The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is encouraging formal and informal environmental educators around the state to take part in a free webinar to learn how to apply for funding to support a wide range of environmental education projects.

“Pennsylvania’s environmental educators are talented and passionate about engaging youth and adults in air, land, and water quality protection and restoration in their own neighborhoods and statewide,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “They help develop a citizenry with the environmental literacy to make informed decisions and take meaningful action. They’re a resource as important as any of our natural resources, and DEP is committed to supporting their work.”

Funding for schools, colleges, nonprofits, county conservation districts, and businesses is available through the Environmental Education Grant program. Environmental Education Director Bert Myers will walk through the application process and answer questions in a free, 75-minute live webinar on Monday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m. Registration is required.

Projects with a local focus may receive up to $3,000, and regional or statewide initiatives may receive up to $20,000. Projects that engage students and teachers at the local, state and national levels may be awarded up to $85,000. Since inception, the program has provided more than $12 million in grants to more than 1,890 organizations statewide.

While all topics are considered, water quality, climate change and environmental justice are priority areas. Formal and non-formal education projects are eligible. Project examples include tours, hands-on workshops, and demonstrations focused on watershed stewardship and community action, renewable energy, energy conservation, vehicle idling, alternative transportation, and healthier air quality.

Applications must be submitted through eGrants (first-time users will need to register). The application deadline is Dec. 31, at 11:59 p.m. Guidelines and instructions are available at DEP’s Environmental Education Grants website.

The Environmental Education Grants program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates setting aside 5% of the pollution fines and penalties DEP collects annually for environmental education in Pennsylvania.