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Rowan University has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection for an environmental education project in Camden focusing on climate change, air quality and “urban greening” to build a healthier community. 

Rowan University’s project, “Greening of Camden: Educating, Empowering, and Enriching Communities for Climate Action and Cleaner Air,” was one of three to receive $100,000 grants in the New York-New Jersey area, according to the EPA announcement on Tuesday.  

The EPA also awarded $100,000 grants to two New York City-based organizations: Trail Blazers for its climate literacy programming for children and teens in Brooklyn; and New York Sun Works, for its climate education project in eight New York City public schools. 

Nationwide, the EPA has selected 38 organizations to receive over $3.6 million in funding for projects under the Environmental Education Grants Program, the agency said. 

“Advancing environmental education advances EPA’s mission because it better equips our communities with the information they need to protect public health today and in the future,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said. 

“This year’s environmental education grant recipients will work in underserved communities across the country to foster a deeper understanding of environmental challenges and inspire action towards sustainable solutions.”    

The Camden project will utilize urban greening initiatives, such as tree planting, nature-based solutions and urban gardening, to help address the impacts of climate change and pollution in Camden. The city is considered an environmental justice overburdened community because its residents face health risks from industrial air pollution, transportation centers and heavy truck traffic on nearby highways, the EPA said. 

The project, which will be led by Rowan University in collaboration with Cooper Medical School and five nonprofit community partners, is geared toward students in grades 6-12, as well as elementary school teachers serving low-income students, according to the grant application. Rowan University hopes the project will raise local environmental literacy and empower Camden residents to mitigate air quality problems through urban greening.