Lights, camera …

ALPENA – Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative network is being showcased in a documentary featuring students from Alpena, Rogers City and Atlanta schools. The documentary is being filmed by Bob Gliner, an international filmmaker who recently completed the documentary “Schools that Change Communities.” He is currently working with the statewide Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, sponsored by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, to develop a similar documentary focused on place-based education, engaging schools and youth in environmental stewardship and community involvement in Michigan.

“Our network is part of a statewide effort to promote the benefits of place-based education for the students and to inform the community of the projects these kids are doing,” Brandon Schroeder, Sea Grant Extension educator, said. “One in five kids are a part of GLSI projects through our network whether with Sea Grant, the marine sanctuary, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or Huron Pines, they are all part of the initiative to use place-based education to enhance learning, the environment, and the community. Through this documentary, we’re essentially showcasing how cool and involved our kids are here in Northeast Michigan.”

Students around the area are participating in cutting-edge programs through NEMI GLSI with teachers and partners working with students in hands-on projects. Students from Alpena High School’s welding and woodshop classes have been working on bat boxes, cages and gates around Rockport, partnering with the Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and 4-H welding club. AHS’s shipwreck alley class took measurements and data of the Joseph Faye shipwreck, partnering with the sanctuary and Besser Museum. Students from Cheryl Mack’s class were filmed collecting phragmites and data while beach monitoring at Mich-e-ke-wis Park, partnering with Huron Pines. A Besser Fossil Dig along with sign making for the fossil park partnered with Besser Museum, MI Sea Grant and Lafarge promotes ecotourism with Kellie Poli’s class. Students from Bob Thomson’s class in Ossineke measured zebra mussels, monitored rusty crayfish, and used ROV’s to collect data on the Thunder Bay River partnering with the USFWS, MI Sea Grant, the sanctuary, and the 4-H2O club.

Students from Rogers City in Holly Wirgau and Becky O’Bryant’s classes study threatened and endangered species at Thompson’s Harbor State Park with the DNR Parks Division, Friends of Thompson’s Harbor, and MI Sea Grant. Wirgau’s and Matt Barson’s classes took samples of Trout River for invertebrates and water chemistry studies, partnered with the Presque Isle drain commissioner and the Presque Isle Conservation District.

Atlanta students study invertebrate and stream monitoring and participated in a glass bottom boat tour partnered with the sanctuary’s B-WET program, USFWS, 4-H2O, and Sea Grant.

“The kids do research and additional outreach projects with real-world applications,” Schroeder said. “We’re already on the road to being successful with the next proposed science standards if they are approved. Our schools and teachers are positioned to be successful with the next generation of standards. We’re all working together to make the best education possible available to students.”

Filming for the documentary took place on Thursday and Friday all around Northeast Michigan in the various locations of each school project.