Applications Now Accepted for New STEM Environmental Education Grants

Contact: Natalie Ducharme-Barth,, (301) 608-3040 x312


Washington, DC; January 12, 2017 — The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF) seeks to be a catalyst for education initiatives by coordinating ocean-based learning and outreach programs focused on increasing environmental literacy. To that end, NMSF in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Education and the U.S. Department of Education announces a new grant program to advance environmental education opportunities for students. Through this new Watershed STEM Education Partnership grants program, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will deliver STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) experiences to students at 21st Century Community Learning Center (21CCLC) program sites.

In this initial pilot year the Foundation will provide funds to organizations with established environmental education capacity as a result of participation with the NOAA Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program. The Foundation expects funded projects to create new partnerships between environmental education providers and 21st CCLC sites. The Foundation partners with NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, as well as other offices within NOAA to advance awareness of environmental issues that impact the ocean and Great Lakes, and activate stewardship of natural and cultural marine resources. The sanctuaries and marine national monuments that are part of the National Marine Sanctuary System are found in every B-WET region, and advancing educational partnership programs in these areas helps the Foundation fulfill its mission to enhance national marine sanctuaries in their goal to protect essential U.S. marine areas and to ensure a healthy ocean.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will fund projects that can leverage NOAA and 21st CCLC resources to increase participants’ understanding and stewardship of watersheds and related ocean, coastal, riverine, estuarine, and Great Lakes ecosystems. Final awardees will do this by providing academic enrichment experiences to students, and capacity building to educators, at 21st CCLC sites during non-school hours.

NMSF will select projects for funding in 2017 that will impact a minimum of twenty-five 21st CCLC sites in at least five of the seven geographic areas served by the NOAA B-WET programs. The Foundation expects to award approximately $500,000 in Watershed STEM Education Partnership grant awards. Proposals for funding may be submitted by any organization that meets the eligibility criteria listed in the Request for Proposals (RFP) linked below.

NMSF offered an informational webinar for prospective applicants January 19 at 3:00 P.M. EST. The application deadline for full proposals (using the application form linked below) is February 11 by Midnight EST, and awards will be announced by March 13.

RFP with Frequently Asked Questions

Application Form

The recording of the informational webinar is available at this link.

Clarifying Eligibility Guidance


Update January 27, 2017: National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is releasing a request for proposals (RFP) to identify an evaluator to assess the implementation of the NOAA-21st CCLC Watershed STEM Education Partnership Pilot Program. Through this RFP, the NMSF will select a consultant organization to work collaboratively with NMSF staff and partners (the U.S. Department of Education and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to design, develop, and implement an evaluation plan for this pilot program. Please see the linked RFP for full details regarding this opportunity, including application information and program background. The application deadline for full evaluation proposals (using the application instructions in the RFP) is February 24 by 5 PM EST.


Evaluation RFP


Update March 20, 2017: This competition is now closed. We will be announcing our 2017 NOAA-21st CCLC Watershed STEM Education Partnership Grant recipients on the website soon.