Great Lakes B-WET Awards in FY17


City of Chicago Board of Education: Calumet is My Back Yard (CIMBY)
This project will enhance and expand the Calumet Is My Back Yard (CIMBY) Program. Currently, CIMBY works with over 800 9th-12th grade students from the South Side of Chicago every year to protect and restore native ecosystems and bring science lessons to life. CIMBY will develop new service-learning extensions to complement the year-long Chicago Public Schools Biology Course, with a focus on environmental justice in the region. Students will contribute approximately 3,000 volunteer hours by participating in year-long outdoor ecological restoration projects at nearby natural areas. 1,000 students will present a final service learning project demonstrating connections that link their natural area restoration/protection work with concrete ways to serve the environment every day. Twenty CPS high school teachers and five Northwest Indiana high school teachers will incorporate science practices and outdoor field experiences to cultivate interest in the environment among their biology, geology, chemistry, art, and environmental science classrooms.


Muskegon Area Intermediate School District: Using Place-Based Education to Create Stewards of the Great Lakes
Using Place-Based Education to Create Stewards of the Great Lakes” was an Exemplary Program that addresses preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing nutrient runoff, restoring habitat to protect native species, and other local environmental issues. A minimum of 30 teachers will be involved. The project involved K-12 teachers and students across multiple disciplines, in Muskegon, Oceana, Newaygo, and northern Ottawa counties, reaching a minimum 2,000 students, 30 teachers and 14 schools in the region. The project involved four main parts: 1. Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) for students using place-based education (PBE). 2. Sustained professional development for teachers around place-based pedagogy, inquiry and problem-based learning, natural resources and stewardship content related to our local environment, establishing and utilizing community partnerships, and best practices related to curriculum//lesson/assessment development. 3. Laying the foundation with local districts to institutionalize place-based education and environmental service learning into their respective schools. 4. Developing an awareness of NOAA assets, both as an organization and for teacher/classroom use by providing adequate time during professional development, including one day at the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory Lake Michigan Field Station to allow teachers to explore and make a plan for using NOAA assets in their classrooms.

Eastern Michigan University: Great Lakes Literacy in Action: Connecting Students to their Watersheds in SE Michigan through Place-Based Education
The Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition’s (SEMIS) four overall objectives for this project were to: 1) to increase the number of students who can participate in MWEEs, 2) help students develop a deeper understanding of the Great Lakes Literacy Principles and put these principles into practice, 3) sharpen students’ abilities to articulate local watershed and Great Lakes challenges and share their knowledge and ideas with the public in informed ways, and 4) provide the kind of holistic educator support system needed for teachers to learn the content, ground their understandings in Great Lakes Literacy Principles, and work with their students in the field.

This project engaged approximately 500, K-12 students from the Huron River, Rouge River, Detroit River, and Clinton River watersheds. The majority of students served were from the City of Detroit. Fifteen to twenty teachers received intensive support through nine days of intensive and sustained professional development programming, curriculum guides aligned to state standards and Great Lakes Literacy Principles, funded community partnerships, SEMIS curriculum coaching, and assistance with bus costs for student field experiences. There were approximately equal numbers of elementary, middle, and high school teachers and students. Forty to fifty teachers received nine days of professional development and curriculum materials.

Inland Seas Education Association: Inland Seas Great Lakes Watershed Field Course for K-12 teachers to learn and implement MWEEs in their classroom
The Great Lakes Watershed Field Course is a 4-day professional development (PD) opportunity combined with on-going support, resources, and encouragement during the following school year. Thirty (30) K-12 teachers within the Great Lakes Watershed were selected from a pool of applicants to participate in the project, with priority given to teachers who lived or worked in a Great Lakes Area of Concern. During the 4-day PD, participants gained knowledge on meaningful watershed educational experiences (MWEE) and experienced them first-hand; increased their knowledge and awareness of environmental issues; and prepared at least one curriculum plan that incorporates MWEEs and a student stewardship action project. These MWEEs were implemented with their classrooms, impacting at least 750 students. Throughout the school year, Inland Seas Education Association supported teachers as they implemented MWEEs with their students.

