San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy awarded $90,000

The Encinitas-based San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy was awarded a $90,000 grant to boost environmental education about the Escondido Creek watershed, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday.

According to the EPA, the conservancy will teach more than 1,500 third-through fifth-graders about how to protect the watershed.

“This project will unleash much youthful energy and creativity in support of our local watersheds,” said Alexis Strauss, the EPA’s acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest.

The students will take part in field trips and family weekend stewardship events. The funding will also provide professional development for teachers, and advanced education trainings for docents and teacher guides.

The program is also expected to reach more than 50 teachers and 300 family members of students. The conservancy will partner with Central and Felicita elementary schools, San Diego Gas & Electric, the state Coastal Conservancy and the California Coastal Commission on the project.

Among the environmental challenges at the Escondido Creek watershed are improper waste and oil disposal, runoff, trash and litter, sewage and climate change. Officials said many of the problems can be addressed through educational programs that teach kids how to care for their environment from an early age.

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