WATCH in the News

Grant Awarded for MEECS Phase 4

Michael Buttigieg, President; Michelle Rick-Biddick, Executive Director; and Maureen Radke, from CCCF.

Michael Buttigieg, WATCH President, Michelle Rick-Biddick, WATCH Executive Director, & Maureen Radke, Charlevoix County Community Foundation. Not shown: Raechel Wright.

WATCH was awarded a grant in spring of 2012 by the Charlevoix County Community Foundation, for the final phase of its middle and elementary school teacher environmental education program.

WATCH will provide two days of workshops, covering all six MEECS modules:  Air Quality, Water Quality, Energy Resources, Land Use, Climate Change, and Ecosystems & Biodiversity.

The recently-updated curriculum is state approved and classroom ready.  It is a science curriculum that focuses on the air, water, energy, land use, ecosystems, and climate of Michigan.  Teachers will be given everything they need to teach environmental science to their students –lesson plans, posters, hands-on experiments, CDs, sample tests, and online materials.

This grant, together with other support provided by the Michigan Geographic Alliance, the Leo S. Guthman Foundation, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and individual WATCH donors, will allow Charlevoix County teachers to attend the training at no cost to themselves or their schools.

Bruce MacArthur Honored

WATCH Executive Director Michelle Rick-Biddick, President Emeritus of the Board Bill Henne, and Bill Schuiling present Bruce MacArthur with a plaque honoring his years of environmental activism. From left to right, Rick-Biddick, MacArthur, Henne, and Schuiling.

At its August 24, 2011 board meeting, WATCH (Water and Air Team Charlevoix) presented long-time supporter and retiring board member Bruce MacArthur with a framed certificate recognizing his many years of outstanding environmental stewardship.

MacArthur was an early climate change activist and proponent of alternative energy sources, and was instrumental in the creation of CARE, WATCH’s Conservation and Renewable Energy Committee.  CARE has helped to raise awareness of energy issues in Charlevoix County through its CARE Energy Fair, and projects such as the Lake to the Lake Trail and Idle Free Charlevoix.  Recently it has introduced the Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum in area schools by providing materials, workshops, and support for local teachers.

MacArthur was accompanied at the meeting by his son-in-law, philanthropist Bill Schuiling.  Schuiling surprised MacArthur and the Board by announcing that his foundation would be making a 10-year grant totaling $50,000 in MacArthur’s honor. The grant will help to continue the work of WATCH and CARE.

Area Teachers Attend Air Quality Workshop

Ten area teachers attended the MEECS Air Quality workshop sponsored by WATCH (Water and Air Team Charlevoix), on October 10.

Teachers at the Air Quality Workshop October, 2011.

Participant Adrianne Dodd, from Concord Academy, said “I love, love, love these materials. The graphics are amazing, the lessons are ready to use, and the students understand and enjoy this curriculum. Thank you so much for offering this opportunity and funding!” She is looking forward to the next two workshops.

The Air Quality workshop was the third of five workshops in the Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Support series. MEECS is a joint project of Central Michigan University Science-Mathematics-Technology Center and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, with online modules provided by Michigan Technological University. The modules are aligned to Michigan curriculum standards and have been teacher-tested in Michigan.

Alecia Argerer, of Boyne Falls Schools, has attended two previous workshops. She says, “I really used a lot of both units (previous Water and Energy modules). The non-renewable / renewable works great in the energy unit.”

Ten teachers attended the workshop. An eleventh was registered and received the materials but couldn’t attend because her baby chose to arrive that day. The teachers represented seven school districts – Boyne Falls, Concord Petoskey, Charlevoix Public, St. Mary’s, Pellston, Ellsworth, and Beaver Island.

Grant funding for this workshop was generously provided by the Charlevoix County Community Foundation and the Petoskey Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation.

Teachers Attend Water Quality Workshop

Teachers are hands-on in the Water Quality Workshop

Eight teachers from surrounding schools and education centers gathered on May 2nd at the Charlevoix Public Library for a Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Support Workshop, provided by WATCH, Inc. and a grant from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation.

WATCH Executive Director, Michelle Rick-Biddick, was excited about the workshop.  “The materials provided for the teachers and the overall quality and presentation of the MEECS workshop provided a wonderful opportunity for our Charlevoix County Middle School teachers and instructors from other organizations such as Raven Hill Discovery Center.  The program is aligned to the Michigan curriculum framework and has been designed by the CMU Science and Math Technological Center, Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality, and Michigan Technological University.”

WATCH, Inc. and the Lake Charlevoix Association wrote the grant, building on the Association’s “Experience Lake Charlevoix” program held each spring aboard the Beaver Island Ferry.  It covered the costs of the workshop, lunch, substitute teacher reimbursement, CEU credits and classroom unit kits.

“It is WATCH’s desire to provide teachers and ultimately Charlevoix County students with up-to-date information and interest in science, math, and social studies that relate to the everyday world,” stated Rick-Biddick.   “We want to encourage our youth to understand the importance of air and water quality protection, proper land use, biodiversity, and energy. With these skills and updated information, they will be better informed about the challenges and safekeeping of our natural resources.”

In June, the Charlevoix County Community Foundation notified WATCH that the third phase of the WATCH in the Schools program would be funded.  The Air Quality module will be delivered to area teachers in October.  We are fortunate once again to have the primary author of the module as our instructor.

Maureen Radke of Charlevoix County Community Foundation awards WATCH a grant for phase 3 of its WATCH-MEECS Program.

Grant Supports Phase 3
We held our Annual Meeting on June 28, 2011 and elected a new president, Michael Buttigieg.

Many thanks to outgoing President Bill Henne, who served for 15 years.

Joining us at the meeting was Maureen Radke, representing the Charlevoix County Community Foundation.  She presented a $5,000 grant to Michelle Rick-Biddick and Bill Henne to fund the third phase of our WATCH / MEECS environmental education programs in Charlevoix County schools.

Tour the Trail
Thirty hardy souls turned out in 38-degree weather to tour the Lake to Lake Trail on October 1. Find out about the project HERE and the tour HERE.

WATCH Members At Bioneers

Heather Biddick, Raechel Wright, and Jo Anne Beemon of WATCH attended the 10th Great Lakes Bioneers Conference in Traverse City October 14 – 16.  They listened to presentations by local experts, attended workshops, and watched national speakers with Bioneers attendees around the country and Internet viewers via live webcast.  Learn about Bioneers by clicking HERE.

And watch ALL of the national speakers HERE.

The conference is a great opportunity to gather with like-minded folks from all around the Great Lakes and the country, to learn, share, and have some fun.   The theme this year was “Reclaiming the Commons.”  Stay tuned for more on the commons.

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