Who We Are


Chartered by Congress to build effective public-private partnerships, NEEF is harnessing the power of collaboration to make the environment more accessible, relatable, relevant, and connected to people's daily lives.

We're Here to Make a Difference

Established by the National Environmental Education Act (NEEA) in 1990, NEEF has over three decades of experience in cultivating an environmentally conscious and responsible public.

Here is how we made a difference in 2023.


NEEF raises $3 for every dollar of NEEA funding it receives


The number of people NEEF’s programs reached in 2023

How NEEF Makes an impact

Funding communities
icon of money bag with seedling growing out of it

Funding Communities

We mobilize public and private funding to support community-based projects and respond to critical and emerging needs in the fields of K-12 education, public land conservation, and health.

increasing competence
Laptop sitting on top of books

Increasing Competency

We promote environmental literacy and behavior change among groups such as public lands managers, health professionals, educators, and corporate employees, who then share this information with their own constituents and communities.

supporting diversity
Green and blue person with hands raised hold a maroon person up in a triangle formation

Supporting Diversity

We partner with educators, public lands groups, environmental organizations, local communities, and others who share our mission of making the environment more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

NEEF Grants

Total Grant Funds Awarded in 2023
Average Amount Awarded
Value of Service Completed on National Public Lands Day (NPLD) and Through NEEF Grant-Funded Projects

K-12 Education

Greening STEM projects enable youth to participate in meaningful environmental investigations in local nature, applying STEM concepts in real-world applications.

Supported by public and private donors, Greening STEM integrates grant funding with implementation support and training, empowering educators to lead projects that increase young people's understanding of STEM and environmental awareness.

In 2023, NEEF's Greening STEM projects provided visually impaired students with accessible STEM tools, promoted creativity and environmental awareness through digital storytelling, and guided youth towards careers in fields such as wildlife conservation.

It was fun seeing (Park scientists) do what I want to do in the future...It was very inspirational.

Student from Cuyahoga Valley Greening STEM project

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Greening STEM in Action

This project in Cuyahoga Valley was supported by the National Park Service and allowed students to plant native trees, study reducing tree mortality, and assess reforestation's impact on watershed health, culminating in a community event where they presented findings, shared photos, and analyzed data.

Greening STEM Success Stories

How One NEEF Grant Kickstarted an Idaho Student’s STEM Career

Abella Cathey's journey from One Stone School to Boise State University showcases the power of hands-on...

Quad Cities Students Capture Creativity Through Greening STEM Project

What role do the arts play in STEM learning? Thanks to a partnership between NEEF and Arconic Foundation...

Increasing Accessibility in STEM Learning for Visually Impaired Students

Dive into WaterViz: Accessible STEM for visually impaired students. NEEF and USDA-funded project offers a...

Greening STEM Nationwide
GreeningSTEM map showing the project pins across the United States

NEEF leverages nationwide community partnerships and equips educators with resources to create STEM learning experiences that connect with the local environment and community. Many projects provide students who lack access to outdoor experiential learning with a unique opportunity to engage deeply with STEM.

Student Outcomes

Participation in Greening STEM affects students confidence, enthusiasm, and critical thinking about science by increasing:

  • Enthusiasm & Interest - Interest in participating in similar activities or additional classes.
  • Confidence - Self-assurance in thinking and learning about, understanding, and practicing STEM.
  • Real-World Applications - Awareness of the relevance of STEM to the real world and opportunities to apply collaborative problem-solving in real-world scenarios.
  • Motivation to Pursue Science - Opportunities to develop and apply persistence and resilience, and the awareness of STEM careers and relevant educational pathways.
  • Science Thinking - Understanding connections between project activities and school subjects, and opportunities to develop and apply critical and systems thinking.
Changes in student self-perceptions from Greening STEM

Conservation Impact


NEEF's Conservation work deepens public connection to the outdoors, encouraging participation in events like National Public Lands Day (NPLD) and fostering biodiversity and resilience in these spaces. By supporting inclusivity and accessibility on public lands, we build a more welcoming environment that strengthens engagement and stewardship.

This grant’s goal of engaging community members in pollinator habitat creation allowed us to rework our approach to community engagement and better share stories of how green spaces that benefit pollinators also benefit people.​

Kathy Chambers, Director of Foundation Relations at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden​ and NEEF Biodiversity Conservation Grantee

Trail Access Project Conquers New Terrain with NEEF Grant

Thanks to a grant from NEEF, the Trail Access Project has expanded its Adaptive Hiking Program to help people...

How Olmsted Parks Conservancy Protects Biodiversity by Tackling Invasive Species

NEEF grantee Olmsted Parks Conservancy is installing a pollinator meadow in Chickasaw Park to improve...

