State government will soon offer groups promising environmental education up to $50,000 in grant money, a significant jump from the former maximum of $3,000.
Beginning in 2017, funding from the Department of Environmental Protection will be available to help generate groups more ambitious programming on watershed management, brownfield remediation and other topics at the state and regional levels, DEP spokeswoman Susan Rickens said.
To qualify for the max amount, organizations need to generate at least $10,000 in matching funds, she said.
“It could be classroom programs in traditional schools, it could be at a nature center, it could be workshops conducted by county conservation districts,” Rickens said.
She said the first classes offered with the increased grant money can get started next July.
“We’re encouraging groups to work together on these larger projects that maybe have a bigger impact,” Rickens said.
She said the smaller grant level of $3,000 will still be available.
The DEP sets aside 5 percent of its roughly $6 million in annual income from fines and fees to pay for environmental education programs, usually totaling about $300,000 in grants each year. According to the DEP website, the agency has spent about $9.6 million on environmental education since the grant program began in 1993.
The DEP has scheduled four workshops in eastern and central Pennsylvania and a webinar to explain the changes. Registration for the webinar at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 29 is required.