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Updated February 25, 2014

We anticipate running another funding opportunity for NOAA's Environmental Literacy Grant Program in the fall of 2014. Please check here and at for more details. If you would like to receive email announcements regarding all future funding opportunities, please send a message to, titled "Add to ELG mailing list".

NOAA's Office of Education advances public environmental literacy and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through the Environmental Literacy Grants (ELG) Program. The ELG Program is a competitive grants program that supports formal and informal/non-formal education projects implemented on regional to national scales. The ELG Program’s primary mission is to increase the understanding and use of environmental information to promote stewardship and increase informed decision making by U.S. educators, students, and the public, which directly contributes to NOAA’s mission.

The ELG Program is the longest standing and most comprehensive national grants program focused on environmental literacy, and through this focus, makes a distinctive contribution to STEM education.


Download one page summary of the ELG Program

Join the ELG mailing list

Since its inception in 2005, twelve Environmental Literacy Grant (ELG) funding opportunities have been issued. The ELG program typically offers funding opportunities on an annual basis with award amounts ranging from $200,000 to $1.5 million. Eligible organizations can apply for ELG funding opportunities via For information about current and former ELG awards, visit the "Awards" tab. You can also subscribe to our mailing list by sending an email to, or contact the Office of Education Grants Team at 202-482-0793.

NOAA Announces New Environmental Literacy Grants

Updated September 9, 2013

NOAA’s Office of Education is pleased to announce awards totaling one million dollars to four aquariums this year as part of the Environmental Literacy Grants competition for Building Capacity of Informal and Formal Educators. These awards compose one collaborative project, titled "Visualizing Change: Training and Tools to Support Informal Educators".

This project will build educator capacity in the aquarium community and informal science education field to more effectively communicate about climate change and its impact on coastal zones and marine life. It will utilize NOAA datasets and visualizations in providing interpreters with training and strategic framing communication tools based on the best available social and cognitive research. The objectives of the project are to: (1) develop and test four exemplary interpretive "visual narratives" that integrate research-based strategic communication with NOAA data visualization resources; (2) test the application of the visual narratives in a variety of geographic regions and institution types (aquarium, science center, etc.) using multiple technology platforms; (3) build a professional development program for climate change interpretation with data visualization; and (4) leverage existing networks for dissemination and peer support. The three-year project will start on October 1, 2013.

The four awards that make up the collaborative project are to the following:

  • New England Aquarium (lead institution) in Boston, MA for $518,066
  • National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD for $185,752
  • Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA for $174,431
  • Seattle Aquarium in Seattle, WA for $121,751

Please see the Awards tab on this page for more information about this project, as well as previous ELG projects and competitions. If you would like to receive email announcements of future ELG competitions, please send an email to with the subject "Add to Listserve".


Past Funding Opportunities

For a complete list of past funding opportunities please visit the "Awards" tab.

Searchable List of Awards

Click here to access a searchable list of awards

Funding Competition History

Below you will find links to past funding opportunity announcements and award announcements for NOAA Environmental Literacy Grant (ELG) competitions. Please note that these are archival materials and more recent funding announcement materials will supersede policies, forms, templates and support materials found in the links listed below.

Informal/Nonformal Education

2013: ELG for Building Capacity of Informal and Formal Educators
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2012: Ocean Education Partnership Grants (NOAA-SEC-OED-2012-2003333)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2010: ELG for Informal/Nonformal Education: (NOAA-SEC-OED-2010-2002248)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2009: Ocean Education Grants for AZA Aquariums (NOAA-SEC-OED-2009-2001842)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2009: ELG for Science On a Sphere Network Capacity Building (SEC-OED-2009-2001662)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2008: ELG for Spherical Display Systems for Earth Systems Science-Installations & Content (SEC-OED-2008-2001089)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2007: ELG for Free-choice Learning (SEC-OED-2007-2000859)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2006: Science On a Sphere Installation Cooperative Agreements (USEC-OED-2006-2000625)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2006: Environmental Literacy (SEC-OED-2006-2000467)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2005: Environmental Literacy (USEC-OESD-2005-2000118)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

Formal (K-12) Education

2013: ELG for Building Capacity of Informal and Formal Educators
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2011/2012:  ELG for Formal K-12 Education (NOAA-SEC-OED-2011-2002608)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2008/2009: ELG for Formal K-12 Education (SEC-OED-2009-2001282)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2007: ELG for Formal K-12 Education (SEC-OED-2007-2000863)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2006: Environmental Literacy (SEC-OED-2006-2000467)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

2005: Environmental Literacy (USEC-OESD-2005-2000118)
Funding Announcement | List of awards

To date, NOAA’s Office of Education has awarded 80 ELG awards totaling nearly $37 million. The ELG Program is notably competitive, with only about 13% of the 610 applications that have been sent for peer review ultimately receiving funding.

The Environmental Literacy Grants Program’s nationwide network of grantees includes museums, science centers, aquariums, universities, non-profit organizations, state agencies, and professional societies. More than 29 million people per year visit informal learning institutions with exhibits and programs funded through ELG (e.g., Science On a Sphere™), and millions of K-12 teachers, informal educators, students, youth and adult audiences have been served by instructional materials, professional development, and hands-on activities supported by ELG awards.

For a PDF version of these graphs, download a copy here.

The NOAA Environmental Literacy Grants program has awarded an average of 10 new competitive education grants per year since 2005. In Fiscal Year 2012, ELG provided funding for 8 new awards supporting service-learning activities for K-12 students and professional development programs for K-12 and informal educators.
Between 2005 and 2012, the NOAA Environmental Literacy Grants program awarded $36.8 million in grants to 60 museums, aquariums, science centers, universities, and other nonprofit organizations all over the United States.
Institutions and Visitorship
Number of Institutions Funded through ELG Total Annual Visitorship of Informal Science Education Institutions with an ELG-funded exhibit or program:
60 29,488,189


Total Funding
Total Funding Awarded through the ELG Program, FY05-FY12: $36,779,339
The NOAA Environmental Literacy Grants program supports STEM learning by providing funding for formal and informal education projects implemented on regional to national scales, with the goal of increasing environmental stewardship and informed decision-making among public and K-12 audiences.

NOAA Assets

NOAA assets are resources, services, or sites that are used to support NOAA's mission and to communicate NOAA research, data, information, and knowledge to the public. These include education materials and programs, data sets and visualizations, subject matter experts, facilities, and managed natural resource areas.

Grants Dos and Don'ts

This document provides guidance created by NOAA’s Office of Education on how to write and submit grant applications.

Science On a Sphere Users Collaborative Network

The institutions that currently have NOAA's Science On a Sphere, as well as other partners who are creating content and educational programming for these systems, have formed a collaborative network. This network provides a mechanism for these institutions to work together to maximize the effectiveness of spherical display systems as Earth system science education platforms.

Tri-Agency Climate Change Education Collaboration

NSF, NASA, and NOAA have significant investments in projects that focus on increasing public understanding of climate science and improving the quality and effectiveness of climate change education in formal and informal learning environments. To minimize duplication of effort, foster synergy among the different projects, leverage existing resources, and facilitate communication between the growing community of scientists and educators engaged in climate change education, the three agencies actively coordinate with each other and convene regular joint PI meetings.

To facilitate the sharing of resources across the climate education community, a searchable Tri-Agency Climate Education (TrACE) catalog has been developed. TrACE lists educational products and resources generated by over 120 climate change education projects funded through competitive NASA, NOAA, and NSF awards. To visit the TrACE catalog, click here.