Guest Post by Teri Kline – Manager, Environmental, Facilities, & Materials Policy at General Motors
At General Motors, we’re excited to be celebrating two important anniversaries this year with our valued partner Earth Force.
The first is the 25th anniversary of GM GREEN (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network), a unique environmental education program that helps youth better understand their impact on local watersheds through hands-on learning experiences.
The second is the 20th anniversary of Earth Force, the organization that helped grow the program into what it is today.
GM GREEN began when Dr. William Stapp and his graduate students from the University of Michigan collaborated to develop the GREEN educational model. GM became a financial and volunteer contributor a few years later and has been involved ever since.
In those early years, our involvement depended on a dedicated group of environmental engineers to maintain the relationships with local partners in their respective communities. GM GREEN’s “watershed moment” came in 1999 when Earth Force signed on to manage the program.
Earth Force developed an outstanding hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum and each year provides training to educators, community partners, and GM mentors as well as the tools and resources needed to conduct water quality monitoring.
But the most lasting impact Earth Force has had on GM GREEN is its vision for collaboration and talent for bringing together groups that share a commitment to preserving the rivers and streams in their community.
Over the years Earth Force has helped strengthen our relationships with local partners and schools and forged new collaborations to expand the program into more communities. Thanks in large part to the team’s guidance and management, GM GREEN has grown from 16 GM facilities participating in the program to 42 today, including all our U.S. manufacturing plants.
And it continues to expand. This year we’re establishing new GM GREEN programs in seven of our Canadian communities.
By working together, we look forward to celebrating the continued growth of GM GREEN and many more anniversaries to come.
During this year’s Next Steps Institute, GM will sponsor an event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Earth Force’s founding. Hundreds of environmental leaders will gather in our nation’s capital to reflect on 20 years of engaging youth as active citizens who improve the environment throughout the country and especially in GM communities. To register for the “20 Years: Celebrating a Watershed Moment in Earth Force History” event, visit http://www.earthforce.org/anniversary.