Students from Southern Heights Elementary School discover dog whelk snails at Seahurst Beach.
Communities in Burien, Des Moines and SeaTac will soon enjoy new and expanded environmental projects benefiting high school students, parks and gardens as the Port of Seattle this week awarded its fifth round of grants provided by the Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Fund.
Here’s more from the Port:
The ACE Fund offers grants to organizations to improve the natural environment through projects and programs that improve livability in near-airport communities. Recognizing that communities adjacent to the airport experience more impacts from operations, the Port of Seattle Commission directed the program offer additional environmental benefits to neighborhoods in Burien, Des Moines, and SeaTac.
“These community-led projects coming to Burien, Des Moines, and SeaTac will bolster environmental education and programming in meaningful, hands-on ways for airport neighbors,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins. “In its third year the ACE grants supported both returning grantees and first-time projects, demonstrating the need to continue community outreach and encouraging environmental activists to apply.”
“The Environmental Science Center (ESC) is very grateful for the Port of Seattle’s ACE grant,” said Kelly Steffen, Grants and Programs Coordinator for ESC. “This generous funding supports our Beach Heroes Field Study, a program that ensures students have access to quality outdoor environmental education by removing barriers through fee waivers, subsidies, and covering the cost of bus transportation. For some students, it is their first time experiencing marine organisms at a low tide, even though they live within miles of the beach. This connection cultivates their sense of community and their stewardship role within it.”
Five organizations will receive a total of $45,000 in ACE Fund grants, including:
- Earth Corps will improve outdoor recreational and educational opportunities in Seahurst Park by initiating new restoration in the area between Southwest Seahurst Park Road and the upper parking lot, continue ivy removal along the park entrance road, and ongoing stewardship, monitoring and reporting of the shoreline restoration.
- Environmental Science Center will serve 50 SeaTac, Burien, and Des Moines elementary classes with an environmental education program designed to take students outside to Seahurst Beach in Burien during a low tide. Students will observe and discover the plants and animals that live in the nearshore environment, clean up trash on the beach, and learn ways to help protect these amazing habitats.
- Friends of Saltwater State Park will improve the condition of Saltwater State Park habitat and provide environmental education for park visitors, schools and community groups. The funding supports regularly hosted restoration volunteer days for invasive plant removal, marine monitoring and awareness, and community environmental education and engagement.
- Key Tech Labs will share skills with minority and under-represented youth through Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STREAM) education. Students will build a FarmBot to tend a community garden, which introduces youth to open and accessible technology and aids the community to grow food.
- North Hill Elementary School PTSA will improve recreational opportunities for the students, families, and community at North Hill Elementary School with activities that support healthy lifestyles. The funding supports building a walking and running track around the existing grass field at the elementary school.
“For Key Tech Labs, the ACE funding allows us to connect our town and community with first-time opportunities in environmental education,” said Key Tech Labs Operations Manager and Co-Founder Andrew Powers. “This amounts to more than just a one quarter of funding but a chance to grow food, people and jobs over the upcoming years.”
This is the fifth round of funding provided by the ACE Fund. In the three years since the Commission authorized the program, the Port has funded 33 unique projects for a total of just under $285,000.
Community invited to learn about funding opportunities at the ACE Symposium!
To celebrate the success of all the ACE projects funded to date, the Port is hosting the first Airport Community Ecology Symposium on February 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Highline College.
This conference will feature three panels of presenters discussing their projects that were successfully funded by ACE grants, including navigating the grant application process and how to organize and execute environmental projects in South King County. The panels topics will include:
- Equitable Access to Healthy Food through Community Gardens
- Urban Forest Management and Restoration
- Environmental Education for Multicultural Audiences
ACE grant managers from the Port will be available to answer questions along with informal networking and peer-to-peer learning over lunch.
Registration is free and open to all. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. There is onsite child care for busy parents. Some language interpretation will be available. For event details and to register, please visit: www.portseattle.org/events/ace-symposium.