serve as uncompensated partners in a project. If you wish to partner with a NOAA employee, in your application you must provide a written agreement documenting the participation, including details of the NOAA employee’s involvement, signed by his or her supervisor. While applicants do not need to be located in New England, the work proposed must occur within this geographical region. NOAA is committed to broadening the participation of historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, and institutions that work in underserved areas. New England B-WET encourages applications from, or applications involving, any of the above categories of institutions.
How to Apply
The Notice of Funding Opportunity contains information needed to apply for a B-WET grant and includes information to assist applicants in aligning their project proposal to current program priorities. Applicants should read and follow the Notice of Funding Opportunity carefully.
To use Grants.gov, applicant must first complete the registration process with Grants.gov. This process can take two, or more, weeks. Detailed information on how to register can be found at the Grants.gov. Note that applicants must also be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM) and must have a DUNS number. Please allow time to complete these registrations prior to the application due date.
When to Apply
For 2021, the application period is February 16 to April 1. This federal funding opportunity opens every other year.