Ocean Guardian School

picture of children and teacher holding bags of trash

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2024 - 2025 school year. All applications are due by June 1, 2024. Download the application to get started.

Before downloading an application form, please be sure to read the "Grant Application Guidelines" below as well as the Program Guidelines and Requirements.

Grant Applications and Guidelines

The Ocean Guardian School program funds projects focused on a current issue(s) affecting local watersheds and/or the ocean while promoting best environmental practices. Through a school- or community-based project, schools work to make a difference in the health and protection of their local watersheds, ocean and/or special ocean areas like national marine sanctuaries.

Who Can Apply?

Participation Without Funding: Any school (PreK-12) in the United States may apply to participate in the Ocean Guardian School program without funding.

Participation With Funding:

  • Any school (preK-12) located in California in the following counties:
    • Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity, Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Solano, San Francisco, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Mateo, Alameda, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Monterey, San Benito, Merced, Madera, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Kern, Kings, Tulare, Santa Barbara, and Ventura
  • Any school (preK-12) located in Washington in the following counties:
    • Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor and Pacific
  • Any school (preK-12) located in Oregon in the following counties:
    • Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Lane, Douglas, Coos and Curry
  • Any school (preK-12) located in Hawaii

Grants are awarded up to $4,000 per school depending on the level of the project and funding year. A school may re-apply for funding for the same project for up to five (5) successive years. Maximum funding amounts are: Years 1-3 = $4,000; Year 4 = $2,500; Year 5 = $1,000. Schools are welcome to apply to participate in the program without funding.

Funding Amounts
Years 1-3 Up to $4,000/year
Year 4 Up to $2,500
Year 5 Up to $1,000

Please Note:

  • Schools must submit a new application for each successive year of funding and/or participation in the grant program. Continuing projects in years 4 and 5 must demonstrate how the project is being integrated within the school, with the goal of the project becoming a sustainable part of the school Activities/culture/policies. To that end, it is reasonable to request zero funding in your 4th or 5th year.
  • A school may apply to the Ocean Guardian School program without request for funding.  In this case, the school must submit an application by the official deadline and fulfill all program requirements to be evaluated for official Ocean Guardian School recognition.

How to Complete and Submit Your Application

Step 1: Download and save the application form to your computer.

Step 2: Complete (and save) the application form.

Step 3: EMAIL your completed application to the appropriate address below.

Application Due Date

ALL grant applications are due by June 1 (for projects to begin at the start of the following academic year). Funding decisions will be made by early July. A proposed project period must run for the full academic year.

Application Review Criteria (weighted equally)

  1. A specific school- or community-based project that addresses a current issue(s) affecting local watersheds and/or the ocean.
  2. The number of classes and grades directly involved in the project.
  3. How the project will make a difference in the school and/or local community.
  4. The outreach plan for communicating the project to both the school and local community.

Before completing the application form, please review the program guidelines and requirements.

Note: A school is not an Ocean Guardian School until the end of the project year after all program requirements have been completed. If all the program requirements have been successfully fulfilled, a school will be officially recognized as a NOAA Ocean Guardian School, and will receive the official Ocean Guardian School banner. A school will receive a different banner for each year they are recognized as an Ocean Guardian School.

For more information or general support, please contact Alyssa Leadingham.