Harkins, Merski: Grant of nearly $3,000 to support Erie Earth Day Festival

HARRISBURG, June 28 – A $2,955 mini grant to Gannon University will help support Erie Earth Day Festival 2020 and its efforts to raise awareness about environmental issues such as air and water quality, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced.

“The grant announced today is great news for Erie because it supports an annual event attended by so many in our community who are concerned about the environmental impact of issues like climate change,” Merski said. “Funding for the event is especially important in light of the many students who attend. As the need for conservation and protection become more evident each year, environmental education becomes an increasingly important supplement to classroom learning.”

Harkins agreed, noting that the event generates community-wide involvement.

“It’s important that we face critical, time-sensitive issues like climate change, water conservation and air quality as a community because they impact all of us,” Harkins said. “Events like the festival – which bring together local green businesses, advocates, organizations and colleges – are a great way to educate the community, generate energy, and inspire everyone to become involved.” 

The grant is one of a package of Environmental Education mini grants awarded by DEP to encourage environmental awareness in students and adults. Projects receiving priority include those that educate and empower disadvantaged communities to participate in environmental and public health issues; teach the public about emissions reduction, energy conservation, and renewable energy; and educate local officials, business owners and homeowners about ways of reducing pollution and monitoring and improving water quality.

Enacted in 1993, the Environmental Education Act mandates that 5% of all pollution fines and penalties collected annually by DEP be set aside for environmental education. Since inception of the grant program, more than $10 million in grants has been awarded to support environmental education efforts throughout Pennsylvania.