Great Lakes B-WET Awards in FY20


City of Chicago Board of Education: Calumet is My Back Yard (CIMBY): Burnham Park Expansion

The City of Chicago Board of Education will work in partnership with the Chicago Field Museum to extend the existing Calumet is My Back Yard (CIMBY) program to a wider network of students and teachers. This program will use Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) to continue to build the capacity of high-school biology teachers to implement classroom-integrated environmental service learning projects connected specifically to coastal habitat restoration. It will also encourage students’ science skill development through stewardship projects. Students will have the opportunity to explore the Lake Michigan shoreline and be a part of its preservation, as well as learn about the connections between stewardship and environmental justice issues affecting their neighborhoods.


Eastern Michigan University: Stormwater Stewards: Youth-Led Responses to Community Watershed Challenges

Eastern Michigan University will expand on existing place-based stewardship education work in Great Lakes watershed issues. This includes educating teachers from 30 different schools in a seven-day professional development workshop to build teachers’ confidence and capacity for watershed-focused teaching and learning, and follow-up support for teachers in implementing Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences (MWEEs) in their classrooms. Two engaging case studies that share the story of MWEEs in the classroom will be created as a result of this project, demonstrating effective environmental education strategies in an urban context. 

Flint River Watershed Coalition: Flint River Bridges - Year 2: Refining and Institutionalizing a Community-Based, Applied, and Integrated Watershed Curriculum for the Flint River Watershed

The Flint River Watershed Coalition will refine and expand on the existing Flint River Bridges program. The project will focus on further developing Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) through enhanced curriculum and additional NOAA resources. The expansion of this program will add interdisciplinary topics and career exploration to the current water quality curriculum.  It will also add more participants and expand professional development opportunities for teachers. Involving 23 teachers and over 800 students, this exemplary project is working towards systemic, sustained, grade-level integration of the Bridges program across multiple school districts in the Flint area. 

Friends of the Rouge: Rouge Education Project

Friends of the Rouge will enhance an existing school-based water quality monitoring program, which provides Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) through hands-on learning, resources, and support for teachers to provide watershed education within their classrooms. As part of the program students visit branches or tributaries of the Rouge River, as well as participate in an annual student symposium to present their watershed research and reflect on possible action projects to improve water quality. In addition to supporting the current work that is being done, this project will allow for more direct and expanded professional development opportunities to support teachers, as well as providing additional funding for teachers to implement student-led stewardship projects. 

Grand Valley State University: Deer Creek GEEKS

Grand Valley State University will engage students and teachers from Coopersville Middle School and the Ottawa Conservation District in the ecological restoration of a 15-acre natural area on the school’s campus. Groundswell will first support teachers through professional development, giving them support they need to engage students in Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) through outdoor-education, as well as technical knowledge on ecological restoration. Students will develop research questions based on watershed issues, then engage in outdoor field activities to explore those questions. The student-driven research will lead to stewardship projects where students implement solutions to the environmental issues they investigated. The schools will also be provided with funding to support student exploration, data collection, and restoration activities. This project will lay the foundation for the entire Coopersville Area Public Schools to eventually become involved in exploring and restoring the natural area.

Hope College: Prep for Day 1: K-12 Students Jump into West Michigan Watershed

Existing watershed research at Hope College will be linked with area teachers and their classrooms. Hope College faculty will lead professional development as well as mentor teachers throughout the year as they integrate new curriculum and field experiences for Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) in their classrooms. Hope College education and science majors will assist students in their MWEE field experiences and research. Teachers and students will work within an existing monitoring and data collection framework to do watershed research, as well as explore the paths from scientific work to local policy making. 

Huron Pines: Terrestrial Systems Today for Healthy Waters Tomorrow

Huron Pines will cross-connect land stewardship and watershed health through Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs), engaging students and adding capacity to school-community partnerships currently under-supported in rural northeast Michigan. Students will define issues and opportunities in their communities related to human influence on land that impacts watershed health, then conduct research and develop stewardship projects to tackle these issues. Teachers will be supported through professional development, using Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI) and NOAA’s Michigan Sea Grant resources. Community partners will be connected to collaborate with students on their research and stewardship projects.

Lake Superior State University: Developing Great Lakes Stewards through Place-making in Urban and Rural Classrooms

Lake Superior State University will use research-based professional development to provide skills and expertise to teachers to help facilitate student inquiry and exploration both in the classroom and in the field. This will in turn help students to develop a sense of value and commitment to stewardship of their place, empowering them to take action to sustain and preserve its health. Connecting urban and rural students to their place in the Great Lakes through Meaning Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs), this program will provide sustained place-based freshwater stewardship curriculum, evoking engaged learning for years to come. 

Muskegon Area Intermediate School District: The Power of Place: Connecting Students to Their Watershed

Muskegon Area Intermediate School District will use Meaning Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) to support both professional development and student stewardship projects.  The Power of Place project will support at least 40 teachers in professional development, including Earth Force training, a summer institute, and ongoing dinner and dialogue events. Their students will engage in research projects in the Muskegon-area watershed, which will lead to designing, planning, and implementing a stewardship project. These projects will be presented at a Youth Symposium so that the work is shared with peers and the greater community. 

New York

St. John Fisher College: Our Lakes, Streams, and Rivers: Experiential Education and Stewardship in the Lake Ontario Watershed

St. John Fisher College will leverage the water resources of the Rochester and Finger Lakes areas to create hands-on experiences for middle and high school students to reconnect with their surroundings. Professional development for participating teachers will have an emphasis on Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) pedagogy and Lake Ontario watershed knowledge with applications for the local context. Teachers will also be supported in the implementation of MWEEs in their classrooms, including stipends for necessary equipment to do research and stewardship work. At the end of the year, there will be opportunities for students to present their stewardship work they completed to the greater community. 


University of Toledo: Great Lakes Student Research Campaign: Engaging Students and Teachers in Authentic Watershed Studies

The University of Toledo will expand their current Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) program by connecting students around the Great Lakes thought the issues of harmful algae blooms, invasive species, and flooding.  As well as establishing a Great Lakes Student Research Campaign through the GLOBE program. This project will engage 20 teachers and approximately 1000 students from Michigan, Ohio, and New York, through a partnership between the University of Toledo, Defiance College, Northern Michigan University, and State University of New York at Fredonia. Teachers will participate in virtual professional development and web meetings to build capacity to educate students on the watersheds and Great Lakes in their area, as well as learn the GLOBE protocols. Students will then be able to conduct independent research projects and present those projects at a final conference.