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New UL Innovative Education Award invests in nonprofits that leverage the environment as a pathway to STEM learning

NORTHBROOK, Ill. and WASHINGTON, October 9, 2014 —Throughout history, talented scientists and innovators have helped to move humanity forward. As modern changes in our environment threaten our livelihood, communities and the natural world, education—particularly STEM (science, engineering, technology and math) education—is a shining hope. In recognition of our world’s changing needs, UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.), the global safety science leader, and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), today announced the UL Innovative Education Award, a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to invest $250,000 in environmental and STEM education, sustainable communities and youth empowerment.

“At UL, we take great pride in our reputation as a champion for progress, and this new program is a natural extension of that,” said Barbara Guthrie, vice president and chief public safety officer, UL. “The UL Innovative Education Award addresses the clear need to prioritize STEM and environmental education for our future leaders to innovate, address new problems and create new solutions. Together with our program partners at NAAEE, we will select and invest in those who are pushing this cause forward, as well as provide mentorship opportunities with our employees.”

Through the UL Innovative Education Award, UL will invest in the critical work of nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and Canada that are leading the way to inspire a passion for STEM education in schoolchildren through a focus on the environment. The program, designed in collaboration with trusted experts from NAAEE, will empower our next generation of leaders to connect with the natural world, develop science-based sustainability solutions for local communities and nurture a capacity for social responsibility.

“Our research shows that hands-on education about the environment is the ideal way to engage with kids because of its unparalleled ability to inspire interest, skills and competencies in science, technology and engineering in the context of systems learning,” said Christiane Maertens, deputy director, NAAEE. “The UL Innovative Education Award was designed based on our latest findings and could only be executed by such a trusted, independent, scientifically sound and forward thinking company as UL.”

Qualifying nonprofit organizations will be judged by a panel of environmental, science, research and technical experts. Judging criteria will include:

  • The use of research and investigation to advance science learning;
  • Promotion of social responsibility; and
  • STEM applications to tackle real environmental problems

In addition to funding, UL employees, including science, engineering and technical experts, will work directly with the selected organizations to provide expertise, resources and volunteer hours to help further their efforts in environmental and STEM education.

For more information about the UL Innovative Education Award including detailed criteria, important dates and deadlines, eligibility requirements and more, visit

About UL

UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for 120 years. Its more than 10,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. We partner with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visit

 About NAAEE

The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) is a pioneering membership organization dedicated to accelerating environmental literacy through education. NAAEE supports a network of more than 16,000 educators, researchers, and organizational members working in environmental education across more than 30 countries through direct membership and 54 regional affiliate organizations. Through sponsored community networks, publications, and employment development opportunities, NAAEE provides resources for educators, professionals, volunteers, and researchers. NAAEE’s tentpole annual conference, now in its 42nd year, convenes leaders from private and public sectors to advance the field of environmental education. For more information, visit

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Media Contacts:

Michelle Press for UL


Lily Bedrossian for NAAEE