“We used to have to convince students that climate change is happening, now we have to convince students that there are things they can do to make a positive difference. The ability for students to get their hands dirty doing something that makes a difference right here at school matters. The program fit well into our curriculum – we worked hard to illustrate that humans have changed the environment, for good and for bad, and now students have a chance to give a little back.”Matt Love, Colonel Richardson High School
What this funds: The Environmental Education Grant Program funds programs and initiatives that advance environmental literacy and result in students having the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and motivation to take informed and responsible actions to protect and improve the environment.
Who can apply: Maryland school districts, nonprofit organizations, public agencies, higher education institutions, community associations, and more. See RFP for full list.
Project Types and Funding Availability: The Trust has made available $290,000 for this grant program in Fiscal Year 2023. Individual applications may be submitted for amounts detailed below. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Trust staff to discuss proposals prior to the deadline and determine which funding level is most appropriate for your project idea.
- Track 1 Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) Implementation: Applicants may request up to $40,000 per year for up to three years for projects that focus on piloting (one-year requests) or embedding systemic (multiyear requests) MWEEs into school district’s curriculum. The MWEE model integrates best practices of environmental education pedagogy where students investigate local environmental issues through classroom and outdoor experiences, engage in problem solving, and take action to address their issue through projects and civic engagement.
- Track 2 Environmental Literacy Capacity Building: Applicants may request up to $40,000 for the 2023 schoolyear (March 2023 – August 2024) for district or state-wide environmental literacy capacity building and collaboration efforts that advance environmental literacy, especially MWEEs, within school district(s).
- For request $10,000 and under, consider applying for a Trust Youth Environmental Education Grant.
Is match required? No, but applicants are strongly encouraged to leverage Trust support with cash and in kind match.
Partners: The Trust works collaboratively with the NOAA Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Education Training Program (BWET) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to promote high quality environmental education experiences that meet the Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE) model throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. DNR’s funding opportunity is currently open and NOAA will be announcing the next BWET funding opportunity soon. Check this link for more information.
Grant Application Process: The Chesapeake Bay Trust’s grant applications are all submitted through our online system linked to the right.
Program Status: CLOSED
Deadline was: Thursday, December 1st 2022 at 4pm EST.
Manage an Existing Grant
Manage an existing grant or continue an application.
Environmental education is a key long-term strategy for the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The Trust recognizes youth education is essential in developing environmentally literate and civically minded adults who will support the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay.
The goal of the Environmental Education Award Program is to for every student in Maryland to be empowered with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions to ensure the health of their local environment and communities. To meet this goal the program has focused on embedding environmental literacy – specifically Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) – into the curriculum of at least one grade in elementary, middle, and high school in Maryland’s 24 school districts. The MWEE model is a blend of best practices in education that increase academic achievement, student engagement, 21st century skills, and stewardship. Embedding MWEEs into school district curriculum helps ensure every student receives an impactful experience learning about the environment and increases the likelihood of programs continuing long after the grant period ends.
For the past 10 years the Environmental Education Award Program has invested in projects that establish MWEEs in school district curriculum, build capacity of educators and administrators to design and deliver MWEEs, or address barriers to long-term implementation of MWEEs in school districts. The program is part of a regional effort to meet the environmental literacy goal and outcomes in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Agreement.
|Year||Grant Amount||Organization||County||Project Title||Project Description|
|2021||$29,889||Adkins Arboretum||Eastern Shore - Middle||Where Land and Water Meet: A Partnership for Environmental Literacy||This award is for a sustainable partnership with ShoreRivers that will advance organizational capacity to provide environmental literacy programs and teacher professional development.|
|2021||$13,000||Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park||Anne Arundel||School in Nature - Back Creek Park||This award is for an outdoor classroom at Back Creek Nature Park.|
|2021||$73,620||Anne Arundel County Public Schools||Anne Arundel||Severn Stewards||This award is for an environmental literacy program focused on the Severn River for all 9th graders in the Environmental Science course.|
|2021||$13,850||Backyard Basecamp||Baltimore City||Outdoor Classroom in Frankford: BLISS Meadows Urban Ecology Learning Lab||This award is for an outdoor classroom at BLISS Meadows.|
|2021||$30,319||Dance Exchange||Prince George's||Moving MWEE: Implementing a Systemic Arts-Integrated Approach for Kindergarten in Prince George's County||This award is for an arts-integrated environmental literacy pilot for kindergarten students in Prince George's County Public Schools.|
|2021||$11,9915||ShoreRivers||Kent||Kent County Public Schools Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience Coalition||This award is for an environmental literacy program for all 4th and 9th graders at Kent County Public Schools.|
|2021||$20,000||ShoreRivers||Dorchester||ShoreRivers & New Directions Learning Academy Outdoor Learning Space||This award is for an outdoor classroom at New Directions Learning Academy.|
|2021||$39,952||Washington County Public Schools||Washington||Expanded Integration of Embedded MWEE Opportunities in Washington County Public Schools Essential Curriculum||This award is for embedding an environmental literacy program for all 2nd and 6th graders.|
|2021||$10,9455||Worcester County Public Schools||Worcester||Enhancing, Engaging, and Empowering Environmental Literacy Through Curriculum-Aligned MWEEs||This award is for a district-wide environmental literacy plan and systemic program for 9th and 10th graders.|
|2020||$31,717||Accokeek Foundation||Prince George's||"Tiny Seed, Global Impact" Expansion||This award is for a 1st grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) focused on healthy soils at five elementary schools in Prince George's County.|
|2020||$25,839||Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park||Anne Arundel||Chesapeake Champions||This award is for the expansion of the 2nd grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) for students in the Annapolis area.|
