GM GREEN. Annual Report 2009. GM GREEN engages young people as active
citizens, improving the environment and their communities, now and in the ...
Annual Report 2009 GM GREEN engages young people as active citizens, improving the environment and their communities, now and in the future. Bill Stapp envisioned a world where people were informed stewards of their local rivers. He saw potential in the power of citizens to organize, educate, and make change. Twenty years later, his vision – the Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN) – marks two decades of doing just that. In a twenty year partnership with General Motors and Earth Force, the GREEN program has reached more than 100,000 young people in the United States alone, growing each year with the addition of new communities, volunteers and support. Rivers across the country have been touched by the hands of young people and community partners who monitor their water quality and then use that data to take action to improve their local watersheds. 2009 marks 20 years of GM and GREEN. This report reflects some of the history of the partnership, as well as some of the successes of the past year. Very few partnerships persevere for two decades and manage to grow stronger with each passing year, but GM GREEN has. It is with the vision of Bill Stapp in mind that we honor the teachers, volunteers, partners, and the young people who have kept GREEN strong and successful all these years. We’re looking forward to the next twenty!
GM GREEN A Letter From Earth Force Years ago, when I was at the University of Michigan, there was a lot of hubbub about a cool program that focused on engaging people all over the world around the quality of water in their streams and rivers. It’s hard to describe the level of excitement that the folks doing this work exuded – it was palpable and contagious. The person at the center of it, the late. Dr. Bill Stapp, was the epitome of that excitement - he was incredibly high energy, passionate and inspiring. And the wonderful program that he created and nurtured was the Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN). Imagine my surprise eleven years later when GREEN entered my life again, now as a part of Earth Force and retaining the relationship with General Motors that was established back in 1989. As we celebrate the 20 year anniversary of GM GREEN, I feel the need to reflect on the durability of this outstanding partnership. First of all, it’s built on an exquisitely simple idea – invite people to understand and care for the quality of their rivers and streams and provide them with tools that are inexpensive, easy to use and accessible. Secondly, it’s not about one person’s passion or commitment. GM GREEN is embedded in communities and partnerships that care about their local environment and that have, some of them for 20 years, invested time and energy in making sure young people are part of that stewardship effort. Finally, it’s about connections. The 20 year story of GM GREEN is written in the language of relationships. From Lansing, MI, where GM has been supporting GREEN since 1989, to the Fort Wayne Indiana facility’s 8 year partnership with Bluffton Middle School, to Grand Prairie, TX, where GREEN was established only 3 years ago local partners like the Woldumar Nature Center, Hoosier Riverwatch and the Grand Prairie Independent School District work with GM mentors to support teachers and students in water quality monitoring and action projects. Those partner relationships not only make GREEN possible, they make GREEN successful! This report is a modest testament to the depth of the GREEN program and the partnerships that have flourished and expanded over the past 20 years. It is Earth Force’s great honor to be a part of this legacy. Thank you! Lisa Bardwell Earth Force President and CEO
2009 GM GREEN Performance Measures 49
Number of Participating Facilities Average Number of Volunteers per Facility
Number of Facilities Receiving Media
Value to Employees Percentage of participating employees reporting that their skills are well-matched to the experience
Percentage of participating employees that indicate the experience was personally fulfilling
Percentage of participating employees who feel that they were part of something larger at GM
Value to Educators Percentage of educators who report that participating in GREEN increases their satisfaction with teaching
Percentage of educators who are interested in participating in GREEN again
Percentage of educators who report that GREEN increases their students desire to actively work on environmental issues
Percentage of educators who report that GREEN increases their students’ interest in science
Value to General Motors Percentage of educators who indicate their opinions of GM have changed positively as a result of GM’s support of GREEN
Percentage of educators who indicate they are now more likely to consider GM products for their next vehicle purchase
Media Highlights When young people visit a stream, investigate issues, and develop action projects with the help of General Motors, the media takes note. This unique blend of youth driven environmental action, corporate social responsibility, and true community partnerships has been recognized by the media time and again over the past 20 years. The GM GREEN program received more than 14 million media impressions in 2009!
Print 451,897 Media coverage highlights GM’s ongoing commitment to the GM GREEN program as well as the efforts of young people to understand and protect their local water resources.
