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Press Releases

December 8, 2005

Seaberry Nachbar
National Marine Sanctuary Program
(831) 647-4204
Sarah Marquis, NMSP Media
(949) 222-2212


A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) program known as the Bay Watershed Education and Training Program, or B-WET, is looking to distribute $350,000 in grants for projects that will give students meaningful learning experiences about the watersheds of the Santa Barbara/ Ventura area and NOAA-run Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Applications will be accepted until January 31, 2006.

Grants will range from $10,000 to $50,000 to implement environmental education projects in two priority areas: meaningful watershed experiences for students and professional development in the area of environmental education for teachers.

"Marine and environmental education is extremely important in creating a stewardship of the coastal environment" said VADM Conrad Lautenbacher, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "NOAA is proud to be a part of this program that provides students and teachers with unique and beneficial educational opportunities."

The announced funding represents a federally supported environmental education grant program focused solely on the Santa Barbara Area and specifically NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Funding is available to kindergarten through 12th grade public and independent schools and school systems, institutions of higher education, commercial and nonprofit organizations, state or local government agencies, and Indian tribal governments. Programs must take place in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

The B-WET Program was established in 2002 to improve the understanding of environmental stewardship of students, teachers, and communities through education. Recognizing that an educated community is the key to understanding and sustaining the nation's ocean and coastal environments, NOAA has developed B-WET Programs in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Monterey Bay watershed, San Francisco Bay watershed, Santa Barbara Channel watershed, and the Hawaiian Islands. Following are examples of previously funded B-WET projects:

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology --- Students assessed and monitored coral reef health and learned how research is conducted in Kaneohe Bay. They acquired skills in data collection techniques, evaluation and organization, and presented their results through scientific and public media.

Monterey High School --- High school students conducted water quality sampling and intertidal monitoring, conducted statistical analysis on the data, wrote papers on the results, and presented findings at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Symposium.

An application package and information is available on the NOAA B-WET Web site.

NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program seeks to increase the public awareness of America's maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, 13 national marine sanctuaries encompass more than 18,000 square miles of America's ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources. Designation of an additional 131,818 square miles of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve as the 14th national marine sanctuary is pending.

NOAA National Ocean Service manages the National Marine Sanctuary Program and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation's coasts and oceans. The National Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with our federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

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