Flint River Environmental Leader – 4-H Environmental and Outdoor Education

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Young people are making a difference on the Flint River and its watershed.

A recent new program, the Flint River Environmental Leaders Program, helped a group of young people make a difference on the Flint River. Through this program, young people addressed local issues and opportunities beyond the Flint River Basin. In addition, youth explored, discovered, and participated in stewardship activities and implemented youth-led community action projects designed to address problems and opportunities they identified. The program is a joint initiative of the Flint River Basin Coalition, Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative – Discovering Places, Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission, and Michigan State University Extension to secure grant funding from the Great Lakes Bay National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration We have partnered with. Watershed education and training.

Flint River Environmental Leaders began with 14 youth in September 2022 and continued for the next 18 months. Youth first learned about benthic macroinvertebrates and their potential as water quality indicators. Youth then participated in a session on environmental justice and recreational opportunities in the Flint River Basin. The group met with Mona Munroe Eunice of Flint’s Environmental Change Movement and took part in biking, kayaking and fishing at Sled Lake.

Young people kayaking on the river
Kayaking on Sled Lake. Photo by Leila Sankar.

In late 2022, in chilly November weather, youth worked on erosion control by clearing log jams on the Flint River near Lapeer and helped plant trees along the river to promote bank stabilization .

Delete stream log
Delete stream log. Photo by Leila Sankar.

In February 2023, students met with teachers to get their opinions on how to better incorporate youth voices into the classroom. The discussion was followed by a tour of the BioWorks Energy facility, which converts food waste into electricity.

In April 2023, the youth decided to carry out one of the stewardship projects to educate their classmates about the impact of waste. They also collaborated on another riverside tree-planting project, planting hundreds of trees in a matter of hours.

Students picking up trash.
Students picking up trash. Photo by Leila Sankar.

In May, youth members of Flint River Environmental Leaders presented to their classmates about the impact of trash on the environment. Afterwards, some young people picked up trash in the schoolyard.

In June, members gathered for program evaluation and celebration.

At the Michigan Place-Based Education Conference in November 2023, youth presented on their work as Flint River Environmental Leaders and shared plans for the coming year, including new stewardship projects.

By providing educational experiences and resources to youth interested in developing knowledge and skills in these areas, MSU Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development Program prepare youth as active, engaged leaders and global citizens. We will help you prepare. For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other His 4-H programs, contact your local His MSU Extension office.

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