Guest Post: Jan Sneddon, Director of GM GREEN
Sitting on the banks of the Maumee River and Lake Erie, Toledo, OH has earned the title of ‘Water Recreation Capital of the Midwest.” It’s the home of the Mud Hens and the National Museum of the Great Lakes, and is known in popular culture as M*A*S*H’s Maxwell Q. Klinger’s hometown.
GM GREEN officially came to Toledo in 2005, as city government showed particular interest in playing a strong role in youth engagement around the environment. The Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) partnered with Earth Force immediately and began serving as on-the-ground support for the program.
They had already been running the Student Watershed Watch, a program that engages regional youth in water quality monitoring of local streams. Students from participating schools gather at a Student Summit to share and compare their water quality results and network with peers and local professionals.
The GM Toledo Transmission has been a long-time supporter of the Student Watershed Watch, both through funding and volunteer support. The facility produced truck transfer cases and transmissions for four and six wheel drive trucks for the military throughout World War II and continues to manufacture transmissions today. It is also invested in supporting young people in environmental and STEM fields. Employees routinely host students to assess water chemistry and macroinvertebrates and the importance of pollinators and to learn about photovoltaic fuel cells.
TMACOG provides a unique foundation for GM GREEN in Toledo. Although most government entities focus on the environment, and specifically water quality, not many make the effort that TMACOG does to invest in young people and build a new generation of environmental stewards. The Student Watershed Watch started 27 years ago to focus on immersing students in water quality science projects. They continue to see this vision through today with the addition of Earth Force and GM.
This coming year, Earth Force and TMACOG will support six schools in guiding their students through the Community Action and Problem-Solving Process. Because of the unique nature of the partnership, TMACOG is connecting more closely with additional city departments to incorporate MS4 permits, allowing youth to aid the government in stormwater management. Students will work hand-in-hand with their local government through the GM GREEN program!
Next month, we’ll travel to another GM GREEN community to uncover what makes it tick. If you have a suggestion of a community you would like to see highlighted, share it in the comments section.
Author: Kristen Mueller
Kristen Mueller leads national communications, creating engagement and excitement around Earth Force, and its partners’, hands on, minds on programming. Specializing in traditional media and social media relations, she brings youth voice and leadership to the forefront of the environmental education field.