|2020||$40,000||Camp Puh'tok for Boys and Girls, Inc.||Baltimore||Ecosystem Investigation: a Meaningful Watershed Education Experience for Baltimore County Public School Students||This award is for a 6th grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) in Baltimore County Public Schools where students perform hands-on forest, wetland, pond, and stream studies that support classroom learning through real-world application.|
|2020||$23,977||Eastern Shore Land Conservancy's Sassafras Environmental Education Center||Kent||Agro-Ecology Through MWEE's||This award is for the enhancement and expansion of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) in 4th, 5th, and 9th grade at Kent County Public Schools.|
|2020||$39,999||Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education||Statewide||MWEE Student Action; Youth Voice, Youth Action, Local Impact||This award is for a regional professional development series to expand the capacity of Maryland educators to conduct successful Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) that incorporate youth voice and result in high quality student-led action projects in Allegany, Anne Arundel, Charles, Prince George's, and Queen Anne's Counties.|
|2020||$70,000||Montgomery County Public Schools||Montgomery||Citizen Science: Chemistry of Nitrogen Cycling||This award is for a teacher professional development program to effectively faciliate the 10th grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) in chemistry.|
|2020||$36,000||Out Teach||Prince George's||Building an Environmental Science Professional Learning Community for Prince George’s County Elementary Schools||This award is for a teacher professional development program for elementary schools in Prince George's County on the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) model.|
|2020||$39,857||ShoreRivers||Talbot||Eastern Shore MWEE Academy||This award is for a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) Academy for teachers working in school districts throughout the Eastern Shore of Maryland.|
|2020||$39,906||YMCA of the Chesapeake||Somerset||Expanding Environmental Literacy for 6th Graders in Somerset County Public Schools||This award is for a 6th grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) pilot in Somerset County Public Schools.|
|2019||$79,286||Calvert County Public Schools||Calvert||Schoolhouse Rocks: Rebuilding Chesapeake Oyster Reefs one Student at a Time||This award is for the development and implementation of a systemic 5th grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) Schoolhouse Rocks in Calvert County.|
|2019||$42,017||Charles County Public Schools||Charles||How can I impact my school ecosystem?||This award is for a 3rd grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) in partnership with the Alice Ferguson Foundation where student investigate their impact on their schoolyard ecosystem through outdoor experiences and classroom learning resulting in action.|
|2019||$21,764||Parks & People Foundation||Baltimore City||SuperKids Environmental Education Camp 2019||This award is for integrating the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) model into the SuperKids Environmental Education Camp.|
|2019||$68,400||Pickering Creek Audubon Center||Caroline||Exploring and Restoring Habitat with Caroline County Public Schools||This award is for a 10th grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) in Caroline County Public Schools taking students through a series of investigations in their community to learn about the impact humans are having on their local environment and the solutions being implemented in their county.|
|2019||$38,545||ShoreRivers||Eastern Shore - Middle||Students for Streams: Sustainability and Expansion||This award is for a professional devleopment series to support teachers facilitating the 9th grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) in Talbot, Dorchester, Kent, and Queen Anne's County.|
|2019||$58,603||Somerset County Public Schools||Somerset||Shoring Up Resiliency through Education (SURE): Building understanding of how environment, science, and cultural heritage work together to strengthen community||This award is for the integration of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) in 5th, 7th, and 9th grades in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.|
|2019||$80,000||Washington County Public Schools||Washington||Integration of Environmental Literacy and MWEEs into Washington County Public Schools Essential Curriculum||This award is for the integration of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) in 8th and 10th grade at Washington County Public Schools.|
|2019||$39,785||Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore||Baltimore City||Harbor Scholars||This award is for a teacher professional learning program to effectively faciliate student engagement, with a focus on supporting action projects in the 5th grade Save the Bay Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) in Baltimore City.|
|2019||$40,000||Wicomico County Public Schools||Wicomico||Wicomico Systemic MWEE for Kindergarten & High School||This award is for kindergarten and high school Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) in partnership with the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art.|
|2018||$38,188||Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park||Anne Arundel||Oyster Education Program||This award is for a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) investigating the intersection of oyster health and human activities for 6th grade students in the Annapolis area.|
|2018||$26,250||Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc.||Montgomery||Testing the Waters: An Environmental Education Mentoring Program for High School Students||This award is for a mentoring program for high school students in the Downcounty Consortium area of Montgomery County Public Schools.|
|2018||$10,000||Deep Roots, Inc.||Cecil||We Care: Taking Responsibility for Our Environment||This award is for an environmental literacy program for youth at a transitional housing facility for the homeless.|
|2018||$72,734||Howard County Conservancy||Howard||Systemic Biodiversity for 5th Grade Students||This award is for a 5th grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) in Howard County Public Schools where students learn about biodiversity through a series of investigations including a schoolyard bioblitz.|
|2018||$104,564||National Aquarium||Baltimore City||Living Laboratory: What Lives in the Harbor||This award is for a 6th grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) which connects Baltimore City students with the aquatic world of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and helps them grasp how their decisions and actions can achieve a healthy harbor.|
|2018||$39,864||ShoreRivers||Talbot||Students for Streams: Sturgeon Discovery||This award is for a 3rd grade Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) in Talbot County Public Schools where students will investigate the endangered Atlantic sturgeon in the Chesapeake Bay.|
|2018||$39,766||Washington County Public Schools||Washington||Integration of Environmental Literacy and MWEEs into Washington County Public Schools Essential Curriculum||This award is for the integration of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) in 4th and 8th grade at Washington County Public Schools.|
View one-pagers of past successful projects below.
