Great Lakes B-WET Awards in FY19

Get to know Great Lakes B-WET through this video profile of grantee, Inland Seas Education Association. View the full video.


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.


Friends of the Rouge: Rouge Education Project
This project will engage approximately 2,000 4th-12th grade students in an existing, high quality, school-based water quality monitoring program based in Metro-Detroit. Approximately 60 teachers receive support in organizing experiences for students that promote watershed and water quality education within their classrooms and on an annual field trip to the branches of the Rouge River or tributaries. During these field experiences, students evaluate chemical, biological, and physical parameters of water quality to determine overall stream health, using this knowledge and awareness to address environmental issues. This grant will allow Friends of the Rouge to expand on its services to foster youth-led community action projects by training teachers and students how to utilize the Earth Force Process.

Delta Schoolcraft Intermediate School District: Connecting the Watershed Dots: Clear Lake, Escanaba River, Bay de Noc, Lake Michigan
This projectwill expose students to the importance of their local (Escanaba River) watershed, their place in it, along with the relationship of the Escanaba River watershed to the larger Great Lakes system. Approximately 405 middle school students from four schools, with their 6-8 teachers, will be able to travel to the Clear Lake Education Center and to local environmental features in the Escanaba River Watershed to carry out meaningful studies of water quality, habitat, land uses, food webs, and ecosystem functions. Students will have the opportunity to create public service announcements, participate in a nature journal program, perform water sampling and macroinvertebrate assessments in the field, and hear from professionals in a wide variety of fields related to watershed conservation.

Michigan Technological University: Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative - Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences for Rural Schools (LSSI-R)
This project will engage 30 K-12 teachers and 1,000 students from five counties in Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula in a variety of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences that support differentiation by school through unique stewardship projects. LSSI-R is needed since the Lake Superior watershed supports a wide variety of wildlife, including sensitive aquatic species, provides clean water for drinking, recreation, and numerous industries. To ensure these ecosystem services and species diversity are maintained for future generations, teachers and students need to increase their knowledge about and incentive to take care of Lake Superior. LSSI-R will accomplish these outcomes through activities targeting both teachers and students.

Flint River Watershed Coalition: Flint River GREEN Bridges - Bridging Communities, Classrooms, Curriculum, and Careers
This project will provide fifteen teachers in the Flint River Watershed with ongoing professional development opportunities to meaningfully connect with each other and with available resources in support of an integrated and applied unit of study focused on understanding water quality and improving the health of the Flint River Watershed. This project is timely within the community due to the Flint drinking water crisis- the city’s water supply was changed from Lake Huron water to the Flint River, leading to elevated blood lead levels and health problems within Flint communities. This project aims to empower youth to serve as leaders in guiding their communities toward better literacy in and stewardship of our local and global water resources. It will utilize youth voices to weave together natural and social systems through student-driven community impact projects that improve environmental literacy and foster ongoing freshwater stewardship in our community.

Inland Seas Education Association: Great Lakes Watershed Field Course
This projectwill bring together teachers from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois for a four-day conservation experience in the Grand Traverse region. During these four days, teachers will converse with experts in environmental fields and acquire tools for planning and implementing MWEEs. Teachers will integrate these experiences into their classrooms, guiding students through issue identification, outdoor field activities, stewardship action projects, and reflection and evaluation in their home communities. Teachers will be supported throughout the year with mini-grants, webinars, and email communication. In addition, participating teachers will receive a scholarship to bring their students to Inland Seas for a shipboard science and sailing program as part of their MWEE sequence. Thirty participating teachers will serve approximately 750 students during the life of this grant, and thousands more as teachers continue using MWEEs in the 2020/21 school year and beyond.

New York

Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute: Lake Ontario Headwaters Watershed Education Program Project
This project will engage isolated, economically and socially stressed rural communities in Northern New York. Students will engage in a multi-element environmental science applied research experience including classroom segments, field science skills training, field science data collection and observation, introductory data quality control, review and analysis, reporting, and public exhibition. Students will work with Adirondack Watershed Institute staff to investigate the ecological characteristics and quality, organismal diversity, shoreline condition, invasive species, and overall health of important tributaries to Long Lake and other waterways. Students will also study the impacts of winter road-salt/deicing applications in terms of runoff, groundwater contamination, and vegetation impacts. The project will educate approximately 16 teachers and 200 secondary school environmental science students.

