An SDG&E service truck, Image from videoSan Diego Gas & Electric started its 10th annual “Environmental Champions” grant program Tuesday to support nonprofit organizations improving the environment in San Diego and southern Orange counties, the utility company announced.

Nonprofits with programs that incorporate climate science education while working to improve water quality, reduce waste and enhance natural habitats are invited to apply online now through April 24. Grants will range from $2,500 to $25,000 for individual programs and projects.

SDG&E plans to announce the grant recipients early this summer. This year, funding will also support urban greening projects, including tree planting and habitat restoration.

The Environmental Champions grant program is part of SDG&E’s efforts to support nonprofits and climate science education and build healthier communities.

“Our commitment to our customers goes beyond providing clean, safe and reliable service,” said Estela de Llanos, SDG&E’s vice president of clean transportation, sustainability, and chief environmental officer. “When we partner with organizations that share common goals to address climate change, clean the air and enhance education, we can transform our communities together.”

The Escondido Creek Conservancy is a past recipient of the Environmental Champion funds for the “Trout in the Classroom” program, which allows students to raise rainbow trout from eggs to fingerlings and learn habitat conservation.

“Thanks to sustained funding from SDG&E, our program has expanded over the years,” said Simon Breen, conservancy education director. “The support means our students can learn to raise and care for a delicate living thing, and what the species needs to survive. In doing so, children discover the importance of watershed health, and become motivated to become guardians of the creek.”

Nonprofits can apply at www.sdge.com/environmental-champions-initiative.

–City News Service

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