Purple Mai‘a Foundation Receives EPA Grant

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded grant totaling $385,000 for environmental education projects throughout the Pacific Southwest, including the Purple Mai’a Foundation in Hawai‘i, which received $100,000, the EPA announced on Oct. 10, 2018.

The Purple Mai’a Foundation’s Indigenous Innovation in Education project will educate 24 teachers and 136 high school students by developing and implementing a new cross-cutting curriculum. Students will partner with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa to build low-cost water quality monitors used for aquatic health assessment of culturally significant Hawaiian fish ponds.

Students will gain hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), computer programming skills, and knowledge of traditional Native Hawaiian cultural practices. The project is aimed at schools serving Native Hawaiian and/or low-income students in rural communities on the Big Island and Maui, as well as urban communities on O‘ahu.

The Malama Learning Center on O‘ahu received $80,000. The center will engage students, teachers, agricultural and conservation professionals, and community members on two environmentally and culturally different sides of O‘ahu. The hands-on outdoor learning experiences are designed to instill interest in environmental STEM careers and conservation of local natural resources. The projects aim to reach over 1,000 people, including native Hawaiian and low-income students. The grant will pay for 10 class field trips, student action research projects, community work days, a green collar institute seminar for students, presentations at major conferences and televised programs reaching a statewide audience. With this grant, Malama Learning Center hopes to inspire the next generation of environmental professionals and scientists to care for Hawai‘i’s magnificent natural resources.


“Environmental education is critical to promoting conservation and protection of our natural resources,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “These lessons start in our own backyards, classrooms and in the fields of farmers who work the land. These programs will educate and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.”

The 2018 Environmental Education Local Grant Program supports projects that help students and teachers build knowledge about local environmental and conservation issues through hands-on outdoor learning experiences, classroom research and field trips.

This year’s funding supports projects that demonstrate or disseminate educational practices that increase environmental and conservation literacy and encourage behaviors that benefit the environment.


Other EPA Grant Awardees

Education Outside, San Francisco Bay Area Schools, California: $100,000
The focus of From the Ground Up is teaching underserved, low-income kindergarten through 5th grade students about food cultivation, including how it reaches the table, and the importance of protecting the environment. Education Outside will reach approximately 20,000 K-5 students across 58 San Francisco Bay Area schools through lessons, field trips, and other activities. As part of their weekly lessons, students in their outdoor classrooms will grow, harvest, and cook fresh produce using sustainable practices – experiences that help students forge meaningful connections to the local environment. Education Outside will partner with AmeriCorps to provide highly trained, full-time young educators that maintain school gardens, teach weekly lessons, and engage students in sustainability campaigns, such as campus-wide recycling, water conservation, energy audits, lunchroom composting, and bike/walk-to-school days.

Sequoia Riverlands Trust, San Joaquin Valley, California: $100,000
The Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT) is a non-profit based in rural Tulare County that will collaborate with landowners, farmers, conservationists, business partners, and government agencies to provide opportunities for local youth to connect with their natural environment. The project’s goal is to reach 600 students, 60 interns, 50 farmers/ranchers, and 300 community members through classroom and outdoor education, hands-on workshops, field trips, weekly service learning days, and presentations at conferences and community events. Students will visit farms and learn directly from ranchers and farmers about important environmental issues such as soil conservation, rangeland management, and composting.


Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 million and $3.5 million each year under this program.

Find more background on the EE Grants Program and resources for applicants online.

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