Groundswell is a place-based environmental education program in the College of Education at Grand Valley State University. The program's mission is to get students outside and learning through their communities. We model and support effective teaching pedagogy through community-based projects that address a real environmental need. Student engagement and learning through these projects help foster the next generation of environmental stewards. With an extensive professional development program focused on the E-STEM fields, we help teachers incorporate inquiry-based education and Next Generation Science Standards into their practice. We also connect schools to community organizations and provide funding for student-led stewardship projects.
“We found Groundswell Michigan to be a well-articulated model for activating change in communities through E-STEM resources and partnerships. Judges felt that Groundswell Michigan stood out for their innovative use of partnerships. Their holistic approach integrates local experts and professionals with students and teachers to address community environmental issues. Their networking with community-focused organizations was also exemplary for supporting youth learning and involving the larger community. Groundswell Michigan’s E-STEM curriculum was also notably strong, raising students’ awareness about the interconnectedness of environmental and human systems. The curriculum also challenges young people to think about best ways to communicate with others to create long-term change. The pedagogical approach features an extremely valuable project-based learning training for educators as well. We loved the application of theory and felt Groundswell was an inspiring example of catalytic work that activates multiple parts of a community around important E-STEM issues!”