In September, we traveled to Langley, British Columbia to explore the strengths that the Langley Environmental Partners Society brings to GM GREEN. This month, we’re heading to Detroit, MI to meet a dynamic educator and partner who have teamed up to do big things through GM GREEN.
Longtime educator Tracy Ortiz from Clippert Academy has been supporting her students in Step 1 of the Community Action and Problem-Solving Process by participating in water monitoring through the Friends of the Rouge’s Rouge Education Project and with support from mentors at GM Romulus Engine. Friends of the Rouge specializes in promoting restoration and stewardship of the Rouge River. This work provides an opportunity for her students to monitor and improve the overall health of the Rouge River watershed.
After seeing first hand the impact other young people throughout southeast Michigan were having in their communities using place based learning, Tracy joined the Southeast Michigan Stewardship (SEMIS) Coalition, another Earth Force partner. SEMIS utilizes our Process as a tool to help their educators and partners provide students with authentic place and project based learning experiences.
At the SEMIS Summer Institute, Tracy further deepened her understanding of place-based education and how to use the Process. She is now working closely with a SEMIS Curriculum Coach to use the Process in all five of her science classes for the 2016-2017 school year. The Curriculum Coach meets with Tracy once every two weeks, modeling aspects of the Process and drawing on Tracy’s decades of experience in hands-on learning.
Each class will gather water quality data on the Rouge River and conduct other community inventories to get a full picture of the issues facing the river. Then, they will each identify an issue they wish to tackle, conduct balanced research, build strong community partnerships, and create sustainable solutions to pressing environmental challenges.
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.