May 14th was a crystal clear, blue-sky day. As part of Green Elk Rapids Days, GTSI 6th grade students from Cherryland Middle School (CMS) participated in a day filled with interdisciplinary watershed stewardship activities in collaboration with several community partners who contributed their time and talents to create a meaningful experience for these Elk Rapids Middle School students.
Students left CMS in the morning carrying backpacks, iPads, and one gallon jugs of water as part of the Walk for Water activity intended to simulate the distance that many people in other countries around the world have to travel on foot to carry much needed fresh water back to their homes. The water was deposited into barrels at the community gardens and the jugs were taken to the recycling center.
On their way through town students conducted and filmed “person on the street” interviews with Elk Rapids residents to assess their awareness about the importance of fresh water in their lives.
Before arriving at their final destination, students made a stop at the Elk Rapids Department of Public Works where Superintendent, Steve Breece spoke to them about storm water routes, and waste water treatment in the village.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE Cherryland Middle School Water Walk SLIDE SHOW then read more…..
The Dam Beach was the site for the rest of the day’s water activities. CMS students have partnered with the Friends of the Dam Beach for three years to help preserve this beautiful beach site in Elk Rapids. Students were divided into groups so that they could rotate through five activity stations.
They worked with the Department of Natural Resources to participate in an annual fish count, using seine nets to collect fish samples from spawning beds in the bay.
They created up-cycled flowers out of plastic bottles and used them to decorate Elk Rapids for Green ER Days.
They wrote Acrostic Poems about Lake Michigan on their backpacks and become walking poets!
Each student designed and hung a flag made out of recycled materials to create awareness for the importance of recycling.
They were even featured in a documentary about place-based education by filmmaker, Bob Gliner.
In addition, Maureen McManus from the Watershed Center talked with each group about what threatens the health of fresh water in the great lakes, and Art teacher, Rich Roman led students in a water color lesson using iPads to capture landscape images that became the focus for student’s paintings.
Cherryland Middle School is an International Baccalaureate World School, that utilizes interdisciplinary learning by actively engaging students in inquiry based learning activities designed to meet local, state, and national standards. Students at CMS explore ideas, investigate connections across and between subject areas, and apply their knowledge to real world problems.
Click HERE to check out the CMS Student’s Website on Place-Based Education and PSA’s about Maple Bay!