September 19, 2018

$2 Million Awarded to Environmental Education Centers in Urban Communities

Groups in New York City, Yonkers, Albany and Troy Selected to Receive Environmental Justice Funds

Environmental Justice grants totaling $2 million have been awarded to four organizations for Urban Environmental Education Centers in New York City, Yonkers, Albany, and Troy, NY. The grants are from the State’s Environmental Protection fund and will support community-based efforts to educate urban residents about environmental issues.

“We will continue to invest in environmental education in New York’s underserved communities as we work to help inform and inspire residents,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is dedicated to furthering our environmental investments and initiatives that protect all New Yorkers, creating a cleaner and greener future for all.”

“These grants will fund community-based programs focused on educating New Yorkers about how to protect the environment and improve the health of their communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This funding will provide New Yorkers with the opportunity to learn about environmental issues and help promote a sustainable clean energy future. In New York we are advancing aggressive energy goals to reduce carbon emissions and raise awareness about climate change to secure a cleaner and greener environment for generations to come.”

Administered by the State Department of Environmental Conservation with funds from New York’s Environmental Protection Fund, the grants were awarded to:

  • Media Alliance, Inc., Troy, NY – $250,000 to create the NATURE Lab Urban Environmental Education Center, a critical resource for the North Troy Art, Technology and Urban Research in Ecology Program.  
  • Radix Ecological Sustainability Center, Albany, NY – $422,410 to expand the current educational facilities at the Radix Center by constructing an Ecological Justice Literacy Classroom.  
  • Groundwork Hudson Valley, Yonkers, NY – $577,589 to upgrade the Science Barge to include aquaponics, water sanitization, wildlife observation, and outdoor classrooms.  
  • WE ACT for Environmental Justice, New York, NY – $750,000 to develop an Urban Environmental Education Center that will provide free education programming for northern Manhattan residents.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Supporting community-based efforts to inform communities about environmental quality and environmental justice is essential, and I’m proud of New York’s sustained efforts to provide environmental education. Through historic investments in the Environmental Protection Fund, Governor Cuomo is introducing innovative Environmental Justice efforts in communities across the state. The Education Center grants announced today will provide new opportunities for New Yorkers in our cities to learn about environmental challenges, sustainability, and more, while supporting the work of community organizations as they promote environmental equity in their neighborhoods.” 

The Urban Environmental Education Center grants were announced in Governor Cuomo’s 2017 State of the State address. In 2017, $1 million was made available to fund education centers that would explore a broad range of topics such as urban ecology, environmental justice challenges, green technology, and urban environmental sustainability. An additional $1 million was made available in 2017 in response to the numerous proposals received during the application period.

Senator Tom O’Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, “Investments in environmental education and community awareness are critical to New York State’s overall strategy to secure enhanced sustainability, resiliency and a stronger environmental future.”

Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, said, “Environmental education is one of the cornerstones of continuing to live and thrive in a clean and healthy environment. These organizations will be able to help their communities advocate for environmental justice, sustainability and conservation at the local level. I am pleased that New York is making this critical investment to ensure that local communities are knowledgeable about these subjects and are on the forefront of understanding and tackling the overarching issue of climate change.”

Steve Pierce, Media Alliance Executive Director, said, “This support to build an urban environmental education center offers an extraordinary opportunity to a long-neglected, ecologically devastated community with incredible human and natural resources. Environmental justice has been a long time coming to North Central Troy. This grant plants a seed-we know change is going to come.”

Scott Kellogg, the Educational Director for The Radix Ecological Sustainability Center said, “By building an environmental justice literacy classroom, the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center will be able to greatly expand the range of educational programming that it currently provides and will become better equipped to advocate for equitable and just sustainability in Albany and beyond.”

Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said, “We thank Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for their generous gift, which will enable WE ACT to educate the next generation of environmental leaders in the skills and knowledge needed to combat climate change and address environmental health issues throughout Northern Manhattan. In addition to providing New Yorkers with a platform for hands-on environmental education programs and resources, the Urban Environmental Education Center will enable us to build on our 30-year legacy of leadership in the environmental justice movement, serving as a nexus for urban environmental initiatives and a hub for community mobilization and knowledge-based action that addresses the needs of low-income communities and communities of color.”

Brigitte Griswold, Executive Director of Groundwork Hudson Valley, said, “Groundwork Hudson Valley is thrilled to receive this unprecedented grant to complete much needed repairs and renovations to the Science Barge, a fully sustainable off the grid floating environmental education center located on the Hudson river. Funding will also support efforts to weatherize our Greenhouse to extend our educational and growing season. This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Science Barge on the Yonkers waterfront, and I can think of no better way to celebrate this milestone than this incredible announcement.”

For more information on the Environmental Justice Grants Program, visit the DEC website at or contact the DEC Office of Environmental Justice at 518-402-8556.


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