MICHIGAN — A statewide initiative to teach elementary and high school students about the Great Lakes, Michigan watersheds, and the impact people have on water resources launches today, including $50,000 in funding to integrate water literacy principles into school curricula and continuous improvement plans.
The “Students to Stewards” initiative is a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Michigan Department of Education (MDE), and the MiSTEM Network (Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity) at Grand Valley State University. It is designed to improve water literacy in students from kindergarten through grade 12 and enhance school performance.
From Students to Stewards will emphasize using place-based approaches and real-world experiences to engage students and prepare them for highquality, water-focused STEM careers. To help schools accomplish these goals, EGLE’s Office of the Great Lakes, MDE, LEO’s MiSTEM Network have curated a toolkit of resources, information, and real-world opportunities for students and educators. As part of the funding opportunity, awardees will be asked to field test the toolkit, provide feedback on their experiences, and suggest ways to improve its usefulness.
A total of $50,000 is available through a request for proposals to fund at least five proposals, with a maximum award of $10,000. The programs that are chosen will incorporate Great Lakes and water literacy principles into curricula and continuous improvement plans using a place-based approach. Funds are made available through the Michigan Great Lakes Protection Fund. Awardees will also have access to technical assistance from the Office of the Great Lakes, MDE, and LEO’s MiSTEM Network.
Applicants must be part of a project team to qualify for funding. Teams must include one or more schools, local or intermediate school districts, or public school academies; at least one MiSTEM Network Region; and one or more community partners. Any member of a team can be the lead applicant for funding. Applicants are encouraged to reach out to their MiSTEM Network regional directors for assistance.
The application deadline is March 9. Registration is open for two webinars about the initiative and the funding opportunity: Monday, Feb. 3: Program and toolkit breakdown, and Thursday, Feb. 20: Information about the request for proposals.
From Students to Stewards will provide a roadmap for other schools looking to develop Great Lakes-based curriculum and ensure that Michigan is cultivating the next generation of water stewards, leaders, and decision makers.