MISSION: Building and empowering students as stewards of our water resources through scientific investigations and community engagement.
The Flint River Watershed Coalition, with our Flint River GREEN partners coordinates an applied citizen science, place-based learning curriculum for Middle School and High School students that has a positive impact on the environment, now and into the future. Originating in 1989 with 100 students from the City of Flint, we currently reach over 900 students in 20 school districts from Genesee, Lapeer, and Saginaw Counties.
6th – 12th grade citizen science, place-based education water quality program
Teachers and students test the water chemistry of their local streams and apply their results through community action projects
Participants are paired with expert mentors who fully support tailored classroom integration and connect the program to environmental careers
Students attend and present their findings at the annual Student Summit in May each year
Supports Michigan Science Standards/NGSS
Fall or spring stream testing options with opportunities to connect to other FRWC programs such as benthic macroinvertebrate sampling, paddling trips, Stewardship Day, and storm drain stenciling service learning
GREEN = Global Rivers Environmental Education Network. Using scientific methods to test local streams and rivers, area students identify an environmental problem, research the causes of the problem, and work toward a solution in practices or policies. The capstone of the program is the GREEN Student Summit, held each year in May.
At the Summit, students from across the watershed meet, present their results to one another, and attend various breakout sessions led by environmental professionals from a wide variety of fields. The summit provides our students with their first professional conference experience, hones their presentation skills, and allows sharing of information from school to school.
The monitoring results gathered by students compliment the on-going benthic monitoring conducted by the Watershed Coalition. It also provides data for use by the Genesee County Drain Commissioner in fulfilling its responsibilities relative to storm water runoff concerns and abatement.
Teachers participating in the program are provided:
- a classroom mentor to assist in monitoring, data interpretation, and career exploration
- professional development opportunities (with SCECHs awarded)
- $500+ in testing supplies
- an opportunity to connect with other local teachers implementing project-based learning
- eligibility to apply for additional funding for special projects
In addition, participating schools in Genesee County satisfy a portion of their requirements under their Phase II stormwater regulation requirements.
The program is partly funded by the Genesee County Drain Office and General Motors, both of whom provide classroom mentors and summit presenters. Professional development training, curriculum and other aspects of the program are supported by:
- Flint River Watershed Coalition
- Michigan State University- Extension: 4-H
- UM-Flint’s Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative Hub: Discovering PLACE
Flint River GREEN Process:
- Teachers connect with expert environmental mentors and participate in professional development training to learn how to facilitate the program with students.
- Students and their teachers collaborate with their mentors inside and outside of their classrooms to perform water quality tests on bodies of water within their watershed.
- Students use their findings to learn about human impacts on water quality and develop action plans to improve or maintain the water in their area.
- Students share this information with their peers and community officials at school and at the annual Student Summit.