OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) has been awarded a grant to support climate change research.

According to OCCC, the grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Forestry and will be used to focus on recognizing and developing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, and lessen the impact of climate change on vulnerable populations.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant,” said Dr. Mautra Staley Jones, President of OCCC. “Given the profound impact on extreme weather variations, food sources, clean air, water and future generations, Oklahoma City Community College is committed to understanding and mitigating the impact of climate change. This will allow our teams across campus to expand our research and develop innovative solutions to address the challenges we face.”

OCCC says they will also study the positive effects of green living on students. The research will look at how green living can benefit student health, well-being and academic success.

“This project is a collaboration between several departments on campus,” said Dr. Nancy Alexander, Executive Director of Grants Administration. “Our teams are dedicated to exploring the restorative psychological and physiological health benefits for students associated with exposure to vibrant green spaces.”

The OCCC Facilities Management team plans to convert two unused flower beds into native Oklahoma plant and flower exhibits: the Oklahoma Xeriscape and the Oklahoma Proven flower bed, the college says.

According to OCCC, the exhibits will be used for on-campus research to identify solutions to the impacts affecting Oklahoma forestry. An OCCC program, Students Connecting with Mentors for Success, will host programming on campus that will include a series of seminars on numerous topics to offer education and awareness.

“We are committed to creating a sustainable future for our students and our planet,” said Dr. Shanna Padgham. “This grant will help us to further our efforts to promote green living and reduce our carbon footprint.”

For more information, visit OCCC’s website.