Groundswell receives grant, new director

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Grand Valley’s College of Education was awarded a $200,000 renewal grant for Groundswell, an initiative to help young people learn about the Great Lakes and local watershed systems and become active stewards of the environment.

Groundswell helps Michigan’s students and their teachers collaborate with local organizations to study and address important environmental issues in their communities, while they learn academic content and practice the skills of problem-solving and citizenship.

Mike Posthumus, a 2008 Grand Valley grad who majored in biology and biomedical sciences, has just been named project coordinator for Groundswell. “My goal is ensuring Groundswell provides the support necessary to continue invigorating our entire community on a path toward improved watershed stewardship and ecological literacy,” he said.

The initiative is currently comprised of more than 35 businesses, government institutions, and community organizations partnering with 12 local schools. Groundswell is funded by the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, the Wege Foundation, the Frey Foundation and the Baldwin Foundation. Additional support has been provided by Celebration! Cinemas and individual donors. Groundswell has also received in-kind support from more than 40 community partners and schools.

Current projects include:
• Forest Hills Eastern Middle School: Investigating campus wide storm water runoff and instituting landscaping practices to lessen river contamination.
• New Branches School: Building a greenhouse to grow plants and study how fertilizers, pesticides and other substances for gardening affect both the plants and the water runoff from the gardens.
• East Rockford Middle School: Creating a building-wide recycling program.
• Lowell High School: Exploring water and soil issues due to food production and population growth.
• City Middle School and the Sixth Grade Center for Economicology: Learning about runoff and the effects that has on the Grand River. Mapping nutrient runoff from the Huff Park neighborhood and educating residents about nutrient overload in the wetlands.
• The Potter’s House School: Investigating the degree of pollution and flooding in Plaster Creek while looking for appropriate and beneficial local responses to help the creek.