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September 12, 2013

Save The Bay Chosen as Recipient of NOAA Fisheries Grant

Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant will provide $71,800 for environmental education program

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – NOAA Fisheries Service Northeast Region announced that it has awarded close to half a million dollars in funds to support nine educational projects in New England. The funds will provide hands-on learning experiences for K-12 students to foster greater understanding of and connection to local watersheds. As one of the awardees of the competitive B-WET grant, Save The Bay will receive $71,800 for their environmental education program for the 2013-2014 academic year.

“We’re really excited about the opportunities that the BWET funding offers,” said Bridget Kubis Prescott, Save The Bay’s director of education. “It enables us to create a multi-level experience for the students and teachers of Providence for an entire school year, ultimately creating future stewards of Narragansett Bay.”

Save The Bay has partnered with Providence, RI elementary schools to provide summer professional development for up to 20 fourth grade teachers through on-the-water and coastal experiences, as well as lab and classroom time. The programming is aligned the Providence School System’s science curriculum. During the school year, up to 540 students will get two hands-on, inquiry-based experiences with vessel and lab components: examining plankton, trawling for animals from the Bay floor, and testing water quality. On the land and in the lab, they will examine underwater animals (native as well as invasive) and collect plant and animal specimens from the rocky shore to study animal adaptation to adverse environmental conditions.

“Save the Bay does an outstanding job of working with local schools and teaching kids about the importance of our watersheds, their connection to Narragansett Bay, and how we can all work together to protect them. The B-WET program gives students a chance to get their feet wet while learning about the Bay and connecting with nature,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who recently helped advance the fiscal year 2014 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill, which includes $7.2 million for B-WET regional programs nationwide. Senator Reed is also the author of the bipartisan No Child Left Inside Act, which would help bring locally developed, high-quality environmental education programs to more schools nationwide by providing federal assistance for states to develop and implement environmental literacy plans.

This year’s nine awards are distributed across five New England states - Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. In addition to Save The Bay, the new award recipients are: Salem Sound 2000, University of Maine, Maritime Gloucester, Education Connection, University of Rhode Island SMILE, Sturgis Charter Public School, and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at Basin Harbor, Inc.

“Nearly every application was outstanding; great projects proposed by talented watershed and marine educators, which made the selection process pretty tough,” said John Bullard, regional administrator, Northeast, NOAA Fisheries. “The eight new projects ultimately selected provide a variety of wonderful ways to help students see how math and science can be used in real world experiences that might further stewardship of valuable watershed ecosystems and possibly inspire a few future scientists.  And we are pleased to be able to fund the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies’ multiyear B-WET project for a second year.”

All of the chosen projects incorporate Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences (MWEEs), and will meet their state’s requirements for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and NOAA’s ocean literacy principles.

About NOAA’s B-WET Program

NOAA's B-WET program is an environmental education program that promotes locally relevant, experiential learning in the K-12 environment. B-WET grant recipients go through a competitive selection process for funds to support teacher training and projects that deliver MWEEs to students. The program is national in scope with 7 regional programs: California, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, New England, and the Pacific Northwest.

About Save The Bay

Founded in 1970, Save The Bay is a nonprofit member organization working to protect, restore and explore Narragansett Bay and its watershed. Save The Bay believes the Bay’s future depends on tomorrow’s leaders understanding how important the Bay is to our economy, environment and quality of life. The organization offers education programs to schools, community groups and the general public; protects Narragansett Bay by advocating for Bay-friendly legislation, reviewing permits and raising public awareness; and restores the Bay to full health through its extensive habitat restoration program.