Conduct a Groundswell Project

This page houses the current Groundswell program materials, forms, and project funding applications.

East Rockford Middle School bioswale
Godwin Middle School
Mulick Park Elementary

Funding Application Process

Our three-step funding application process is described below with links to download the documents associated with each step. Please contact us with any questions.

Groundswell Rubric

Groundswell's goal is to facilitate quality place-based education (PBE) stewardship in our local communities. Our project process is designed to be accessible and approachable for all educators and administrators, regardless of subject, grade, or familiarity with PBE. Below, you'll find a detailed rubric that outlines expectations for Groundswell projects and program participation for our educators. 

Groundswell Rubric

Project Proposal Document

To get started on a Groundswell project, teachers/school teams must fill out a Project Proposal Document.

Project Proposal Doc Template - PDF

Project Funding amounts range from $250 - $1,500 and depends on the project scope and content.

To apply to do a Groundswell project, open the below folder and search for your school's Google folder. (If you don't find your school's folder, make a copy of the "A-TEMPLATE FOLDER" and title it by your school's name. Your folder should have a copy of each of the documents in the "A-TEMPLATE FOLDER").

Groundswell Project Folder 2023-2024

In your school's folder, you will find a copy of the Project Proposal Doc. Fill out section A and follow the steps in the "How to Fill Out the Form" section to notify Groundswell staff that your project is ready for review. 

Blue background, academic year calendar with review dates on the 15th of each month


We do not have project submission deadlines at Groundswell. 

Instead, the Projects Committee (PC) will meet to review that month’s reporting (the committee will review [A], [B], and [C] section submissions) at each monthly committee meeting. To allow PC time to review, fill out applicable sections ([A], [B], or [C] boxes) by the 15th of the month.

Groundswell staff will get back to teachers on PC feedback within ten (10) business days of the 15th.

Professional Learning Opportunities

We offer several professional learning opportunity (PLO)  workshops throughout the school year, as well as a multi-day workshop series at the end of summer. Our PLOs provides training on a wide range of watershed stewardship topics. Participating Groundswell project team educators are required to attend our PLOs (see Groundswell Rubric above), but all are welcome and we encourage teachers from all subject areas to attend – this is not just a science program!

Topics vary every year, but typical subjects include: teaching outdoors, place-based education best practices, watershed concepts, methods for implementing stewardship projects with students, designing watershed stewardship projects, invasive species identification, water quality data collection and analysis, sustainable development, community outreach and advocacy, land use and human development patterns in our watershed, forestry, food systems, and more!


Summer Institute Day 1 (of 3)

July 30, 2024 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Check out our Summer Institute Webpage for more details! Registration is now LIVE!  A refined schedule, total SCECH credits, and other details coming soon! Are you a teacher new...

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Other Program Materials

Substitute Reimbursement

We provide substitute reimbursement for Groundswell teachers who attend our PLOs. Download the form and submit it following the directions on the form. Please submit this form within 30 days of the PLOs.

Download Form

Photo Release Form and Parent Letter

We want to share all the amazing work your students are doing! Help us by having parents/guardians sign photo release forms for all students involved in Groundswell activities. Please submit the ORIGINAL form to us and keep a copy for your records. On this TWO-SIDED page you will also find the Groundswell Parent Letter. We understand it can be difficult to explain Groundswell and place-based education in a few short sentences. This letter is meant to go home with the photo release form to provide more information and get parents excited about all the exciting opportunities you’ll be providing their student. 

Photo Release Form - English

Formulario de Publicación de Fotografía (Photo Release Form - Spanish)

Page last modified June 6, 2024