In the holiday spirit of giving, grants were doled out today to support environmental causes in Maryland and nationwide.
First, the National Environmental Education Foundation announced a $3 million grant from Toyota Motor Sales USA to help community groups that support parks and other public lands. The announcement was made at Fort McHenry here in Baltimore, with top federal environmental officials in attendance and students from Curtis Bay and Franklin Square in the audience.
"We're glad to see partnerships like these coming together to support our public parks and the lands that the American people value," Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement.
In a quick turnaround, the foundation doled out a $5,000 check to the Friends of Fort McHenry, a local nonprofit that helps organize educational programs for Baltimore students at the national monument and historic shrine.
Meanwhile in Annapolis, the Chesapeake Bay Trust announced $616,000 in grants to 48 different groups and schools throughout the bay watershed. The bulk of the grant funds were directed toward promoting "living shoreline" projects as more environmentally sensitive ways to control shore erosion than traditional hardening with bulkheads or riprap. Three-fourths of the recipients got "mini-grants" of up to $5,000 each.
The Bay Trust, which gets most of its funding from "Treasure the Chesapeake" license plate sales, expects to hand out $5 million in all this year to groups and schools.