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Seven organizations to inspire you to action this Earth Day

By Kevin Easterly

Group photo from Save the Harbor/Save the Bay
STEM Action Grant recipients are leading important initiatives to preserve ecosystems, educate the public and more. Courtesy of Save the Harbor/Save the Bay

Earth Day may only fill one square on the calendar page, but it serves as a poignant reminder of an ideal that is true every day of the year: that we all share the vital responsibility of being stewards of our planet. Whether you are engaging in volunteer work, learning more about environmental issues or observing Earth Day in another way, we hope you are roused to take some action today. If you are searching for some inspiration, look no further than some of our most recent STEM Action Grant recipients. These community-based organizations, which the Society is proud to support, are actively working to safeguard our planet and shape the next generation of environmental conservators.

ANGARI Foundation (West Palm Beach, Florida)

ANGARI Foundation is dedicated to cultivating a global community that is interested, knowledgeable and invested in marine and environmental sciences. The organization directly supports research initiatives and builds a platform to better connect scientists to the public. A $5,000 STEM Action Grant supports ANGARI Foundation’s Coastal Ocean Explorers: Sharks program, which immerses students and teachers in hands-on marine science. The program features expedition days aboard the R/V ANGARI, a 65-foot vessel that serves as an exceptional research and education platform for science at sea.

Austin Youth River Watch (Austin, Texas)

River Watchers sitting together on the grass

Austin Youth River Watch is a nonprofit organization that creates safe places for teenagers in the Austin, Texas area to learn about environmental science through hands-on experiences. In afterschool and summer programs, their students (known as River Watchers) collect and analyze water quality data, participate in environmental restoration projects, and embark on outdoor adventures. In its second year as a STEM Action Grantee, the organization received a $5,000 grant to support its unique programs at the center of environmental education and youth development.

Mississippi Delta Nature and Learning Center (Greenwood-Greenville, Mississippi)

Three young children potting soil as part of Mississippi Delta Nature and Learning Center's programming

Recognizing the transformative power of nature education, the Mississippi Delta Nature and Learning Center creates hands-on educational experiences for children and youth in the Mississippi Delta. The grassroots organization fosters creativity, critical thinking and job training for young people and adults alike and community regenerative agriculture focused on food that grows naturally in the region. A $5,000 STEM Action Grant supports supplies for field trips and weekly STEAM activities for participants.

Norfolk Botanical Garden, Inc. (Norfolk, Virginia)

Four children posed in front of an elevated flower bed at Norfolk Botanical Garden

As the largest botanical garden in Virginia, Norfolk Botanical Garden creates opportunities for visitors of all ages to explore natural environments across its 175-acres, which is filled with thousands of blooming flowers and plants, spanning both formal gardens and natural areas. A $4,000 STEM Action Grant will allow the organization to install raised flower beds in its award-winning children’s adventure garden, World of Wonders, which will make the garden more accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Northwest Ecological Research Institute (Portland, Oregon)

Three individuals wading in murky water during NERI's programming.

The Northwest Ecological Research Institute (NERI) is a nonprofit corporation, with the mission of organizing, funding, undertaking and publicly communicating ecological research across the Pacific Northwest. NERI actively promotes environmental stewardship and knowledge through educational programs, presentations and community events. Now in its third year as a STEM Action Grant recipient, a $5,000 grant will support paid internships providing BIPOC students with mentorship, field biology experiences and the encouragement they need to pursue careers in biological sciences.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay (Boston, Massachusetts)

A group shot of program participants on the beach

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay is committed to making Boston Harbor and its surrounding habitats more inclusive, equitable, diverse and accessible for everyone. Through programs including youth education and employment initiatives, to marine wildlife safaris, the organization is committed to both conserving and raising awareness of the habitats it serves. A $5,000 grant will help expand the Bivalve Quest and Marine Invaders Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC), two units that use citizen science to inform ecologists of the abundance of both native and invasive marine species in and around the Boston Harbor.

Venture Outdoors (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Youth riding in a kayak as part of Venture Outdoors' programming.

Venture Outdoors is dedicated to removing barriers and making the outdoors more accessible to everyone. By connecting youth to outdoor exploration of environmentally focused STEM learning opportunities, Venture Outdoors aims to build a community of environmental champions who work to protect their local green spaces. Thanks in part to previous STEM Action Grant funding, the organization’s Outdoor Learning Lab youth programs have expanded to include more environmental STEM lessons. Its most recent STEM Action Grant of $5,000 will connect an even greater number of young people to these opportunities.


Kevin Easterly