Place-Based Education

Groundswell's mission is to support place-based education (PBE), and PBE is all about learning through your local community. As part of this, we want to help identify local resources to use as jumping-off points for engaging students in learning. These resources encompass multiple subject areas, including history, ecology, language arts, and more.

We are constantly adding to this list, so please check back often. If you have a specific request, please don't hesitate to contact us.

6 Elements of Place-Based Stewardship Education

Developing a quality place-based education project requires a thoughtful approach. Place-based stewardship education (PBSE) uses the local community and environment as the basis for teaching and learning—a feature that may make it especially engaging for learners. The elements of a complete PBSE effort are shown below. In practice, learners may circle back or jump forward in this sequence, depending on their explorations. A downloadable .pdf of this content is also available below. 



Community Exploration

Watersheds and Nonpoint Source Pollution

Nonpoint source pollution comes from all over the watershed - anywhere rain falls. If you live in the Grand Rapids area, you live in the Lower Grand River Watershed. In our watershed, the top three nonpoint source pollutants we are concerned about are sediment, pathogens, and nutrients.

Do you want to help reduce nonpoint source pollution and keep our water clean? Use the resources on this page to:

  • Explore the environmental needs in your community
  • Identify potential solutions
  • Put those solutions into action


Below are some resources that will help as you explore.


Clogged Stormwater Drain

Ducks / Geese

Hard, Impervious Surfaces

Pet Waste

Soil Erosion

Trash and Recycling

What happens to our trash when we throw it away? Where does it go? Do we have enough space to manage all the waste? What happens when trash isn't thrown away properly?

These activities will help you explore how to keep our community litter free and reduce the amount of material sent to the landfill.

Litter, Trash, & Debris

Local History

The Grand Rapids area has a deep, rich history. Explore these local areas to learn more about the how the city got its start, how it changed over time, and how geography and technology shaped its development.

Oakhill Cemetery

Explore Grand Rapids history through this urban cemetery. Learn about our founders, the industries that built our city, and the architectural styles used to honor those laid to rest here.

Page last modified March 13, 2024