About the Program

Through federal funding opportunities of up to $5,000, NOAA Planet Stewards supports educators working in formal and informal educational settings to carry out hands-on action-based stewardship projects with elementary through college age students, as well as the general public. Stewardship projects must make a substantive, measurable impact on an environmental issue related to the educator’s community. Projects should focus on the conservation, restoration, and/or protection of human communities and/or natural resources from environmental issues in one of the four focus areas identified below.

Educators requesting support from NOAA Planet Stewards must submit an application and supporting documents by midnight (Eastern), June 6, 2021. Applicants will be contacted regarding the status of their submission no later than July 30, 2021. If approved, educators may use the funds to carry out their project during the 2021/2022 academic year.

Educators leading stewardship projects will be required to send a detailed progress report every six months until the project is completed. For the 2021/2022 academic year, the first report is due by midnight (Eastern), February 27, 2022. A final report must be submitted within one month of completing the project, but no later than August 31, 2022.

Field day cleanup at Waikaloa Beach, where 32 pounds of marine debris was removed.

Field day cleanup at Waikaloa Beach, where 32 pounds of marine debris was removed.

Educators completing their stewardship project and all reporting requirements may be invited to:

  • Represent NOAA Planet Stewards at a national science education conference or NOAA Planet Stewards workshops to offer a formal presentation of their work. Financial support is provided for this opportunity.
  • Receive invitations to special events and/or face-to-face professional development opportunities.
  • Publish their work in The Earth Scientist, the peer-reviewed journal of the National Earth Science Teachers Association.

2021/2022 Focus Areas

The four stewardship project focus areas for the 2021/2022 academic year are:

  • Marine debris
  • Habitat conservation and restoration
  • Carbon footprint reduction
  • Carbon sequestration

Visit our Focus Area Resources page for more information about these topics and resources to consider when planning a project:

Focus Area Resources


The NOAA Planet Stewards program is open to all formal and informal educators working with elementary through college age students, as well as the general public.

Preference will be given to:

  • Educators actively working in pairs or groups.
  • Educators proposing projects that engage multiple classrooms, grade bands, entire schools, or multiple schools.
  • Educators with organizational leadership roles, skills, or other activities that give the applicant an advantage in completing their project.
  • Projects engaging partners external to the submitting educator’s school or organization, especially partners that provide tangible in-kind support.
  • Projects designed/with plans to persist beyond the federal funding period.

Individuals who have previously been awarded funds by NOAA Planet Stewards may submit applications for funding to implement stewardship projects in subsequent years. These applications must either be significantly different from previously funded projects, or significantly expand the scope or impact of their previously funded project (e.g., involve significantly more/different types of students and/or members of the community, increase the quantitative impact of their project, etc.).

If an educator currently completing a stewardship project would like to apply for funding for the subsequent year, they must have already submitted a progress report and supporting documents that show significant progress in their current project.

Funding Conditions

NOAA Planet Stewards funds are disbursed to support the implementation of stewardship projects and must be directly applied toward resources and activities leading toward the successful completion of the project. Funds cannot be used for salaries (except for substitute teachers in formal education settings), transportation/lodging/fees for attendance at professional conferences or personal professional development, or overhead costs.

NOAA Planet Stewards project funds will only be allocated to a school or school district, not for profit organization, or institution affiliated with the educator applicants. Funds will not be directly allocated to educators.

Applying for Funding

To apply for NOAA Planet Stewards funding, start with our application process resources — here you will find more details about the application process and supporting documents on how to develop a project plan:

Application Process