Students map local parks
Houghton County high school students combine learning and impacting their communities. Calumet and Houghton high schoolers participated in the GIS Resources and Applications for Career Education, or GRACE program. The program trains students and teachers to solve community problems with GIS technology.
"Any teacher would dream of having experiences dropped in their lap like I have. Being able to take my students outside of the classroom, looking around at their community, working with other community organizations and finding out different details and different things that they can actually report on, get data on and improve their community with," said Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw High School technology and computer science teacher Michael Roland.
With help from Michigan Tech, students analyzed youth-friendliness of 32 local parks.
"We were looking at things like abandoned buildings, youth present, adults present, whether or not we felt safe there. I saw a lot of areas that I had never seen before even though I've lived up here for 17 years," said Calumet high school senior Loviisa Berg.
"There is quite a difference in the quality of the parks. There are a lot of parks that are accessible to our youth in our community. However, the quality varies quite a bit depending upon where you live and what may be near to you," said Michigan Technological University geography and GIS professor Don Lafreniere.
"There were a lot of differences between Laurium and Calumet that I didn't realize were there and some parts I didn't realize they were the quality they were in. I expected it to be a lot better than it was in some places and a lot worse in others," said Calumet high school junior Miranda Rich.
Students shared their findings with the regional planning authority and other organizations to aid future improvements.