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Warwick Valley Central School District secures $91,000 EPA grant for Environmental Education

on September 17, 2015

Sept. 17, 2015 – The Warwick Valley Central School District has been awarded a $91,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fund environmental education projects in the school district and the Warwick community.

According to the EPA, the agency receives a large number of grant proposals under this highly competitive program, and funds, on average, just two percent of those proposals received. The agency awards three Environmental Education grants from each of the EPA’s 10 Regional Offices, for a total of approximately 30 grants nationwide.

The Warwick school district is in EPA’s Region 2, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The district requested and will receive the maximum funding – $91,000 over two years.
Under the Environmental Education Grants Program, EPA seeks grant proposals that “support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment.”

“We are 100 percent committed to becoming a greener school district,” said Warwick’s Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Leach. In fact, the Board of Education recently approved official policy calling for the incorporation of sustainability concepts in the education of Warwick students and developing a program for recycling and reusing materials. “This grant from the EPA will help us successfully execute the board’s policy and realize the vision of becoming a truly green school district,” said Dr. Leach.

The district will use the grant funds mainly to integrate cross-curricular environmental instruction K-12. The plan, titled “The Envirocation Project,” will also address areas of environmental concern in its schools and the community through many activities, including:

• Improving recycling district-wide
• Initiating a food waste composting program
• Green architecture instruction
• Student field trips to LEED certified buildings in Orange County
• Outdoor environmental activities

While the Warwick Valley Central School District is the prime recipient of the grant, several local organizations will partner with the district, and receive a portion of the grant funds, to facilitate the grant activities. The partnering organizations are:

• Sustainable Warwick will help integrate local environmental issues into school curriculum and help the district plan recycling and composting programs
• Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF); will work with district teachers to write environmental curriculum units
• New York-New Jersey Trail Conference; will develop outdoor environmental activities for students
• Albert Wisner Public Library; will collaborate with Sustainable Warwick and the school district to develop a series of community workshops on topics such as energy conservation, climate change, composting and recycling
• Warwick Historical Society; will help plan student projects focused on developing green plans for improving and suggesting retrofits of local historical buildings
• Warwick Foundation for Excellence in Learning (WFEL); will develop a mini-grant program designed to help fund teacher/student initiatives related to environmentally-friendly community service activities

The Envirocation Project will increase environmental literacy and encourage behavior that benefits the local Warwick community. Through this grant, students and community members will become better stewards of the environment and gain deeper understanding of the importance of sustainability in our own community and across the globe.

“We are grateful to the EPA for this substantial grant award,” said James Yap, Warwick’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “These funds will allow us to develop new curriculum and raise awareness of the importance of environmental stewardship, civic responsibility and STEM education.”

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