GREEN Students GREEN students participating during the 2008-2009 school year showed statistically significant gains in civic and environmentally-related attitudes and in watershed-related knowledge. In fact, 92% of surveyed students reported gains across all measured skill items – covering civic efficacy, environmental responsibility and Earth Force skills (e.g., utilization of different points of view, recognition of the need for lasting change, and student awareness of their everyday actions’ affect on water quality).
reported a better understanding of environmental issues.
showed an increase in the civic skills needed to effect changes in their community.
want to continue working on the issues addressed by their project.
GREEN Educators According to educators responding to the Earth Force GREEN Educator Survey, participating in GREEN: increased teachers’ level of understanding of their community’s water quality issues (77%). provided new ways of motivating their students (88%). helped teachers create new partnerships with environmental organizations in their communities (74%).
GREEN Mentors General Motors’ employees donate time and energy to supporting educators and young people in their water quality investigation and protection efforts. That equates to greater job satisfaction for them and greater benefits to GM communities. As a result of their participation in GM GREEN, GM Mentors reported: gaining new skills and knowledge. finding the interaction with young people fulfilling. feeling more connected to their community as a result of participating in the program. “It was very fulfilling watching young people getting involved in conserving our natural resources.”
- GM Mentor
GM GREEN Partner Organizations: GM Facilities:
Ft. Wayne Assembly Indianapolis Metal Center Marion Metal Center Bedford Castings
Lordstown Metal Center Lordstown Assembly Spring Hill Manufacturing
Toledo Transmission Mansfield Metal Center
Celebrating GM GREEN’s History Students from Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan were alarmed when a number of their peers – all of whom were windsurfers – contracted hepatitis A. With guidance from their science teacher and Dr. William Stapp at the University of Michigan, the students decided to monitor the water quality at the windsurfing site for fecal coliform, a group of bacteria that indicate the presence of fecal matter and potentially pathogenic bacteria and viruses. The windsurfing concession on the river was uninterested in the student data, so students wrote letters to the city council and the editor of the local paper to raise awareness about the issue. They presented their findings and suggestions for solutions to the city council, and signs were posted warning bathers. Eventually, the windsurfing concession was closed. These students also participated in educating the public about the issue in an effort to garner votes to approve funding to fix the inadequate city sewer system, the original source of the fecal coliform. Eventually Dr. Stapp expanded developed the Field Manual for Water Quality Monitoring to assist teachers and students in understanding how to effectively monitor water quality and work towards water quality improvement.
GM Bay City
The Genesis of GREEN (by Mare Cromwell, GREEN Executive Director, 1990-1994)
GMPT Flint North Flint Engine South Flint Truck Assembly Flint Metal Center Grand Blanc Metal Center CCA – Swartz Creek
CCA - Bolingbrook
Romulus Engineering Center Livonia Engine Romulus Engine Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly UAW-GM Center for Human Resources GM HQ (Renaissance Center)
GM GREEN’s Success in Wentzville, Missouri
Partnering with GM was attractive because they brought unique resources, mentors in the environmental field, regional contacts, and national initiatives, that local schools could tap into. There was also the opportunity for students to learn from people in industry, to better understand their role in society and to obtain future career insight.
Early GREEN initiatives were week-long intensives in Detroit, Flint, and Dayton. We worked primarily in GM communities, going into classrooms and assisting with watershed-wide monitoring programs. Planning meetings were often held in GM facilities and monitoring day brought GM volunteers out to work side-by-side with the students and teachers. Lori Wingerter was our primary GM contact was an invaluable resource for us in those early years.
Bowling Green Assembly
CCA - Denver
Oshawa Assembly GM Canada Headquarters Saginaw Metal Casting Shreveport Assembly
The Bowling Green, KY, GM GREEN partnership began in the fall of 2005. The Western Kentucky University Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability (CEES) signed on to be the local partner, teachers were recruited, and students got out into the local watershed to test water quality with the help of GM mentors and funding. Dr. Terry Wilson, WKU CEES Director, envisioned applying the elements of the GREEN program and the Earth Force 6 step process to the work he was doing with KUPEE (Kentucky University Partnership for Environmental Education). With the support of the State of Kentucky, all of the Centers for Environmental Education at the 8 Kentucky state universities were trained in Earth Force.
When I left GREEN in 1994, we had more than 110 countries who had contacted us about starting GREEN programs, and about 65 country coordinators were working on water monitoring and watershed stewardship.
Over the past eight years, Wentzville Middle School students have collected invaluable data and submitted it as part of the the Missouri Stream Team Program, which uses it to assess trends in streams and habitat. GM GREEN has also become a part of the school’s curriculum, and has, thanks to dedicated teachers, expanded to engage the entire sixth and eighth grades (roughly 22 classes and 700 students) at Wentzville Middle School.
