Growing up in the world’s largest freshwater system, Michigan K-12 students have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to dive deep into appreciating and stewarding this vital resource. That’s the idea behind a growing state initiative to teach students about Michigan’s Great Lakes watersheds and the impact people have on water resources.
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) MiSTEM Network and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) today announced $205,028 in grants to develop this initiative. It will grow from six initial school districts to 22 K-12 facilities, school districts and educational partnerships across the state. Recipients are listed at the end of this article.
The grants are a collaborative effort of EGLE and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) MiSTEM Network to expand place-based STEM education and support innovative STEM 3-P (problem, place, and project).
The directors of EGLE and LEO welcomed the expansion of the initiative in a press release.
“These innovative educational experiences and programs will shape tomorrow’s advocates, policymakers, and champions who will value and protect Michigan’s waterways and watersheds,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark.
“We commend these schools and community partners across the state for taking advantage of this grant opportunity and working with us to prepare the talent of today for the jobs of tomorrow,” said LEO Principal Susan Corbin. .
The program, launched in 2019, promotes place-based freshwater literacy and real-life science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences to engage students at all levels. The grants are an extension of the 2020 From Students to Stewards (FS2S) initiative and the 2021 MiSTEM Transformative Playbook grants. Funding is provided by Michigan Great Lakes Protection Fund, US EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, EGLE and MiSTEM Network.
FS2S advances several priority goals of the State of Michigan, including promoting water stewardship, providing quality real-world educational opportunities, and building an inclusive STEM workforce. The program is a partnership between the Office of Great Lakes (OGL) of EGLE, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), and the MiSTEM Network. MiSTEM is a public-private partnership aimed at increasing student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The statewide MiSTEM Advisory Council operates within LEO.
FS2S intends to help bridge Michigan’s “water knowledge gap” and train the next generation of water managers, leaders, skilled workers, and decision makers needed to solve the complex water issues in a changing world. The program includes a toolkit and roadmap that other schools can use to develop their own Great Lakes-focused curriculum.
Six pilot school districts — Allegan Area Educational District, Comstock Public Schools, Copper Country Intermediate School District, Les Cheneaux Community Schools, Niles Community Schools, and Northport Public Schools — have received FS2S grants totaling more than $55,000 in 2020. , with grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, are:
- Alcona Community Schools.
- Alpena Public Schools.
- Arvon Township School.
- Atherton Community Schools.
- Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District.
- Farmington Public Schools.
- Forest Hills Central Woodlands School 5/6.
- Grand Rapids Montessori, Grand Rapids Public Schools.
- Harrington Primary School.
- Kalamazoo Regional Educational Services Agency.
- Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools Middle School.
- Muskegon Area Middle School District.
- Pickford Public Schools.
- Stanton Township Public Schools.
- Washtenaw Middle School District.
- Wayne-Westland Community Schools.
Legend: Cedarville High School students set up a monitor in a local stream.