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New Grants to Boost Freshwater Literacy, Innovative STEM Education for K-12 Students

February 1, 2022

Media Contact: 

Beata Kica, 517-614-9773

EGLE Media Office, 517-284-9278

$200,000 available to support school programs in Michigan

State environmental and education leaders announced $200,000 in funding today to boost freshwater literacy programs and increase access to real-world science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiences for K-12 students.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) will award $100,000 to expand freshwater literacy place-based STEM education, and Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's (LEO) MiSTEM Network will award $100,000 to support innovative STEM 3-P (problem, place and project-based) learning.

Grants will be awarded to incorporate freshwater-focused efforts, place-based approaches and real-world experiences to engage students about the importance of Michigan's Great Lakes and water resources, and prepare them for careers in a variety of STEM fields. To help schools accomplish these goals, EGLE's Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Education and LEO's MiSTEM Network have developed resources, information and opportunities for students and educators.

"Empowering our youth to find their voice and learn how to protect our Great Lakes and watersheds will develop tomorrow's advocates, leaders and policy makers," said Liesl Clark, EGLE director. "With more freshwater coastline than any state in the continental U.S., it's critical that every student in Michigan has access to water-focused education. These grants will enrich schools and communities throughout the state and nurture a sense of stewardship for everyone involved."

The continued partnership between EGLE and LEO supports students and educators through new and innovative approaches to STEM education.

"Continued partnerships are key to addressing our state's talent gap and preparing our students for high-demand career paths in STEM fields and beyond," said Susan Corbin, LEO director. "We encourage schools and community partners across the state to take advantage of this grant opportunity and join us in gearing up today's talent for the jobs of the future."

The new grant opportunity is available through a collaboration of the Michigan Great Lakes Protection Fund, EGLE, the U.S. EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and LEO's MiSTEM Network. It is a continuation of the 2020 From Students to Stewards Initiative and the 2021 MiSTEM Transformative Playbook grants.

From Students to Stewards was launched to teach students about the Great Lakes, Michigan watersheds and the impact people have on water resources. The program integrates water literacy principles into place-based education and STEM learning across all grade levels to engage students.

In 2020, six school districts shared over $55,000 through From Students to Stewards to integrate water literacy principles and place-based education into school curricula and their continuous improvement plans to enhance school performance and prepare young learners for future STEM careers.

MiSTEM playbook grants focus on transforming STEM education through 3-P learning. Grants will be awarded to STEM educators interested in or already using 3-P learning to test MiSTEM playbooks and help model successful implementation of 3-P learning in other schools. Priority will be given to applicants that also integrate computer science.

The grants are available through a request for proposals to fund at least 10 proposals, with a maximum award of $20,000. The programs that are chosen will integrate Great Lakes water literacy principles or innovative cross-disciplinary STEM learning into curricula and continuous improvement plans using a 3P-based learning approach.

Funding is made available through the MiSTEM Network and in part by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, through a grant under the Michigan Great Lakes Protection Fund and one under the U.S. EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Awardees will also have access to technical assistance from EGLE's Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Education and the MiSTEM Network.

Applicants must be part of a project team to qualify for funding. Teams must include one or more schools, local or intermediate school districts or public school academies and one or more community partners. Applicants are encouraged to reach out to their MiSTEM Network Region for assistance.

Interested parties can attend a webinar to learn about the grant content and obtain answers to questions that potential applicants might have on Wednesday, Feb. 9, from 5-6 p.m. The grant application can be found on the MiSTEM website, and the deadline is Tuesday, April 12. 

For more information or to contact a member of the project team, go to the website or contact a MiSTEM Region.