Next we ventured into the realm of pre-service teacher education. Through a grant with the USEPA, two universities in Kentucky took on the task of exploring how we prepare teachers to do environmental service-learning - the backbone of the GREEN program - in college. Finally, the partnership has expanded to include educating in-service teachers through their continuing education and Environmental Education Endorsement through the State of Kentucky.
Thank you to GM for supporting GREEN all of these years. And to all the students, teachers, GM employees, Earth Force and others who have continued the watershed-community magic.
This type of service-learning is a win-win as students meaningfully engage in problem solving while addressing actual community needs.
The GM GREEN program in Bowling Green has truly impacted the young people, future educators and communities across the state of Kentucky!
“The GM GREEN program impacts students by engrossing them in hands-on data collection, community issues, and projects in their hometown. Giving them the power to make a difference is something they can carry with them in many facets of life.” ~ Jamie Paige - Stormwater Management Coordinator, City of Wentzville
GREEN’s international scope reaches 110 countries
Earth Force adopts GREEN
Earth Force publishes Protecting Our Watersheds curriculum
Deepening Impact in Flint, Michigan In 1990, the Flint Community Schools were offered an opportunity to participate in GREEN through a grant from General Motors. That year, five Flint teachers and 100 students participated in water quality monitoring with assistance from GM Mentors and by 2004, 1200 Genesee County students were participating in a one day water quality monitoring effort throughout the Flint River Watershed. Over the years, the Flint River GREEN program has evolved into a large scale partnership involving several different partners, including 6 different GM facilities. Because of their great success, in 2008 Earth Force invited the Genesee Intermediate School District to become more deeply involved in GREEN through participation in a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Earth Force provides training and support to partners, mentors and teachers, as well as the Protecting Our Watersheds curriculum. Together, GM, local partners and Earth Force provide a formidable triumvirate of support for GM GREEN. Earth Force has strengthened the sustainability of local GREEN programs through its emphasis on partnerships with community-based organizations.
General Motors signs on as GREEN supporter
From Bowling Green to GREEN Kentucky
In the fall of 2003, a GM GREEN partnership between Earth Force, General Motors and St. Charles County (and later the City of Wentzville) was established in Wentzville, Missouri. The local government was interested in the GM GREEN program because they saw the program as being a great hands-on way to get people—kids, GM mentors, and teachers—involved in improving the community.
Thanks to countless undergraduate and graduate students, and Bill Stapp’s tireless energy, courses were created around curriculum writing for Air Monitoring, Cross-Cultural Exchange Programs, Citizenship Skills, and Water Monitoring. One semester there were close to 65 students working on GREEN projects.
In 1999, Dr.Stapp’s search for an organization to house his GREEN program led him to Earth Force. The Earth Force mission – to engage young people as active citizens who improve the environment and their communities now and in the future – aligned perfectly with the goals of GREEN. Upon adopting GREEN, Earth Force developed the Protecting Our Watersheds curriculum, applying its award-winning 6 step investigation-to-action process to Stapp’s watershed content and vision for engaging communities.
GM joined GREEN as a corporate partner in 1989 and have supported the program both financially and with employee volunteer time ever since.
The Earth Force Connection
In 1986, Dr. Stapp and his graduate students developed a comprehensive educational program through the formation of networks and workshops with the goal of bringing students, teachers, and communities around the world closer together through the bond of studying and improving our common river systems – and thus GREEN was born.
Bill Stapp starts GREEN
Milford Proving Ground Willow Run CCA- Willow Run
Lansing Grand River Assembly Lansing Regional Stamping Lansing Delta Township Assembly
GM Technical Center Warren Transmission Pontiac Assembly Pontiac North WFG Central Office CCA Pontiac CCA Drayton Plains Orion Assembly Center
GM Facilities Without Partners:
Through this grant, additional teachers were trained in the Earth Force process. But the ultimate goal is district integration of service-learning, so that students throughout Genesee County have the opportunity to be actively involved in solving their community’s environmental issues. Since that initial grant from GM, a much larger partnership has grown . That is the power of corporate investment in a community. Thank you, GM!
16 GM facilities participating in GM GREEN
GREEN received Environmental Education Program of the Year award from the Environmental Education and Research Foundation
54 GM facilities participating in GM GREEN
20 year anniversary of GM GREEN!