MWA Receives $30,000 in Education Funding

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has awarded MWA a grant to continue expanding our outdoor education programs in the Youghiogheny River watershed!

Over the past 30 years, we’ve provided educational activities at local events, visited classrooms, and implemented workshops.

In 2022, we received our first PA DEP Environmental Education grant to support and expand our afterschool program and our free, outdoor equipment and environmental education lending library.

Through the 2023 grant we received from the DEP, we have continued curating the lending library for traditional and non-traditional educators to borrow materials for programs they’re developing or programs with pre-written lesson plans and curriculum. (These materials include: pelts of native mammals, bird skull replicas, plant and bird identification guides, fishing poles, waders, stream exploration kits, water quality testing materials, orienteering materials, and so much more.) These materials are all free to borrow for a two-week period for anyone who is wanting to explore nature and needs additional support.

With the 2024 grant, we are able to support our education team in traveling to schools, after school programs, libraries, scout groups, and community centers to provide nature programming to the community.

We’ll also be developing additional educational programs to help communities learn about native amphibians, pollinators, decomposers, and watersheds. This is in addition to the programs we already offer, such as Build a Beaver Dam, Stream Exploration, Learn to Fish, Birds and Beaks, Mammals of the Watershed, Birds of Prey, Owls and Pellets, Life of a Water Droplet, and more.

This grant also allows us to expand our lending library. We will soon add materials for recreational activities such as snowshoeing, canoeing, cleanups on the Youghiogheny River, and service-learning trips for students. 

One amazing activity that is funded by the DEP grants is our FREE annual Family Field Day at Laurel Hill State Park with support from the park rangers. We’ll have free fishing, canoeing and kayaking, nature walks, educational stations, and crafts from 10am-3pm on June 15th, 2024 at the Willis Pavilion. This family friendly event is open to everyone! 

We’re excited to further grow outdoor education opportunities in the broader communities of the Youghiogheny River and southwest Pennsylvania with PA DEP’s continued support!

More than anything, our goal is to deepen the connection between individuals and their environment, raise awareness about environmental impacts, and empower residents of all ages to take action for environmental justice.