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GRANTEE:The Great Lakes - A Great New Region for B-WET

Published May 2012

High school students study macroinvertebrate populations in Northeast Michigan.

NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have partnered to establish a new Bay-Watershed Education Training (B-WET) Program in the Great Lakes. The health of these vast inland freshwater seas, containing 84 percent of North America's fresh surface water, has long been a focus of environmental groups in the Midwest. In 2011, many of these organizations helped encourage NOAA's interest in expanding its B-WET program into the region. This coincided with an opportunity to fund environmental educational programs as part of EPA's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The initial Great Lakes B-WET competition drew applicants from all eight Great Lakes watershed states. Twelve one-year projects are set to begin summer 2012 across the region, taking place around all five Great Lakes.

Great Lakes B-WET programs are grounded in the Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences (MWEE) that form the core of all B-WET projects around the country. Much more than self-contained field trips, or individual hands-on activities, MWEEs weave together classroom learning with field experiences. They are sustained activities that take place throughout the year. MWEEs also align with state, regional and national standards of learning.

Students seining in the Lake Huron watershed. Students seining as part of a long-term fisheries monitoring project on the Trout River in the Lake Huron watershed.

To better address Great Lakes issues and to achieve the goal of leaving the Great Lakes better for the next generation, in addition to providing MWEEs, B-WET projects also align with the goals, strategies and principles of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan and the Great Lakes Literacy Principles .

Funds are available for eligible applicants throughout the Great Lakes watersheds in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. This includes K-12 public and independent schools and school systems, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, state or local government agencies, and Indian tribal governments. To learn more about the Great Lakes B-WET Program, contact Cathy Green: cathy.green@noaa.gov or visit http://thunderbay.noaa.gov/B-WET.

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