From Clinton River Watershed Council, GM Mentors Local Kids Learn About Environmental Awareness
Students, teachers and General Motors employees will get their feet wet in environmental science - quite literally - at Riverside Park on the Clinton River, in Auburn Hills, as part of the Clinton River Watershed Council’s Stream Leaders program this Wednesday, May 7, 2008. Approximately 80 kids will conduct water quality monitoring, learn scientific techniques and assess the stream’s general health under the watchful tutelage of their teachers and volunteer mentors from GM’s Pontiac Assembly Center, Pontiac Centerpoint campus and Pontiac Metal Center.
“The CRWC’s Stream Leaders program is one of many science and education programs GM supports in the communities where we have operations,” said John Dansby, plant manager of GM’s Pontiac Assembly Center. “This program is great for the kids because it’s ’real world’ and hands-on scientific learning,” he added.
“We not only support the programs financially, but it’s a great opportunity for our employees to get involved in the community. Our employees really enjoy working with the students and the entire event,” added David Prange, plant manager of GM’s Pontiac Metal Center.
The three Pontiac area GM facilities recently donated $6,500 specifically to support the Clinton River Watershed Council’s Stream Leaders program. Since 2004, more than 2,500 Pontiac area school kids have participated in the annual event.
Through the CRWC’s Stream Leaders program at Riverside Park, student participants are guided by GM mentors and CRWC members to help students experience real-world applications of scientific techniques and environmental awareness. With help from the CRWC, Pontiac-area GM employees mentor students from Grant Graham Elementary of the Avondale school district in Auburn Hills, and Washington Middle School, of the Pontiac school district at two sites along the nearby Clinton River.
“Stream Leaders is an outstanding way for the kids to connect to their community, their teachers, the outdoors and science as well as experience the mentors and all that being a volunteer can do for a community,” said Anne Vaara, CRWC executive director.
The Stream Leaders program is intended to provide students with an educational experience in water quality monitoring, data interpretation, and citizen action, as well as provide general information to local officials concerning water quality. Students, teachers and volunteers get in the river and examine the chemical constituents of the river, inventory physical stream-side conditions and land uses that may affect water quality, and sample the aquatic biological communities to evaluate the health of the river. Students and teachers also analyze the data to locate any possible sources of pollution problems within the river.
GM mentors from GM’s Pontiac Assembly Center, GM Centerpoint and GM Pontiac Metal Center and students from Grant Graham Elementary School will participate in the CRWC’s Stream Leaders program on Wednesday, May 7, 2008, from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m., at Riverside Park, near the corner of Auburn Road and S. Squirrel Road.
In recent history, the Clinton River has been perceived as a depository of wastes. Today, healthy trout fisheries and improvements in water quality tell the story of a river making its great comeback. It’s a story that deserves attention as the Clinton River Watershed Council and the Clean Water Act celebrate their 36th anniversaries. While there are challenges in protecting and enhancing local water quality, the CRWC’s student water-quality monitoring program provides a way for GM mentors, teachers and students to actively engage with our natural resources.
The Clinton River Watershed Council works in partnership with Earth Force’s GREEN (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network) program to bring curriculum and resource tools to area educators. Protecting Our Watersheds is the GREEN curriculum provided to participating schools that takes students through the process of developing and implementing a community action project to improve water quality. The Clinton River Watershed Council has been locally coordinating GREEN as part of their Stream Leaders program in the Clinton River Watershed since 1992.
Over 9,500 other students across North America will participate this year in Earth Force GREEN, which is a partnership between community-based organizations, such as the CRWC, and the non-profit organization, Earth Force. The GREEN program, sponsored by General Motors, has been giving students the opportunity to participate in hands-on science in their communities for nearly 20 years.
About the Clinton River Watershed Council
The Clinton River Watershed Council (CRWC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and celebrating the Clinton River, its watershed and Lake St. Clair. The council was formed in 1972 as an association of local governments under the authority of the Michigan Local Rivers Management Act of 1964.
For more than 30 years, CRWC has served to coordinate the efforts of local governments, businesses, community groups and individuals in improving water quality, promoting innovative watershed management techniques, and celebrating the river as a natural and recreational resource. The council provides programs and services in the areas of watershed management, education and stewardship, including our well-known Stream Leaders, Adopt-A-Stream, River Day, and Clinton Clean-Up programs. More information can be found at www.crwc.org.
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