BOSTON — Two New Bedford energy and environmental education programs were among 32 such programs at Massachusetts schools and nonprofits honored today at a State House ceremony, as part of the 24th Annual Secretary's Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education.

Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School's Environmental Engineering Program was recognized for "Water We Going to Do, Walking in Your Watershed for a Cleaner World" (grades 9-12).

Also honored was the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra's "The Orchestra as Ecosystem," by students in grades 2-7 across more than 40 schools, led by Learning in Concert Education Director Terry Wolkowicz.

“The environmental programs and educators honored today provide hands-on learning opportunities in STEM fields that prepare their students for success,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration is proud to recognize the dedicated Massachusetts teachers and nonprofit educators who go above and beyond what is required to get their students interested in studying energy and the environment."

“Environmental and energy education programs teach our children important scientific and critical-thinking skills, as well as show them how they can make a difference in their communities and schools,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These extraordinary educators are proactively preparing their students to be our future environmental stewards.”

Winners competed for $5,000 in awards, funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust with the intention to fund further environmental education initiatives at the schools. EEA solicited Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education Award nominations in early 2017. Schools and organizations that voluntarily incorporate environmental education into public or private school curricula are given priority.

“The initiatives we are recognizing today range from garden projects and outdoor classroom programs, to watershed and vernal pool projects, to teaching about the environment through art and music,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “As we face many ongoing environmental challenges, including a changing climate, it is more important than ever that we prioritize environmental literacy and teach the next generation the importance of protecting our natural resources.”

The project applications were scored by the Secretary’s Advisory Group on Energy and Environmental Education, a group of environmental educators from state agencies, non-profits, industry and academia.

--Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs