ENVIRONMENT (& EDUCATION) GOAL #1: Assure access to experiential environmental education for public school students that is regular, systematic, integrated with curricula, and connected with “real world” community initiatives such as Grand River restoration, renewable energy & efficiency, water conservation and protection, addressing climate change, wildlife habitat conservation and sustainable food systems.
Example grants: Hands on STEM learning through food systems education and youth career encouragement in sustainability field; Project that implements educational interpretive signage along the trail of the Grand River in Grand Rapids; “Connecting Children to Nature” partnership at four GRPS sites in under-parked neighborhoods; Engage urban youth in projects reducing urban and agricultural run-off pollution of two Grand River watersheds; Collaboration of nine environmental education organizations to provide experiential environmental education; Engage communities of color in environmental action to focus on increasing access to nature; Summer camp that provides outdoor education; Environmental education summer camps for youth from underserved communities.
ENVIRONMENT GOAL #2: Develop and implement long-term strategy to restore, protect, and make available for appropriate uses by all the lower Grand River watershed, including restoration of the namesake rapids in downtown Grand Rapids.
Example grants: Statewide collaboration network to address PFAS contamination in West MI.; – Innovative stormwater credit trading program to reduce water pollution; Mobilizing public support for Grand River restoration project and clean water policies; landscape-scale conservation planning for Grand River mouth and coastal corridor; Support for houses of worship to protect watersheds, create habitat and build diverse, resilient communities.
ENVIRONMENT GOAL #3: Assure Grand Rapids continues to be a national and international leader in its commitment to sustainable development, i.e. “Economicology.”
Example grants: Green home upgrades for affordable housing; Environmental certification programs for affordable housing projects; Technical, legal, and civic engagement to meet Grand Rapids’ 100% renewable energy; Equitable sustainability program that addresses racial and economic inequities; Neighborhood-based citizen engagement around local parks; Green infrastructure water conservation project in under-resourced neighborhoods with focus on People of Color-owned businesses.
ENVIRONMENTAL GOAL #4: Assure that Michigan is a national and international leader in policies to protect the environment, including the Great Lakes, in ways that recognize the connection between environmental protection, human health, and promoting economic and social justice.
Example grants: Development of equitable policies to reduce carbon emissions from building sector in W MI; Advocacy of closing W MI coal-fired power plants and transforming region into a national clean energy leader; Engagement of people of color to enhance climate justice leadership to increase social connectivity; Removal of barriers to on-site renewable energy generation in Michigan and develop improved programs for purchase of renewable energy; Law & policy center focused on protecting Great Lakes water as a shared public trust resource; Water quality and climate change policy advocacy; Launching a regional Great Lakes PFAS Action Network of at least 25 PFAS- affected communities; Educating businesses on environmental policies & provides opportunities for community members to civically engage.