GM GREEN Kicks Off in British Columbia and Texas

GM GREEN (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network) water monitoring kicked off this spring in Langley, British Columbia and Arlington, Texas. Through the program, young people work with engineers from General Motors to conduct water quality monitoring and use their findings to create lasting solutions for pressing water quality issues in their community.

Students in each community worked with local partners, Langley Environmental Partners Society and River Legacy, respectively, as well as mentors from Langley (Vancouver) Parts Distribution Centre and Arlington Assembly, to test the water quality of local rivers and streams by performing chemical tests, sampling for aquatic macroinvertebrates, and assessing the stream’s physical attributes.

Check out some pictures below!

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A student from Hutch Jr. High performs water quality tests at Vandergriff Park in Arlington, TX.

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Students gather at Johnson Creek after completing monitoring.

 

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Yorkson Creek Middle School students investigated the invertebrates living in Yorkson Creek in Langley, Canada.

 

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They also tested water pH, turbidity, phosphate & nitrate levels.

Big News from Earth Force: Vince Meldrum Announced as New President/CEO

Earth Force is excited to announce Vince Meldrum as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Meldrum will replace former President/CEO Lisa Bardwell, who is moving to a part-time support role.

“Vince is a proven leader with outstanding nonprofit leadership skills, business vision, and the ability to bring people together,” says Murray Rosenberg, Earth Force Board Co-Chair. “We are excited to leverage his unique set of skills and experiences to shape the next chapter of Earth Force.”

Vince has over 25 years of experience leading a variety of ventures, ranging from national nonprofit organizations, corporate – nonprofit partnerships, and national promotional campaigns. He has transformed organizations by developing new programming, redesigning strategies to incorporate emerging technologies, and expanding organizational partnerships. For the last nine years, Vince worked as a partner at Crecer Strategies, serving as the architect of several large-scale partnerships that brought together nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and corporations to positively impact the lives of young people across the country.

“I am so excited about what is next for Earth Force and am honored to get to work with Vince. He brings a spirit of innovation and purpose that are critical to helping Earth Force accomplish its lofty and important goals,” says Lisa Bardwell, former President/CEO of Earth Force.

We want to also take this time to say thank you to our current President/CEO Lisa Bardwell, who has been at Earth Force for 17 years, first in an executive director role, and then as President/CEO since 2007. Your energy, insight, and ability to push us to think outside of the box will be forever engrained in this organization.

Vince’s official first day will be April 10, 2015. Please take a moment to welcome Vince on social media. Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Why Do Civic Skills Matter in STEM?

When you hear STEM, what necessary skills automatically pop into your mind? My guess would be science, technology, engineering, and math. And that answer would be correct. Take engineers at a wastewater treatment plant for example: when they are assessing the quality of a local body of water, they need to use technology to gather data. Once they have that data, their math and science skills come into play, analyzing and drawing conclusions. Finally, they must engineer solutions that support their findings.

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But what happens after that? How do they get their proposed solutions to be widely accepted by their company, or perhaps their community? Suddenly we’re looking at an entire different set of skills: civic skills.

What are civic skills exactly? They include things like critical thinking, understanding, interpreting and critiquing different points of view, expressing one’s opinions, and active listening.

Civic skills are often overlooked as a critical piece of the STEM puzzle. Exceptional STEM professionals understand that active listening, critical thinking, and strategy are important skills to incorporate during the problem-solving process. Once a solution has been developed, STEM professionals need to build consensus, speak to different audiences, and understand different points of view to move a solution into action. This may include presenting to organizational peers and leadership, speaking at community meetings to inform stakeholders, and adjusting one’s ideas to build greater buy-in.

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Earth Force has been bridging the STEM/civic skills gap for 20 years. We work with communities to support young people in finding their voice while assuming leadership roles in solving local environmental problems. STEM plays a large role in the content areas we seek for young people to develop, but civic skills are our main focus. We strongly believe that if youth are given real-world opportunities to practice civic skills and acquire a deep understanding of the environment now, they will develop the abilities and motivation to become lifelong leaders in addressing environmental issues.