Sending Office: Honorable Jared Huffman
Sent By:
Christine.Sur@mail.house.gov

Closing TODAY: COB March 12th

Current cosigners (23): Bonamici, Brown, Cummings, Danny Davis, DeSaulnier, Hanabusa, Hastings, Langevin, Larsen, Loebsack, Maloney, McGovern, McNerney, Pallone, Polis, Raskin, Sarbanes, Schakowsky, Speier, Takano,
Vargas, Vela, Yarmuth

 

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in sending the letter below to the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee urging funding in the amount of $20 million in FY18 for two critical NOAA education programs: the Bay-Watershed Education & Training (B-WET) and
Environmental Literacy (ELP) programs.

Funding B-WET at $12 million would enable NOAA to return to operating all seven of the regional B-WET programs (California, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawai’i, New England, and the Pacific Northwest), which impact a
total of 27 states and the District of Columbia. Funding ELP at $8 million would return the ELP to a robust level of grant-making and national impact.

B-WET and ELP are central to improve student achievement in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and to promote environmental stewardship. The B-WET program is a competitive grant program that increases environmental literacy and stewardship
through hands-on, place-based learning experiences. In 2017 alone, the B-WET program reached an estimated 48,000 students and 2,500 teachers, while supporting 134 institutions. ELP advances STEM education at a national level by providing more than 46 million
people annually with access to compelling, up-to-date information on the ocean, coasts, Great Lakes, weather, and climate.

Previous years’ funding has fallen fundamentally short of the level necessary for NOAA to carry out its education mandate. This shortage has left some regions without support for new grants. NOAA Education has historically depended on Congress for appropriations.
Therefore, we are requesting that Congress appropriate $20 million to these two critical NOAA Education Programs.

If you have any questions or would like to sign onto this letter (below), please contact

Christine Sur
.

 

Sincerely,   

 

Jared Huffman                                                           

Member of Congress

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

March xx, 2018

 

Dear Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Serrano;

We write to urge the Subcommittee to fund the Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) and competitive education grants (also called Environmental Literacy Program or ELP) programs operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s)
Education Program in the total amount of $20 million in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill. Funding B-WET at $12 million would enable NOAA to return to full strength in all seven of the regional B-WET programs (California, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes,
Gulf of Mexico, Hawai’i, New England, and Pacific Northwest) which impact a total of 27 states and the District of Columbia. Funding the ELP program at $8 million would return it to a robust level of grant-making and national impact.

NOAA is mandated to support and coordinate educational activities to enhance public awareness and understanding of ocean-related issues. NOAA education activities are authorized under the America COMPETES Act, which obligates NOAA to carry out science, technology,
engineering, and math (STEM) activities to improve interest and literacy in STEM subjects.

The America COMPETES Act committee report specifically cites the Bay-Watershed Education and Training program and the Environmental Literacy Grants program as NOAA’s principal education grant programs. It describes B-WET as a “model” program noted for “its
rigorous program-wide assessment of performance and impact among students and teachers.”

Established in 2002 and continuously funded since, B-WET supports locally relevant, experiential learning with the purpose of increasing understanding of how the quality of a watershed affects the lives of the people who live in it. B-WET supports programs
for students as well as professional development for teachers, while advancing regional education and conservation priorities.  In 2017, B-WET funded 134 institutions and impacted a total of 27 states and the District of Columbia. Approximately 2,500 educators
received professional development to enhance their skills and confidence in using STEM and environmental education. An estimated 48,000 students participated in multi-stage, inquiry-based activities that include learning both in the classroom and outdoors
in a local context. The vast majority of B-WET funding is redistributed locally for student activities and has direct economic impacts in the community it serves. The National Research Council highlighted B-WET in their 2010 report on NOAA Education as “the
most rigorous evaluation design employed among the NOAA evaluation programs.”

While B-WET addresses specific regional education needs, the Environmental Literacy Program was established in 2005 to advance STEM education through support for national-scale projects. ELP is the longest standing and most comprehensive national grants
program focused on environmental literacy. It is designed to improve and expand the learning, understanding, and application of earth systems science and advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.  This federal grant program leverages
high quality partners and incorporates NOAA’s scientific assets in formal and informal learning environments. 

ELP annually provides more than 60 million people with compelling, up-to-date information on the ocean, coasts, Great Lakes, and weather through formal and informal science education programs as well as exhibits. NOAA’s ELP is very competitive: only 10%
of peer reviewed applications ultimately receive funding.

In 2017, ELP supported 150 science education institutions in offering up-to-date information on the ocean, coasts, Great Lakes, weather, and climate to 46 million people through formal and informal education programs as well as exhibits such as NOAA’s Science
On a Sphere. ELP grants provided 3,000 formal and informal educators with professional development using evidence-based practices and conveying Earth system science in compelling and relevant ways. 200,000 youth and adults participated in ELP-supported, informal
education programs that enhance ecosystem stewardship and promote informed decision making. And 9,000 preK-12 students participated in NOAA ELP-supported, formal education programs.

These two education programs have enabled NOAA, as the nations leading expert on weather, coastal and ocean information, to partner with the nation’s top non-profit organizations and educators to bring this information and hands-on experiences to students.
The programs have demonstrated their effectiveness and value to stakeholder communities, as documented by the recent NOAA Education Accomplishments Report (www.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/2017-02-01_FY16_NOAA_Education_Accomplishments_Report_Web.pdf).
And as our nation begins to grapple with the complexities and challenges of diminishing ocean, coastal and watershed resources as well as severe weather-related events, these programs are timely and highly relevant.

Unfortunately, funding in the past years has fallen fundamentally short of the level necessary for NOAA to carry out its education mandate. Therefore, we respectfully request an increase to $20 million (the level of funding in FY 2009 and FY2010) for these
two NOAA education programs so that NOAA can continue to carry out and improve its successful STEM activities. 

Sincerely,

 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Environment, Natural Resources

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