Our River, Our Future will establish a partnership among more than fifteen City, State, Federal and not for profit organizations committed to the betterment of Northeast Michigan through Great Lakes Literacy, school improvement and ecologically conscious economic development. Working through a Leadership Team, the partnership will engage K-12 teachers and students in meaningful watershed experiences that bring them together with community organizations to learn about and steward the Thunder Bay River and Lake Huron as part of their school-supported curriculum. Empowered by authentic, embedded professional development experiences, Our River, Our Future teachers will draw from existing Great Lakes curriculum to distill several, cross-grade-level, multidisciplinary Thunder Bay River/Lake Huron focused lessons and units that they will subsequently apply in their classrooms and disseminate to other teachers within the region. Through their participation in Our River, Our Future K-12 students will work with a broad and diverse network of community partners to develop significant projects that foster Great Lakes Literacy while contributing meaningful data on the ecology, culture and economic significance of the Thunder Bay River Watershed and Lake Huron. Students will communicate their findings through professional quality publications, multi-media tools, and public art installations supported and enabled by a rich network of community partners. A graduate student will be brought in to support students and community partners in gathering, interpreting and disseminating data in support of an ongoing management plan for several Thunder Bay River hydroelectric dams, slated for potential retirement in 2040. Public outreach events at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and elsewhere will allow students to practice communications skills and build a network of like-minded peers from across the watershed.
Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan - Our River, Our Future: Transforming a community through the rediscovery of its local watershed