Friends of Reinstein Nature Preserve: Day in the Life of the Niagara River/Lake Erie Watershed
This project will engage 480 students in grades 4-12 and 24 teachers, in classroom and field experiences that explore the Niagara River/Lake Erie watershed through a “Day in the Life” field experience. Students will follow GLOBE protocols to collect data in three sub-watersheds of the Niagara River/Lake Erie Watershed. At each sample site, scientists from partner organizations will share their knowledge of the watershed (including restoration efforts) and water-related career information. Students will then take part in a watershed habitat improvement project or choose to continue GLOBE monitoring in a sub-watershed. This program aims to increase student awareness and understanding of their local watershed’s physical, chemical, biological and social conditions, strengthen their inquiry skills, empower them to be good stewards of the Great Lakes, and introduce them to water-related career paths.


University of Toledo: Engaging Students and Teachers through GLOBE: Authentic Watershed Studies in the Maumee and Lake Erie Watersheds
This project will bring a well-established, long-term professional development program to new school districts in the Maumee watershed specifically near Defiance, Ohio. This includes instructing 10 teachers in GLOBE protocols linked to NOAA relevant research projects in the Maumee River watershed so that they will engage their students in STEM activities. The project will also engage over 500 students in a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience through GLOBE field protocols, linkages to NOAA personnel and resources and consequently research projects, presentations and stewardship opportunities.


Regional Science Consortium: Using the PASST to Weather the Future: Inspiring Great Lakes Stewards through Past Shipwrecks, Current Weather, and the Future of Climate Change
This project will provide environmental education through experiential learning and environmental stewardship focused on the historical and current impacts of weather, climate, and coastal resilience. The RSC will work with 10 school districts in Erie and Warren Counties (within a 75-mile radius) to promote and immerse their students in Great Lakes Literacy. This project will include urban, suburban, and rural school districts and work with students at the elementary, middle, and high school level. The project will educate 10-20 teachers from 10 school districts and 750 students.


Wisconsin Maritime Museum: All Wet: Inclusive Watershed Education for Learners of All Abilities
This project will continue its successful B-WET teacher professional development program (We All Live on the Water: Teachers as Watershed Leaders) while also expanding it to specifically increase watershed accessibility and engagement for students with disabilities and their instructors. This project aims to invite students with disabilities into the watershed alongside their peers to create inclusive field trips and classroom learning as part of year-long immersive MWEE experiences. This includes a series of teacher training workshops, facilitated dialogues and continued year-long support for teachers through paired mentor-new educator network, inclusive field trips for students, integrated classroom investigations and knowledge sharing.

University of Wisconsin-Superior: Rivers2Lake - A Superior Focus: Deepening Connections to Lake Superior’s Coast
This project will integrate the Lake Superior watershed into classrooms as a foundation for engaging place-based learning, Great Lakes literacy, stewardship and watershed restoration. The program provides meaningful professional development for teachers through transformative field experiences and yearlong mentoring and co-teaching. It directly engages students through outdoor and inquiry-based learning, and provides tangible resources, field opportunities, networking and support to enrolled classrooms through direct instruction and personalized collaboration with teachers. Mentors provide professional development for 120 teachers, three instructional coaches, six school leadership team teachers, and provides integrated watershed learning experiences for their 432 K-12 students, while continuing to provide support to an established community of 68 alumni teachers.

Riveredge Nature Center: A Deeper Dive into the Testing the Waters (TTW) Program
This project will further increase its capacity to enhance a long-standing watershed-focused environmental education program, titled Testing the Waters (TTW). The overall goal of the TTW program is to activate engaged and educated citizens with the ability to make scientifically informed environmental decisions while learning about and engaging with the Great Lakes Watershed. The TTW program is a joint public-private partnership between Riveredge Nature Center and schools throughout the Milwaukee River Basin that aligns with state curriculum standards while engaging the classes in hands-on water quality testing in their communities and sharing the collected data sets with a larger scientific community throughout Wisconsin. The TTW program is expanding to serve 15 participating schools with roughly 1,300 students and 30 teachers throughout the Milwaukee River basin.