DEP Announces Funding for Youth and Adult Environmental Education Projects in Southwestern Pennsylvania

CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA: Lauren Camarda, [email protected]

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today awarded just over $1 million in 2022 Environmental Education Grant funding to 73 projects across the state, including 18 projects in the Southwest region.

“The Shapiro Administration is committed to providing practical solutions to the environmental and safety issues facing our communities due to climate change and water pollution,” he said. DEP Acting Secretary Rich Negrin. “Pennsylvanian environmental educators help provide these solutions. Through impactful work in the field, classroom, and neighborhood, they engage Pennsylvanians of all ages and backgrounds in projects that can have immediate local impacts.” and generate lasting environmental management”.

The Environmental Education Grants program prioritizes projects that involve youth or adults who live, work, or attend school in environmental justice areas. It also prioritizes projects that educate participants to develop practical solutions and take action to help their communities become more resilient to climate change or reduce water pollution to improve local water quality.

“83 percent of the funds in this grant support educational projects that will benefit environmental justice communities, as we continue to expand our work to help Pennsylvanians most at risk of pollution, hazards related to climate change, and other environmental impacts,” said Negrin.

Funds were awarded to schools and universities, environmental and community organizations, and county conservation districts for a variety of hands-on programs for students, community projects for adults, teacher training workshops, and more.

From a 100 percent hands-on outdoor science curriculum to adult workshops on household waste and its impact on the environment, 18 projects in Southwestern counties received a total of $278,468.

multiple counties

  • Pennsylvania Resource Council: $19,525 to run eight backyard composting workshops designed to reach 250 homes in Allegheny and Delaware counties. Participants will learn about minimizing waste at home and make connections between waste and broader issues like climate change, water pollution, soil health, and gardening. Participants will receive a compost bin and instructions.
  • blacksmiths guild: $25,815 to provide educational workshops that empower underserved youth in Cambria and Indiana counties with skills and knowledge to improve their lives and create lasting positive impacts on the environment. Students will work with professional instructors and mentors to become competent river surfers, paddlers, and waterway managers through activities that include tree planting, water sampling, stream biology, and whitewater stand-up paddle boarding. Through hands-on education in film and digital media, students will create videos about their experiences to inspire in others an appreciation for watersheds and the power of outdoor connections to enhance our personal lives and communities.


  • Allegheny County Conservation District: $4,999 to host field workshops for city managers to increase their knowledge of watersheds, watershed planning, and best management practices to remediate nonpoint source pollution and climate change impacts, such as localized flooding.
  • Chalfant Run/Thompson Run Watershed Association: $4,494 to hold four classroom workshops and four outdoor sessions for students in grades three through six. Content will address the causes of local water pollution, including trash, stormwater, and abandoned mine drainage, and explore solutions to improve water quality, such as stream restoration projects.
  • communitopia: Two grants: $29,995 for an institute that will prepare teachers in grades 7-12 to engage students in learning and practical local solutions to climate change and provide field trips for students, including STEM (science) learning stations , technology, engineering and mathematics) interactive on causes, effects and solutions of local climate change; $5,000 for workshops to train K-12 teachers in creative expression as an effective teaching strategy to explore climate change, sustainability, and environmental justice. Participants will learn how to initiate climate solutions on a small scale (home or classroom) or on a large scale (school, district or community) using creative expression.
  • Michael Brothers Hauling, Inc..: $4,540 to hold seven workshops led by industry experts and members of the environmental justice community on urban ecology issues. Workshop topics will include urban water infrastructure, composting, green building, vermiculture, permaculture, recycling and solar energy.
  • Pennsylvania Interfaith Light and Energy: $29,965 to engage 40 to 50 students through hands-on workshops and urban agriculture experiences. Students will increase their understanding of watershed protection and energy, water, and waste conservation, and will be encouraged to take action with family and friends to reduce the effects of climate change and improve individual and of the community.
  • Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy: $25,533 to implement state standards, climate change education, and meaningful action projects in parks with students from five Pittsburgh high schools in the fall, winter, and spring. Topics will highlight habitat enhancement, tree planting, and stormwater mitigation strategies.
  • venture outdoors: $20,000 to provide 20 environmental education activities and field trips to 120 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Lessons will engage students in watershed, climate change, and environmental education through activities such as hiking, kayaking, biking, gardening, and environmental STEM.


  • sage river: $18,900 to conduct a county-wide summer sustainability institute for high school students from six environmental justice areas in Beaver County. Teaching, field trips, group discussions, and activities will be captured through photos and videos that will be shared via social media and web-based platforms to broaden the reach of the project.


  • Connellsville Area School District: $4,370 to hold bi-monthly after-school club meetings for fourth and fifth grade students in local watersheds and waterways. Hands-on activities will include STEM-focused lessons and visits to local sites to learn about the importance of waterways to the community and region.
  • Mountain Watershed Association: $29,999 to expand outdoor education in the Connellsville metropolitan area by offering a monthly after-school program for grades three through five, a monthly community workshop, and two professional development trainings for formal and non-formal educators. Topics will include watershed conservation, basic ecology, climate change, and local environmental impacts.


  • YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh: $4,895 to provide teacher training and instruction to high school students on watersheds. Participants will travel to an outdoor location to plan and execute a service project. Students will present their experience to an elected official and to the community.


  • California Area School District: $30,000 to create a sixth grade outdoor science school curriculum that aligns with the new Pennsylvania State Science Standards. The curriculum will be delivered entirely outdoors, giving students 100 percent hands-on experiences. Students will incorporate environmentally sustainable STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) practices into their local environmental civic action projects.


  • Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art: $4,813 to coordinate a Pennsylvania Teacher Naturalist Training in Laurel Highlands. After a 13-week training, up to 10 adults will complete 30 hours of service to conservation organizations, municipalities, schools and more as they become trained volunteers and leaders to address conservation needs and challenges.
  • Seton Hill University: $5,000 to provide three professional development workshops for faculty to incorporate sustainability issues into their disciplines and to provide staff with education on sustainability practices to help reduce the environmental footprint of the campus.
  • Westmoreland County Conservation District: $5,000 to provide stormwater education to 40 students in the Mosaic Community Development Center after-school program. The conservation district will host two in-person educational programs for students and will work with students and the center to develop a demonstration rain garden that incorporates the lessons learned.

The Environmental Education Grant Program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates setting aside 5 percent of pollution fines and penalties DEP collects annually for environmental education in Pennsylvania. To date, DEP has awarded $13.3 million in environmental education grants to support 2,199 projects.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, visit the website or follow DEP on Facebook, Twitteror LinkedIn.