College of Education
Groundswell: Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative
Grand Valley’s College of Education was awarded funding from the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI) in conjunction with the Wege Foundation, Frey Foundation, and Baldwin Foundation to establish and maintain a hub focused on promoting place-based education and helping young people in Kent County become stewards of their community, environment, and their local watershed.
The Grand Valley hub was named Groundswell and, like the GLSI, helps Michigan’s students and their teachers collaborate with local organizations to study and address important environmental issues in their communities while learning academic content and practicing the skills of problem-solving and citizenship.
Groundswell seeks to accomplish its mission by helping teachers and students engage in service-learning education. Groundswell strives to provide opportunities for young people to investigate environmental issues in their communities and help them decide on the best course of action to resolve challenges and participate in civic action.
Groundswell is a true coalition of community members. The coalition is currently comprised of more than 35 businesses, government institutions, and community organizations partnering with 14 local schools. Coalition partners provide expertise and guidance to students and teachers while taking an active role in ensuring local young people can be part of a "groundswell" for community changes.
The upcoming spring will mark the end of the third year of student-led projects which will be celebrated at Groundswell's annual Student Showcase at Celebration! Cinema North. Each partnering school will present their project and accomplishments to date using displays, videos, and oral presentations given to an audience comprised of Groundswell partners, teachers, students and interested community members.
Examples of student-led Groundswell school projects include:
Forest Hills Eastern Middle School
Investigating campus wide storm water runoff and instituting landscaping practices to lessen river contamination;
New Branches School
Building a greenhouse to grow plants and study how fertilizers, pesticides and other substances for gardening affect both the plants and the water runoff from the gardens while also educating the community about their findings;
C.A. Frost Environmental Education Academy
Planning watershed management strategies for parks centrally located to the students' homes. After identifying parks with the greatest need, students will help install technologies to decrease storm-water runoff into local water systems;
East Rockford Middle School
Analyzing Downtown Rockford businesses' watershed management strategies and recommending new watershed management technologies to reduce storm-water runoff into local water systems;
Lowell High School
Exploring environmental issues through the Salmon in the Classroom project. Students were able to successfully raise and release salmon into their native environment at ideal locations determined by the students. Students also designed and submitted alternative energy technology concepts to a local engineering competition;
City Middle School and the Sixth Grade Center for Economicology
Learning about runoff and the effects that has on the Grand River. The programs mapped nutrient runoff from the Huff Park neighborhood and educated residents about nutrient overload in the wetlands by creating a to-scale three-dimensional watershed model on the school property;
The Potter’s House School
Investigating the degree of pollution and flooding in Plaster Creek while identifying and encouraging appropriate and beneficial local responses to help the creek;
For more information, visit the Groundswell website: www.groundswellmi.org
Page last modified December 19, 2011