Alpena, Mich. – The Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (CFNEM) is the recipient of a $161,578 grant from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust to support the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative’s Marine Debris Stewards project.
The award to CFNEM is one of six grants totaling over $563,000 from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust’s 2023 grants as part of the Great Lakes Stewardship. All the funded projects will connect K-12 students and teachers with opportunities to learn about, and become stewards for, the Great Lakes.
The Marine Debris Stewards project 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.
“This grant is a real win for our region of the Great Lakes basin,” says CFNEM Executive Director Patrick Heraghty. “The protection of our waters is so important, and it is vital that knowledge of how to protect and preserve these natural resources starts at a young age so we can foster an environment of stewardship for a precious asset.”
CFNEM serves as the fiduciary sponsor for the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI), which will manage and oversee the Marine Debris Stewards project, working directly with schools across the region.
"Marine debris is a growing threat to the freshwater ecosystems of the Great Lakes and it is so important for students to understand how they can take action and be stewards in their communities from an early age," says Meag Schwartz, NEMIGLSI Network Coordinator. "We appreciate the partnership from the Community Foundation in securing this funding from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust and are excited to continue to support teachers and students across the region in their place-based stewardship education projects."
NEMIGLSI is one of six hubs of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative. NEMIGLSI provides teachers with free professional learning opportunities, project funding, connections with community partners, and individualized support based on the needs and interests of the schools served.
Other grants awarded by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust include $64,051 to Grand Valley State University for the Upstream-Downstream Connections in the Lake Michigan Basin Project; $159,059 to Michigan State University Extension for the Teaching Great Lakes Literacy: Connecting Scientists, Educators, and Youth Through Research and Data Explorations Project; $30,278 to Discovery Center Great Lakes for the Connecting Grand Traverse Regional Youth with the Great Lakes Through Recreation and Education Project; $77,353 to the Inland Seas Education Association for the Advancing Great Lakes Stewardship: A Year-long Teacher Professional Development with Inland Seas Project; and $43,834 to the West Michigan Environmental Action Council for the Summer Science Explorers of Muskegon Project.