The Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI), which serves students and teachers in eight northern Lake Huron counties, is one of the five winners in the second annual Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Innovative Education Award program. The organization will receive a grant of $25,000.
Focusing on communities with some of the highest unemployment rates in Michigan, NEMIGLSI provides local teachers and students with Great Lakes-based natural resource stewardship projects. These activities emphasize hands-on student leadership and social entrepreneurship in place-based learning settings. Moving out of the classroom, students have a chance to learn and research in some of Michigan’s most significant natural environmental areas.
Part of the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan, NEMIGLSI is one of nine hubs in Michigan’s Great Lakes Stewardship Network (GLSI). Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator Brandon Schroeder serves on the NEMGLSI leadership team and has been heavily involved in several of its place-based education projects.
Through NEMIGLISI, northern Michigan students have undertaken projects such as:
- Mapping endangered Pitcher’s Thistle populations on Charity Island
- Building remote-operated underwater cameras to monitor invasive species in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
- Pioneering water quality sampling efforts in the Trout River
“We were impressed by how this Michigan initiative encourages youth to present the source of the problem and implications of the problem to various audiences and how they enabled youth to advocate for feasible solutions,” Cara Gizzi, UL Director of Public Safety Education and Outreach says. “The judges noted that this year’s winning programs demonstrated the lasting returns on investing in sustained contact with the learners over months as well as years. NEMIGLSI and the other winners are the ideal ‘deep learning’ programs that offer effective, meaningful, and measurable engagement in STEM learning that can be readily tracked over time.”
UL is a global independent safety science company that uses research and standards to advance the safety needs of businesses, retailers, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities. The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAEE) is a membership organization that promotes environmental literacy and civic engagement through the power of education.
Developed in collaboration with NAAEE, the UL Innovative Education Award was open to nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Canada that help students engage with environmental science and research. Representatives from all five 2016 award-winning teams will meet in North Carolina in August for a celebration and leadership summit.