Media Release: Maine Department of Education Announces $1.8 Million Climate Education Professional Development Grant Opportunity for Maine Schools

Grants Will Allow Maine Schools to Partner with Climate and Environmental Community Organizations to Strengthen Climate Education Across the State

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) announced a new climate education professional development grant opportunity today to support the growth of climate education throughout the state, especially in underserved communities. This $1.8 million grant initiative was designed out of LD 1902, which was passed by the legislature in 2022 to establish a pilot program to encourage climate education in Maine public schools.

The pilot grant opportunity allows schools to partner with non-profit community-based organizations that play an integral role in Maine communities. This allows schools to get expert knowledge from organizations that have created, sustained, and grown an incredible framework of outdoor and environmental education opportunities and programs that are tailored to their local region’s assets and needs. These partnerships will support teachers and schools to bring climate education to more of Maine’s students.

“These grants can provide Maine educators and schools with the tools, resources, and partnerships they need to provide students with engaging, hands on climate and environmental education. From the mountains to the coast, Maine has enormous natural resources for students to explore and learn from so they can be effective environmental stewards and leaders,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin.

Priority will be given to communities historically underserved by climate education, socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, and interdisciplinary, place-based, and project-based learning focused activities. The RFA can be found here, and applications are due on November 3, 2023. A second climate education RFA will be announced early in 2024.

Maine continues to be a leader in outdoor learning and climate education. The Maine DOE’s Rethinking Responsive Education Ventures (RREV) initiative, funded through a $16.9 million federal grant, has supported the expansion of outdoor education “classrooms”, programs, professional learning, partnerships, and spaces across the state. Schools across Maine utilized federal relief funding to expand outdoor learning spaces and programs. Governor Mills’ Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative, which just concluded its second year, has provided thousands of Maine middle and high school students with coastal and inland forestry learning and career exploration opportunities during the summer. The Maine DOE recently hired a Climate Education Specialist to support and expand this work with educators, schools, and community partners across the state. You can learn more about the Maine DOE’s climate and outdoor education work here.