Teachers travel from “The Mountains to the Gulf” to better understand watershed.

MONTGOMERY-The Gulf of Mexico Alliance awarded $19,700 to the Environmental Education Association of Alabama for the project From the Mountains to the Gulf: Helping Teachers Make Connections. Twenty teachers will be recruited to participate in a workshop where they will follow the headwaters in north Alabama to the Gulf to study the water, geology and ecology of the state. Partners include: McDowell Environmental Center, Alabama State Department of Education, Jacksonville State University’s (JSU) Environmental Policy & Information Center, JSU Field Schools, JSU Little River Canyon Center, Dauphin Island Sea Lab-Discovery Hall Program, Auburn University Fisheries Department and Dragonfly Environmental Education Program.

Margaret Johnson, project manager and Director of McDowell Environmental Center, commented: “We’ve had the idea for this project for awhile now and I’m glad to have received the funding to make it happen! By visiting many sites, testing streams, getting their hands dirty, and witnessing the issues our water faces these teachers will learn ways to help Alabama’s waters, including the Gulf!”

As the result of a shared vision for a healthy and resilient Gulf of Mexico region, the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas formalized the Gulf of Mexico Alliance in 2004. The Alliance recognizes the economy and quality of life for citizens of the Gulf are linked to its ecological health. Through the collaborative leadership of local, state and federal government partners, and the active participation of businesses and non-governmental organizations, the Alliance is addressing six priority issues facing the Gulf region. The Governor’s Action Plan for Healthy & Resilient Coasts, endorsed by all five Governors, outlines specific actions needed to achieve the Alliance’s mission. To view the Action Plan and learn about the priority issues visit www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org.

This project received funding through a competitive grant process. Funding provides for environmental education projects which address goals outlined in the Governors Action Plan.

Margaret concluded: “Thanks to these funds teachers will learn about the environmental and economic issues that affect the waters we drink and the air we breathe, as well as our intentional and unintentional contributions to the Gulf of Mexico. With tragedies like the oil spill, we realize even more the importance of educators bringing knowledge back to the classroom to encourage action toward a healthier Gulf.”

Funding Details:
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), on behalf of the State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Coastal Section, wrote and successfully received a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Services Center (NOAA CSC) for environmental education with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA). This grant allows funding for Gulf-wide environmental education. This press release presents year two of the award. Overall, $200,000 was distributed among fifteen projects. In the 2009 cycle, seventeen projects were funded totaling $225,000. Projects can be found at www.gulfallianceeducation.org