Prevention is the ultimate solution to marine debris. In order to tackle this pervasive problem, we must stop it at its source. Since 2013, the NOAA Marine Debris Program has offered an annual nationwide competitive funding opportunity to support projects focused on marine debris prevention through education and outreach. This year, after an intensive evaluation process, we are proud to announce the 12 recipients of our 2016 awards, totaling $684,264 of funding toward marine debris prevention efforts.
This year’s funded projects are:
- Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs, Inc. ($31,900) will add a national marine debris “Creative Advocacy” category to their annual Ocean Awareness Student Contest, which will challenge middle and high school students to design, implement, and assess marine debris education, outreach, and prevention projects in their schools and communities. Students will also have the chance to win a scholarship.
- Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies ($86,512) will implement a zero-waste education and outreach campaign focused on promoting recycling and preventing single-use plastics and other land-based marine debris. The campaign will work with ten schools, local businesses, and communities throughout the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage in Alaska.
- Hudson River Community Sailing, Inc. ($32,015) will implement an afterschool education and outreach program to inspire high school students to become stewards of the Hudson Estuary in New York City. The program will include education through marine debris curricula, field trips, cleanup activities, and the creation of a marine debris display to be installed at the Hudson River Park to educate the public about marine debris impacts and prevention.
- One Cool Earth ($72,050) will implement marine debris education and student- and school-led solid waste management programs at 17 public schools in Paso Robles and Atascadero, California, to prevent land-based litter from entering the Pacific Ocean via the Salinas River.
- Pacific Whale Foundation ($25,000) will implement a public awareness campaign on the island of Maui to educate the public about marine debris from tobacco products and about the statewide ban in Hawaii of smoking on public beaches and in parks.
- Pan Isles Inc., Ship Island Excursions ($57,318) will provide teacher trainings on marine debris curriculum and enable teachers and their students to participate in field trips to West Ship Island in Gulfport, Mississippi, to conduct marine debris cleanups. In addition, high school students will be given summer internships to work with professional marine educators to teach the general public about marine debris aboard the West Ship Island ferry.
- Sea Education Association, Inc. ($96,050) will utilize their current shipboard education program to teach students about marine debris and involve them in a local marine debris campaign in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Students will conduct research on plastic reduction campaigns and then design, implement, and evaluate a campaign to educate the local community about marine debris. The goal is to promote behavior changes to reduce the use of single-use plastic items.
- Sea Turtle, Inc. ($22,565) will install a permanent, bilingual, and interactive display on marine debris in their educational facility on South Padre Island, Texas, and expand their marine debris education and outreach to include virtual, in-school, and field trip outreach sessions for elementary, middle, and high school groups. Sea Turtle, Inc. will also install educational signage at local jetties and lead community beach cleanups.
- School District of the City of Erie, Pennsylvania ($50,434) will lead a district-wide education and outreach program that incorporates marine debris education and stewardship activities into existing curricula for 4th and 5th grade students to reduce land-based marine debris.
- Trash Free Maryland ($80,000) will conduct research on littering behaviors and then use this research to develop and implement a multi-year social marketing campaign with the goal of reducing land-based litter in Baltimore, Maryland.
- University of Georgia ($31,009) will engage 7th grade students and teachers through an educational program and monthly marine debris cleanups to prevent debris from impacting the coastal ecosystem in the Golden Isles of Georgia. They will also develop a short educational film to increase environmental stewardship in the Golden Isles community.
- University of the Virgin Islands ($99,411) will modify an existing marine debris curriculum to make it more relevant to the issues in the U.S. Virgin Islands and will train teachers on the Island of St. Croix to implement the curriculum in their classrooms. The curriculum will include hands-on beach cleanup activities and the development of student-led projects such as the creation of art displays and public service announcements.