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EarthEcho International Congratulates the Recipients of the NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grant

The NEA Foundation has announced educators and students in five schools from across the country as the recipients of $2,000 Student Achievement Grants offered in conjunction with EarthEcho’s Water Planet Challenge program (  The grant recipient projects range from an adopt-a-stream program to turtle conservation. Recipients will have access to Water Planet Challenge’s rich online resources, including: step-by-step action guides, video segments, discussion guides, and downloadable resources.

“Today’s youth are engaged and committed to finding solutions to the challenges facing the environment,” said Philippe Cousteau, President of EarthEcho International. “The NEA Foundation grants help educators and students turn this passion into action, one community at a time.”

“With these grants, we are supporting educator- driven solutions that contribute to improved student performance in public schools,” said Harriet Sanford, president and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “Our support enables educators to engage in a wide variety of innovative approaches to the benefit of students across the country.” 

Grant Recipient Projects

Rebecca Farrow and Erica Hooper, of Siegel High School, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee – The project will help agriculture students to gain experience in water conservation techniques by designing and planting a riparian buffer along a local creek. Students will assess the need for reducing runoff and increasing infiltration for a limestone dominated landscape. Farrow and Hooper will provide the service learning opportunity as part of their agri-science and landscaping classes and will share the outcomes of the project with the local school board, colleagues, and members of the community.

Cecilia Arellano, a fourth and fifth grade teacher, and Meghan Wamsley, of Stagg Street Elementary School in Van Nuys, California – Grade level standards will take on new meaning as students are introduced to the Los Angeles Conservation Corp’s Sea Lab through the “Science is Real Life” project. Students will see the water cycle in action through direct observation and discussion. Participation in active science laboratories will allow students to become immersed in scientific lessons and make connections between the lessons and their own lives.

Matthew McKenry and Christian Skultety, of Chambersburg Area High School, in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania – McKenry and Skultety’s “Adopt-a-Stream” classroom project aims to improve student achievement in genetic and ecology lessons and foster a conservation ethic in students. Students will take care of and monitor a local stream in order to determine its health and will propose steps to conserve and improve the aquatic resource. Project participants will raise trout in the classroom to investigate growth and development and analyze ecological relationships between living and nonliving entities in an aquatic ecosystem.

Elizabeth Joki and Brian Blake, of JFK Middle School, in Hudson, Massachusetts – The project will enable students to participate in the conservation of the Blanding’s turtle, a threatened species in eastern Massachusetts. In collaboration with wildlife biologists, students will raise and care for hatchlings which will be released upon maturation and tracked via radio transmitters. Students will learn about scientific research methods, turtle ecology and biology, and the complexities of species conservation.

Georgina Anderson, an eighth grade science teacher, and Nicole Mike, of Middlesboro Middle School in Middlesboro, Kentucky – Anderson and Mike will lead eighth grade students in improving a neglected waterway that passes through the school campus. By removing non-native, invasive species and replacing them with native plants, students will improve the quality of water being emptied into Yellow Creek. Students will also encourage the growth of populations of diverse native bird species and build bat boxes to provide shelter for beneficial bats in the area. Anderson’s grant project aims to promote environmental education, knowledge of wetland ecosystems, and pride in the students’ school and community.

A team of 20 educators, many of whom are former grantees, carefully reviewed all applications and evaluated each one against a set of criteria. Funded grants were selected for the quality of the proposed ideas and their potential for enhancing student achievement. 

About NEA Foundation Grants

Nationwide, the NEA Foundation announced that it is awarding 49 grants totaling $197,000 to support educators’ efforts to improve teaching and learning. The NEA Foundation awards two primary categories of grants to public education professionals: Student Achievement Grants for initiatives to improve academic achievement, and Learning and Leadership Grants for high-quality professional development activities.

The NEA Foundation has invested more than $8.6 million in grants to support the work of almost 4,000 educators from every state in the country to help students succeed. Each year, the Foundation awards approximately 150 Student Achievement and Learning & Leadership Grants. To learn about these educators’ projects, visit our searchable grantee database.

The Foundation awards its grants to educators three times a year.  The next grant deadline is February 1, 2012.  Application forms and a video with step by step instructions on how to apply can be found at

For more information about the NEA Foundation visit