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We are expanding our efforts to publicize the projects we fund to show the impact of Great Lakes Fishery Trust (GLFT) funding in communities across the Lake Michigan basin.

At the March 2023 Board of Trustees meeting, the GLFT approved six proposals totaling $536,153 as part of the Great Lakes Stewardship program. The projects will connect K–12 students and teachers with opportunities to learn about, and become stewards for, the Great Lakes.

Summaries of the proposals are below.

2023 Funded Great Lakes Stewardship Proposals

$64,051 to Grand Valley State University for the Upstream-Downstream Connections in the Lake Michigan Basin Project

West Michigan teachers and their students will gain awareness of the value of their local watershed to human and nonhuman communities within the Lake Michigan basin through participation in direct experiences with local waterways. Using a place-based approach to examining the upstream and downstream impact of human interactions and interventions on the watershed, students will work with local environmental partners to design and implement projects focused on improving and protecting the watershed for all.

$159,059 to Michigan State University Extension for the Teaching Great Lakes Literacy: Connecting Scientists, Educators, and Youth Through Research and Data Explorations Project

This project will deliver lessons to educators throughout the Great Lakes region through use of a workshop model designed to connect scientists and educators to develop data-driven lessons engaging students in exploration and stewardship around Great Lakes topics and issues relevant to their local communities.

$30,278 to Discovery Center Great Lakes for the Connecting Grand Traverse Regional Youth with the Great Lakes Through Recreation and Education Project

Utilizing the newly renovated Discovery Pier on West Grand Traverse Bay, this program will introduce northwestern Michigan youth to the Great Lakes fishery through hands-on workshops which will include Great Lakes food web exploration, basic fishing skills, fish identification, and stewardship.

$161,578 to the Community Foundation of Northeast Michigan for the Marine Debris Stewards Project

Marine Debris Stewards will foster student learning and leadership through hands-on marine debris investigations and stewardship in northeast Michigan. Using place-based stewardship education, students will explore their local Great Lakes watersheds alongside natural resource community partners, analyze their findings and take action by proposing and implementing system- or community-level changes that help prevent marine debris from entering the Great Lakes.

$77,353 to the Inland Seas Education Association for the Advancing Great Lakes Stewardship: A Year-long Teacher Professional Development with Inland Seas Project

This project will support a year-long classroom stewardship experience with 30 educators from across the Great Lakes following an immersive, four-day field experience that combines watershed learning with authentic science inquiry and place-based education pedagogy. Educators will implement stewardship action projects with their students over the following school year. A culminating event will bring educators back together to share their work and provide additional support as they integrate this experience into future years.

$43,834 to the West Michigan Environmental Action Council for the Summer Science Explorers of Muskegon Project

West Michigan Environmental Action Council is partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore to expand watershed education programming to their members. Members will engage with hands-on models and field studies at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve to learn how to measure water quality and stop local threats of pollution. Project partners will conduct several community clean ups to expand members’ knowledge and community connections to protect our watersheds.