East Kentwood Freshman Campus
In an effort to reduce nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, East Kentwood freshmen analyzed the water quality of the Buck Creek watershed and transformed a section of the school campus. Students began by completing a comparative water quality analysis of a Buck Creek tributary (on the campus of EKFC) and Buck Creek. Students used the data to assess EKFC’s NPS pollution impact on the surrounding watershed. Students then researched topics related to native plants and water quality in their English class, culminating in a research paper and bibliography. In addition, the students tested soil in several areas of the courtyard, then grew and planted native flowers and grasses for the garden to improve water absorption and quality of runoff. The plants were grown in the students’ biology class, and some plants were transplanted to the transformed courtyard. The project also improved the aesthetic quality of the courtyard by featuring student sculptures that reflect the ideas and values of conservation, along with informational signage. Finally, in a second English class, students worked on a research unit on eco-justice, and in history class students studied social justice. At EFKC, content teachers are teamed, and this project spanned over two teaching teams and 250 students working in Biology, English, Art, and Social Studies classes.
Fostering Lifelong Stewardship:
This project raised the students’ awareness of what is occurring in their own world. They have been provided an opportunity to interact and impact their own ecosystem, realizing that they can make a difference. Many students now want to plant in their own backyards this summer.
Rebecca Marquardt, Landscape Architect; Jason Googins, Master Naturalist
GVSU College of Education and Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative