Take Action: Ask Local Organizations
to Support HR3644

Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Regional Program
and National Environmental Literacy Grant Program Act

Please take a moment to ask your local schools, aquarium, wildlife groups and other organizations to lend their support to HR 3644. A sample letter follows, or use your own words.

Thank You!

October, 2009

Dear xxxxxxxx,

We write to respectfully request that you join Representatives Lois Capps, Vernon Ehlers, Sam Farr and Madeleine Bordallo as a cosponsor of the Bay-Watershed Education and Training Regional Program and National Environmental Literacy Grant Program Act (HR. 3644). This bill authorizes and strengthens the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s existing Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) and Environmental Literacy Grants (ELG) programs.

Over the past five years, these two NOAA education programs have been essential to advancing ocean, atmospheric, and environmental literacy in the United States, a major goal of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy Report and the U.S. Ocean Action Plan. They have been well received by the ocean and environmental literacy communities, and in fact, ELG requests for proposals have been oversubscribed by a factor of 10.

The ELG program enables NOAA, as the nation's leading expert on weather, climate and ocean information, to partner with the nation's top non-profit organizations and educators to put this information to good use. For example, these grants have enabled more than 20 million people to gain access to compelling up-to-date weather, climate and ocean information through the Science on a Sphere and Ocean Today Kiosk from Alaska to Hawaii to California to Massachusetts. ELG funds have also allowed the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to update climate education standards that are used to guide science education in classrooms around the country to reflect state-of-the-art climate science. In addition, ELG grants to the National Science Teachers Association have given thousands of teachers access to the most accurate scientific information on climate, corals and hurricanes.

The B-WET grants programs support environmental education which promotes locally relevant, experiential learning in the K-12 environment. A fundamental goal of the programs are to demonstrate how the quality of the watershed affects the lives of the people who live in it. B-WET programs have now expanded to include the Chesapeake Bay, California, Hawaii, Pacific Northwest, Gulf of Mexico and New England, and this bill will add five new regions as well. BWET awards to state and local education organizations have provided opportunities to over 125,000 students and 6,200 teachers in 2008 alone.

It is important to now establish these programs in law, consistent with the education mandates provided to NOAA in both the America COMPETES Act (PL 110-69, Sec.4002) and the Omnibus Public Land Management Act (PL 111-11, Sec. 12304). They are vital to NOAA's ability to execute the educational function of its mission. They have demonstrated their effectiveness, as well as their value to stakeholder communities. And as our nation begins to grapple with the complexities and challenges of a changing climate (and ocean and landscape), they are timely and highly relevant.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. For questions about this letter, please contact James Elder, Campaign for Environmental Literacy (978-526-7768, elder@FundEE.org).

Sincerely,



American Hiking Society (Gregory A. Miller, President)
American Fisheries Society (Gus Rassam, Executive Director)
American Forest Foundation (Tom Martin, President)
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (Judy Walton, Acting Executive Director)
Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Steve Olson, Vice President)
Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo (Stuart D. Strahl, President and CEO)
Council on Environmental Education (Josetta Hawthorne, Executive Director)
Earth Day Network (Kathleen Rogers, President)
Earth Force (Lisa Bardwell, President)
Heath Professionals for Clean Air (Bonnie A. New, Director)
National Association for Interpretation (Tim Merriman, Executive Director)
National Audubon Society (Judy Braus, Vice President for Education)
National Council for Science and the Environment (Peter Saundry, Executive Director)
National Science Teachers Association (Jodi Peterson, Assistant Executive Director,
Legislative and Public Affairs)
National Wildlife Federation (Kevin Coyle, Vice President for Education)
North American Association for Environmental Education (Brian Day, Executive Director)
Ocean Alliance (Roger Payne, President)
Ocean Conservancy (Vikki Spruill, President and CEO)
Ocean Conservation Research (Michael Stocker, Director)
Ocean Project (Bill Mott, Director)
Project WET Foundation (Dennis Nelson, President and CEO)
Second Nature (Anthony Cortese, President)
Sierra Club (Jacqueline Ostfeld, National Youth Representative)
Student Conservation Association (Dale Penny, President & CEO)
Tag-A-Giant Foundation (Shana Miller, Director)
The Ocean Foundation (Mark Spalding, President)