National Public Lands Day Department of Defense Awards

For over 25 years, NEEF has partnered with the Department of Defense (DoD) on its Legacy Program to provide...

2023 Biodiversity Conservation Grantees Nurture Pollinators and Empower Communities

With major support from Toyota Motor North America, NEEF is providing $200,000 in grant funding toward the...

By the numbers

See how NEEF’s grants and National Public Lands Day efforts contributed to the improvement of our public lands nationwide this year.

Acres of Public Land Restored
Miles of Trails Maintained
Miles of Waterway Maintained
Pounds of Trash Collected
NPLD gruop shot

National Public Lands Day

On Saturday, September 23, 2023, volunteers in 46 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, joined their friends, families, and neighbors in helping to restore and improve America’s public lands as part National Public Lands Day (NPLD), the nation's largest single-day volunteer event for public lands.

This year marked the 30th annual NPLD and organizers made the most of it. Over 40,000 volunteers participated in almost 600 events across the country, featuring some of America’s most memorable and unique locations.






See Full Impact

Thank you to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who have given back to public lands over the past 30 years by maintaining trails, cleaning up trash, planting trees, and more.

 Sara Espinoza, president and CEO of NEEF 

NPLD volunteers pose for a group photo
photo iheart radio logo with NEEF
NEEF & iHeart Radio Team Up

NEEF & iHeart partnered to create a series of Public Service Announcements and a website dedicated to sustainability actions. Now in its second year, the iHeart Earth public engagement campaign, has an estimated media value of $2.4 million.

305 Million 

Number of iHeartRadio impressions in 2023

NEEF Health Impact

Environmental Health Series

NEEF partnered with the USDA Forest Service for the Cultivating Health Equity in a Changing Climate webinar series. The events discussed the complex dynamics of climate justice, systemic racism, and their profound implications for health.

  • Climate Justice and Health: Panelists, including Dr. Lisa Patel, Executive Director of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, shared practical strategies to take action, build relationships, and make meaningful contributions toward addressing these critical challenges within their communities.
  • Climate Change and Mental Health:  Special guest speaker Deputy US Surgeon General, Rear Admiral (RADM) Denise Hinton and panelists examined the mental health impacts of climate change and the role of healthcare professionals, educators, and community leaders in addressing climate emotions with youth populations.
climate change and mental health educating for resilience with Denise Hinton

The webinar series explored climate justice, systemic racism's impact on health, mental health effects of climate change, and how healthcare professionals, educators, and community leaders address climate emotions with youth, featuring Dr. Lisa Patel and Deputy US Surgeon General Rear Admiral Denise Hinton (pictured above).

Pediatric Asthma Initiative

NEEF and Hip Hop Public Health's (HHPH) EMPOWER project fuses health, music, and culture to deliver asthma management insights through original songs and videos.

Featuring rising stars Devin Cheff and Heaven White, under multi-platinum producer Q. Worthy, EMPOWER provides free, impactful and culturally relevant resources via HHPH's Learning Studio for healthcare providers and educators.

Pediatric Asthma Course Outcomes

NEEF's online course, Environmental Management of Pediatric Asthma, reaches health professionals through the CDC and the National Association of School Nurses.

[I will] incorporate what I’ve learned today into my daily practice as a school nurse.

Online Course Participant

After completing the course, 99% of learners could describe best practice mitigation interventions for children with indoor allergens and a history of environmental triggers.

I will educate staff, students, and guardians on how environmental factors contribute to how well asthma is managed.

Online Course Participant


YouTube Views of the EMPOWER Videos
Increase in Pediatric Asthma Course enrollment from 2023
Students Receiving Continuing Education Credits from Pediatric Asthma Course

Amplify Your Impact

Meaningful, lasting change is possible when we work together. NEEF leverages its National Environmental Education Act (NEEA) appropriation to raise public and private matching funds at a ratio of 3:1, creating value and amplifying the impact of our partners.

Become a NEEF Partner

Reaching Further

NEEF's resources help make the environment more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. 

NPLD Champion Protects Endangered Species at Military Installations with Help from Volunteers

Involving volunteers in conservation biology creates a ripple effect, boosting engagement, expanding outreach...

The Future of Environmental Education: Celebrating NEEF’s National Park Service AmeriCorps VISTA Members

Learn how AmeriCorps VISTA program members are working on Greening STEM projects at national parks across the...

Trail Access Project Conquers New Terrain with NEEF Grant

Thanks to a grant from NEEF, the Trail Access Project has expanded its Adaptive Hiking Program to help people...