16 Michigan schools receive funding to conduct STEM projects in Great Lakes

LANSING, MI — Michigan is providing thousands of dollars in grants to 16 schools across the state to develop science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects that teach students the importance of the Great Lakes and Michigan’s freshwater resources convey.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week announced $205,028 in state funding, which is intended to support freshwater literacy efforts and prepare students for potential careers in STEM, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

Some of the counties with schools receiving support are Kent, Washtenaw, Kalamazoo, Wayne and Muskegon.

“Our Great Lakes are our greatest asset, and we must empower young Michiganians to learn more about them and continue to advance conservation efforts,” Whitmer said in a prepared statement. “Michigan’s economic competitiveness depends on a workforce that is STEM-savvy and dedicated to solving our biggest challenges. Investments like this will help prepare our children to lead our state into the future.”

The grant funding was announced as part of Michigan’s Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week, a week-long event in June to raise awareness of the state’s lakes, rivers, creeks and groundwater.

Michigan is home to more than 3,200 miles of shoreline along four Great Lakes, 11,000 inland lakes and ponds, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, and enough groundwater to refill Lake Michigan. according to the government department.

The grant funding was created by Whitmer’s office in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, the press release said.

EGLE Director Liesle Clark said the funding is an investment in the state’s future leadership.

“These innovative educational programs and experiences will shape the advocates, policymakers and leaders of tomorrow who will cherish and protect Michigan’s waterways and watersheds,” Clark said in a statement.

According to Whitmer’s office, there was a competitive application process that schools had to go through to be selected for grant funding.

Schools across the state were required to submit a call for proposals and pitch their project ideas to state leaders, and finalists were chosen if they did a good job and included “freshwater-focused efforts and real-world experiences,” the release said.

Susan Corbin, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, applauded the 16 schools for taking advantage of state grants and coming up with innovative project ideas.

“This continued partnership between EGLE and LEO supports students and educators through new and innovative approaches to STEM education to fill our state’s talent gap and prepare our students for challenging career paths in STEM fields and beyond,” Corbin said in one Explanation.

Many of the proposed projects focus on 3Ps learning, which stands for “problem, place and project based”.

Here are the 16 school districts that have been selected for federal funding and the projects they have proposed.

  • Washtenaw Middle School District: $20,000 to build a foundation for inter-district collaboration in support of freshwater-focused place-based education among educator teams in Southeast Michigan.
  • Grand Rapids Montessori Public Schools in Grand Rapids: $8,862 to help students identify and solve the problem of habitat loss for local pollinators, bird and turtle species in the city through a partnership with educators at the John Ball Zoo.
  • Forest Hills Central Woodlands 5/6 School: $20,000 for 3-P learning experiences for students at Forest Hills Public Schools in Grand Rapids, including transportation for all students to visit the Inland Seas Schooner and participate in the Inland Seas Education Association’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) program.
  • Kalamazoo Regional Education Service Agency: $20,000 to support Southwest MiSTEM and the Kalamazoo Nature Center in establishing a Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative center to continue water stewardship education programs such as overseeing efforts on the Kalamazoo River.
  • Muskegon Area Intermediate School District: $15,000 to support the expansion and institutionalization of 3P learning for 420 fourth grade students and 3P training for 19 fourth grade teachers in partnership with Orchard View Schools and Reese-Puffer Schools.
  • Alcona Community Schools: $6,892 for extending 3P learning to grades 6-8 to include coastal and wetland habitats.
  • Alpena public schools: $8,078 to support a program where students work as scientific researchers, collecting data and making observations to determine if environmental issues are affecting the Thunder Bay River watershed.
  • Arvon Community School: $5,000 for students to adopt two community beaches in partnership with the Alliance for the Great Lakes. Students and families will participate in science classes, Earthforce environmental inventories, and field trips that directly affect the lands and beaches they have adopted, exposing them to careers in science, engineering, and natural resource management.
  • Atherton Community Schools: $10,000 to engage 195 middle and high school science students in 3P learning through the Health in Our Hands curriculum, host three health summits, and provide professional learning to four middle and high school teachers.
  • Charlevoix-Emmet Middle School District: $20,000 to institutionalize 3P learning in schools in their ISD through teacher support, community and/or business partnerships, and student engagement.
  • Farmington Public Schools: $15,870 to include “student voice” in water steward issues and institutionalize 3P teaching and learning in the district.
  • Harrington Elementary School: $12,000 for Marshall Public Schools to partner with Albion College to develop “outside the school” curriculum for grades K-5 to be piloted at Harrington Elementary School, including field trips to the college’s Whitehouse Nature Center .
  • Mt. Morris Middle School, Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools: $15,000 for continued participation in the Flint River Green project. This student-led endeavor invites students to learn about the Flint River Watershed and its impact on the community through a partnership with a Genesee County Drain Commission civil engineer.
  • Public Schools in Pickford: $9,996 to enable students to continue collecting water quality data from the local watershed using the data sensors deployed during the current school year as part of the MiWaterNet initiative.
  • Stanton Township Public Schools: $5,000 to train new teachers to conduct future Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative activities and support student businesses with Stanton Township Schools Gardens.
  • Wayne Westland Community Schools: $13,330 to implement a rigorous, community-centric 3Ps curriculum that empowers students to see themselves as scientists, innovators, mathematicians, readers, and writers.

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