UL, in partnership with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), announced the five recipients of this year’s annual UL Innovative Education Award (ULIEA). These non-profit organizations have made a difference in their communities through their work to advance environmental education via STEM principles (E-STEM). As a result, they will each receive a monetary award between $25,000 and $100,000 and join an impressive network of likeminded ULIEA alumni. In addition, the winners will be paired with UL employees, including science, engineering and technical experts, to help build upon their existing successes.

This year’s grand prize winner and recipient of $100,000 is Oakland-based Techbridge Girls. Serving hundreds of girls across several states, the Techbridge Girls ChangeMakers program opens up the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to underserved girls with hands-on environmental projects. The other 2018 award winners include:

Ocean Discovery Institute ($50,000 award recipient): A San Diego-based non-profit that uses marine science to empower students (third grade through college) from a single urban community to become conservation leaders by offering tuition-free science education.

Sweet Water Foundation ($50,000 award recipient): A Chicago-based non-profit that empowers youth to better understand the urban ecological environment and take the reins in improving their communities through gardening, urban farming, neighborhood beautification and more.

‘Alala Reintroduction Community Inquiry Program ($25,000 award recipient): Spearheaded by San Diego Zoo Global, this program provides Hawaii-based students with the opportunity to help reintroduce the ‘Alala (Hawaiian Crow) that is currently extinct in the wild, while also learning about its ecological significance.

Groundswell Michigan ($25,000 award recipient): A Michigan-based non-profit organization that supports educators who want to move beyond classroom walls to teach students about real-world problem-solving in the environment.

ULIEA is open each year to nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Canada that advance E-STEM, sustainable communities and youth empowerment. This year, there were applicants from 33 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. The proposals submitted as part of the 2018 program were particularly impressive and exhibited the measurable impact each program has had on its participants.