BPA offering $20000 in science and energy education grants

Portland, Ore. – The Bonneville Power Administration is offering $20,000 in science and energy education grants to nonprofit organizations, schools and others in support of work to educate students in grades K through 12 about the energy systems of the Pacific Northwest.

The goal of the program is to advance students’ understanding, awareness and interest in the issues and science involved in energy generation and transmission in the region.

Funded projects could focus on hydroelectricity, wind and other sources of electric power, methods of conserving electricity, studies of energy and environment, programs on engineering and technology skills relating to energy, and others. The intent of the grants is to support science, technology, engineering and math education with specific emphasis on electric-utility issues.

“Science, technology, engineering and math education is absolutely vital to the energy industry in the Northwest, and this program represents an investment in future innovators, leaders and workforce in that industry,” said Greg Delwiche, BPA deputy administrator.

A total of $20,000 will be awarded. BPA anticipates making five to 10 grants ranging from $500 to $5,000.

The educational grant program is in its third year. Projects funded in 2013-2014 were:

Martin Sortun Elementary School, Kent, Wash. – $1,400 for energy robotics kits and teacher training that engaged 360 students in third through sixth grade in energy concepts such as energy transfer, generation, operation of the electric grid, and renewable energy.

Central Klickitat Conservation District, Goldendale, Wash. – $2,314 for a comprehensive program of classroom instruction and field trips on electric energy and conservation in the Northwest for 540 students in seventh through 12th grade.

Yakima Basin Environmental Education Program, Yakima Basin, Wash. – $2,500 for classroom visits and field trips for 700 students in fourth through 10th grade in Yakima and Kittitas counties. Students learned about the life cycle of the salmon and operations of the river to meet multiple demands, capped off with a field trip to see the historic return of salmon to Cle Elum Lake for the first time in 100 years.

Polson Middle School, Polson, Mont. – $2,134 for a school-wide sixth-grade science education project focusing on energy stewardship, including experiments, building models, collecting data, and developing reports and conclusions about alternative sources of energy. Students presented their findings in a “Creativity Showcase” event for families and the community.

Benton Conservation District, Kennewick, Wash. – $3,700 for “Salmon Power!” where students raised tanks of salmon in their classroom, studied hydroelectric generation and dam operations, and learned how their actions can conserve electricity and aid salmon.

Springfield School District, Springfield, Ore. – $3,120 for materials and teacher training for a project that allowed 1,000 sixth graders and 140 high school physics and engineering students to build, test and modify a small-scale hydropower generator.

Clackamas County Friends of Extension, Clackamas County, Ore. – $5,000 to develop and administer the state’s first curriculum on renewable energy and energy conservation topics designed to meet state science and engineering education standards. The project reached 1,000 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students in Clackamas County.

The Science and Energy Education grants program, which is one facet of a much larger education outreach program by BPA, was designed to extend the reach of BPA’s education efforts by supporting the teachers and nonprofits working locally to advance energy education.

Funding can be awarded to school districts, government agencies and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. The recipients must be from, and funding used in, BPA service territory in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and parts of Montana, Nevada and Wyoming.

Applications for project funding are due May 9, and funding will be awarded in June for projects taking place over the 2014-2015 school year. For complete terms and instructions on completing a science and energy education grant proposal, please visit: www.bpa.gov/goto/EducationGrants.

BPA’s education program provides free presentations and information to K-12 schools in our region to help students achieve energy literacy, and to support science, technology, engineering and math education. For information on BPA education programs, go to www.bpa.gov/goto/Education.

BPA is a nonprofit federal agency that markets renewable hydropower from federal Columbia River dams, operates three-quarters of high-voltage transmission lines in the Northwest and funds one of the largest wildlife protection and restoration programs in the world. BPA and its partners have also saved enough electricity through energy efficiency projects to power four large American cities.

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