ShoreRivers – Students for Streams: Sturgeon Discovery (2018 to 2019)
ShoreRivers and Talbot County Public Schools embedded a Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE) program into 3rd grade curriculum where students investigate how human actions on land impact aquatic habitat through the lens of the endangered, native Atlantic sturgeon. Students learn about the history of the sturgeon, collect water quality and land-use data, and analyze data to plan and take action in their communities.
Pickering Creek Audubon Center – Exploring and Restoring Habitat with Caroline County Public Schools (2017 to 2019)
Pickering Creek Audubon Center educators collaborated with Caroline County Public Schools teachers to design and embed a 10th grade Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE) into the 10th grade Environmental Earth curriculum taking students through a series of lessons and outdoor field experiences in their community to investigate the impact human activities are having on their local environment and the solutions being implemented in their County. During the two year grant period teachers underwent immersive professional development training on facilitating inquiry-based investigations, using the outdoors for learning, and scientific concepts.
Prince George’s County Public Schools – Wild Rice & the Changing Landscape of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (2017-2019)
PGCPS worked in collaboration with local partners to train teachers to use the outdoors for learning and embedded a Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE) into middle school curriculum at the district level allowing every 7th grade student to learn about the impact humans are having on the local habitat, restorative solutions, and take action to implement solutions in their community or at their school.
Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) Resources:
- An Educator’s Guide to the MWEE is the result of a collaboration between the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Chesapeake Bay Program, NOAA, and Chesapeake Bay Foundation. This guide provides the framework, benefits, and resources in designing a MWEE. Tools from An Educator’s Guide to the MWEE.
- MWEE Think Cloud for getting started.
- Environmental Literacy Model (ELM) Planning Document for designing and delivering a MWEE.
- MWEE Audit for evaluating the strength of a MWEE program.
- Developing Driving & Supporting Questions supports the Issue Investigation Element of the MWEE.
- Incorporating Outdoor Field Experiences supports the Outdoor Field Experiences Element of the MWEE.
- Moving from Claims to Informed Action supports the Action Element of the MWEE.
- MWEE Online Courses for building a deeper understanding and skill set for designing, delivering, and provide trainings on the MWEE model. Completion of courses results in Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) credits and certification as a MWEE Ambassador.
- A Facilitator’s Guide to the MWEE provides lessons and activities for facilitators to use when conducting training on the MWEE model.
- Earth Force’s Opportunities for Civic Engagement in EE provides ideas, activities, and resources for educators to integrate civic engagement and student voice into MWEEs and other environmental education programs. For more check out Earth Force’s Resources page
Bay BackPack is the premier resource in the Mid-Atlantic providing educators with information about funding opportunities, field studies, curriculum guides and lesson plans related to environmental education. Bay Backpack helps educators find the tools they need to give their students MWEEs.
Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) provides instruction, training opportunities, and resources on standards and state education policy for education programs from pre-kindergarten through high school.
Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE) provides training opportunities for environmental and outdoor educators and certifies green schools and green centers across the state.
National Resources for Research and Professional Development:
“Teachers throughout the district have shared stories of increased engagement from their students because of this unit. Exploring their schoolyard and learning about the benefits of wild rice on the ecosystem provides students with knowledge and skills that can be taken beyond the classroom. The expansion of this incredible program from 15 schools to a fully embedded MWEE at all 41 is a proud accomplishment for Prince George's County Public Schools.”Rhonda Scott, Outreach Educator, Prince George's County Public Schools