Michigan State University: Promoting Healthy Watersheds and Communities by Integrating Ecosystem Science, Transportation Networks, and Stewardship
This project piloted a place-based classroom and field-investigation program for teachers and their middle and high school students that helped them better understand significant wetland ecosystems in their local watersheds, how transportation networks may impact watersheds, and stewardship activities they could engage in to help address these impacts. The project was inspired by the collaboration between the Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, and Southeast Michigan Council of Governments to apply a new planning framework to the multi-billion dollar I-75 corridor reconstruction in Monroe County in southeast Michigan. Teachers and students learned about these wetlands in a watershed context, developed and investigated questions about impacts of transportation corridors, gathered and synthesized their data, designed and implemented stewardship actions (e.g. mapping and monitoring of invasive species or vernal pools), and shared their results with relevant audiences. They experienced “Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences” while addressing a real-world, local watershed issue of immediate concern—how to minimize impacts to vulnerable wetlands from the I-75 corridor reconstruction.

New York

Research Foundation for SUNY/Buffalo: Buffalo State's Our Living Watershed B-WET Program
This project, Our Living Watershed (OLW), was coordinated by Buffalo State’s Master Teacher Coordinator and led at the implementation level by three highly qualified and talented environmental studies teachers - two from a rural school and one from an urban one. It combined combine classroom preparation, analysis, and reflection with hands-on field investigations and other related activities within each of the schools’ watershed environments. In this design, the students from each school worked with their teachers to develop an action plan for conducting field studies; conducted sampling and analysis; observed and documented macroinvertebrates and native and invasive plant species; engaged in habitat restoration; utilized geographic information systems technology (GIS) to map their collected data; and reflected on project outcomes – and on the ways in which human activity can and does influence our shared environment. Students used classroom time to prepare for their field work, analyzed and map gathered data upon completion of field investigations, and reflected on their work. They subsequently presented their findings and shared experiences to community stakeholders and educators.


Alliance for the Great Lakes: Great Lakes Model Schools: Where Cleveland Students Learn to Care for their Watershed
The Alliance for the Great Lakes partnered with Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) on an exemplary project that includes training and supporting 5-7 “Great Lakes Certified” Educators who led Model School integration in five “Model Schools”, as well as helped build grade level integration (3, 5, 7 and 10th) at the district level. For this project, Model School was defined as teachers integrating Great Lakes in My World curriculum and stewardship activities at multiple grade levels. “Great Lakes Certified” Educators were teachers that the Alliance has previously worked with using our Great Lakes in My world curriculum and Adopt-a-Beach™ program. Through this project, the Alliance and CMSD leveraged the power of these change agents to recruit strong cohorts in the Model Schools and across schools at targeted grade levels (3, 5, 7 and 10).


University of Wisconsin System/UW-Superior: Rivers2Lake South: Meaningful Watershed Education along Lake Superior’s Coast
The Rivers2Lake education program integrated Lake Superior into education as a foundation for engaging place-based learning, Great Lakes literacy, stewardship and watershed restoration. Based at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve (“Reserve”) with a community of many partners including the National Park Service, Great Lakes Aquarium and Bad River Watershed Association, the program provided teacher professional development through life changing field experiences and bi-monthly year-long mentoring. Rivers2Lake engaged students through outdoor and inquiry-based learning, and provided extended resources, opportunities, and year-long support to Rivers2Lake classrooms. Through this proposal, Rivers2Lake expanded its reach along the Wisconsin coast, working with a minimum of 18 teachers and their 432 students in the Lake Superior watershed in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and continued to support a community of 42 alumni teachers.

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District: Watershed Alive III: A Place to Call Our Own
“Watershed Alive: A Place to Call Our Own” provided professional development and a treasure trove of inquiry-based teaching resources for 20 teachers which equipped them with interdisciplinary curriculum tools that assimilate long-term integration of watershed studies. As many as 700 students, grades 4 through 8, were led through field experiences that engaged them in using their local watershed as an outdoor laboratory.