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Educator Resources

Educator Resources

Groundswell is a place-based environmental education program housed in the College of Education at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We support K-12 educators who want to take their students beyond the classroom, in partnership with a coalition of community organizations. Groundswell students engage in community-based learning and environmental stewardship to protect the Grand River and the Great Lakes. We provide free teacher training, project funding, connections with community partners, and additional support depending on the school’s individual needs and interests.

Program Resources

“By taking students out in the field, we nudge the door open so students ask questions, make observations, look for problems, and seek solutions. They start to understand they are part of this world and they indeed can make a difference.” – Nijagara Davidson, Groundswell Teacher

Teacher Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in Groundswell! Click here to learn more about the benefits Groundswell offers teachers and steps for getting involved.

Learn About Groundswell

Groundswell Program Materials

Click here for the current Groundswell program materials, forms, and project funding applications. You will find the following documents here: calendar of professional development workshops, Team Information Form, Initial Project Proposal, Detailed Project Proposal, project funding criteria, program information to share with parents and other educators, and more!

Explore Program Materials

Student Showcase Resources

Groundswell is proud to celebrate the work of student stewards through its annual Groundswell Student Showcase. Each year, students share two-minute videos about their community stewardship activities. Parents, teachers, and community members come together to watch these videos on the big screen at a local movie theater.

These videos are powerful tools for telling people about all the great things students are doing. They’re also extremely valuable for educating the public about environmental stewardship. But they can take a lot of time and effort to create. Click here for some helpful tips and information for creating your two-minute video.

Get Tips and Tricks

Place-based Education Resources

“Place-based education has really increased student engagement! My students are not learning things for a test, but for real-life. The skills they are utilizing are making them step out of their comfort zone and are making a difference at our school/community.” – Darcy Black, Groundswell Teacher

Student 2 Steward (S2S)

Student 2 Steward (S2S) provides educators with a step-by-step process for developing community-based stewardship projects. These projects help your students see a link between classroom learning and their lives outside of school. Demonstrating this link improves student engagement and success.S2S logo

You will learn to:

  • Create a high-quality stewardship project that adheres to state standards
  • Identify community partners to assist with carrying out a project
  • Develop strategies to raise funds for your student project

These projects allow students to gain content knowledge and become more active citizens. They will learn first-hand how to make a difference in their communities. You will help inspire them to be stewards … they will inspire the world to be a better place.

Start Learning

Project-Based Learning – Buck Institute for Education

The Buck Institute for Education is a fantastic resource for more information about engaging your students in project-based learning (PBL). Below are the materials presented at the Groundswell Summer Institute 2016.

For more information, visit their website.

Classroom Resources

“Our students are not simply talking about how to clean up the pond down the street but the ponds in their yards, the swamps near their cottages. They are transferring both the knowledge and interest to many other places that are important to them and within their sphere of influence. ” – Susan Gray, Groundswell Teacher

Communities for Clean Water Video Series

Groundswell partnered with WGVU to create a series of educational videos about nonpoint source pollution. This type of pollution is one of the biggest threats to healthy lakes, streams, and rivers. Watch the videos to learn more about NPS pollution and what you can do to help protect our water. Engage your students by using the accompanying lesson plans created by our partners at the Annis Water Resources Institute.

Start Watching

Watershed Exploration Resources

Our teachers and partners create amazing resources to help you and your students explore the local watershed. This page houses resources presented during professional development sessions – and more. Check back often – we’re always posting new materials!

Start Exploring

Cultural Competency Resources

We were fortunate to have representatives from The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan present at the Groundswell Summer Institute 2016. They shared strategies for teaching language learners and engaged us in discussion around cultural competency and issues specific to the Hispanic community in Grand Rapids. Below are some of the resources they provided.

Community Advocacy Resources

We were grateful for the opportunity to have a representative from LINC UP present at the Groundswell Summer Institute 2016. He shared strategies for advocacy and community engagement. Among the information he shared was the Midwest Academy’s strategy chart.

The Midwest Academy is an organization based out of Chicago dedicated to advancing social justice. Click here to visit their website.

Environmental Justice Resources

Many thanks to our community partners who fostered an engaging discussion around environmental justice at the Groundswell Summer Institute 2016. Below are some of the resources shared during that session.