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EPA Awards Grants to Promote Environmental Stewardship in Michigan

Release Date: 07/31/2014
Contact Information: Peter Cassell, 312-886-6234, 312-859-9614 (cell),

For Immediate Release

No. 14-OPA095

GRAND RAPIDS (July 31, 2014) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced two grants totaling over $200,000 to Calvin College and the Great Lakes Fishery Trust for environmental stewardship projects in Michigan. EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman was joined by Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell for the announcement.

“These EPA grants will provide opportunities for young people to learn about the Great Lakes and to work on projects to restore urban waterways,” Hedman said. “In Grand Rapids, high school students will have opportunities for hands-on job training – to build green infrastructure that will reduce runoff and improve water quality in the Grand River watershed.”

EPA announced a $60,000 urban waters grant to Calvin College that will be used for restoration work along two Grand River tributaries: the Rogue River and Plaster Creek. The grant will fund collaborative processes to design green infrastructure and to train high school students to install and maintain green infrastructure projects.

“Calvin College is so pleased to receive this support from the EPA for our watershed restoration initiative in the Plaster Creek watershed,” said Dr. Gail Heffner, Calvin College’s director of community engagement. “It has taken over 100 years for Plaster Creek to become as damaged as it is today and it will take several decades of concerted effort to restore it. We are particularly grateful for EPA funding which will support the Green Team, a summer experience for high school age urban youth to educate them about watershed ecology and give them practical job experience in installing green infrastructure to capture stormwater.”

EPA also announced a $150,000 environmental education grant to the Great Lakes Fishery Trust to support Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative programs at nine regional hubs in Michigan – including the Groundswell center at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids. The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative has worked with over 55,000 grade school and high school students to provide stewardship opportunities throughout Michigan.

“For the past six years the GLSI has been a champion for place-based education empowering students, educators and their local communities to become stewards of their environment and active learners in core subjects like science, math and engineering,” said William Moritz, chair of the board of trustees for the GLFT and deputy director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “We couldn’t do this work without our network of hubs, friends and partners like the EPA whose investment will galvanize and democratize these practices so even more communities can benefit from the power of place-based education.”

“In Grand Rapids, the triple bottom line is the foundation of our prosperity – we don’t make decisions without considering how it affects the social, environmental and financial health of our community,” Mayor Heartwell said. “Both the interplay between the elements of the triple bottom line which are evident in the work of the GLSI and the organization's strong network of partners in the business, education and nonprofit community contribute to the GLSI’s success. I couldn't be prouder of their accomplishments.”

For more information about urban waters grants, visit

For more information about EPA’s environmental education program, visit