Students use the power of music to further Great Lakes protection

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) is proud to present their most recent Great Lakes environmental education project that included third graders, a new Great Lakes song, commercial fishermen, the Great Lakes Conservation Corps, a viral video and a community-wide pollution prevention program.

Recently, on the shore of Lake Superior, a seasoned park ranger at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore asked a group of third graders what he thought would be a tough question: "Does anyone know what stewardship is?" He would have been pleasantly surprised to hear a few hesitant guesses, but the students from Sandy Knoll Elementary School in Marquette were different. They all knew the answer, and they spontaneously burst into a song they had written together called "Stewards of the Watershed."

(Chorus) Stewards of the watershed, protectors of our water.
Doing all that we can do to keep our waters clean.
Teaching our community about Great Lakes Conservation.
Doing all that we can do to help spread the word.
Clean water, Clear water; It's up to me and you.
Clean water, Clear water; Depends on what we do.
It's up to me and you!

These young stewards did far more than just sing their song for the park ranger. They sang for commercial fishermen. They sang for the Great Lakes Conservation Corps (GLCC). They sang for over 700 other students and community members at a public concert. And they continue to sing their song for anyone who will listen to their message about protecting the watersheds of the Great Lakes. The SWP, Music for All Kids (MFAK) and local musician Jerry Mills collaborated to provide this innovative environmental education opportunity.

In addition to entertaining and educating, these spunky third graders are doing their own watershed research, stewardship and restoration work. Students learned about new approaches to stormwater management, green infrastructure and pollution prevention. They completed an important community-wide stewardship project focused on keeping cigarette butts from entering storm drains and Lake Superior, and washing up on our beaches. They distributed SWP "red buckets" to local businesses to curb cigarette butt litter. The third graders then went to a popular public beach and picked up cigarette butts and other litter with the Great Lakes Conservation Corps. Numerous community and regional partners helped make this project a success including Music for All Kids, the Marquette Area Public Schools, and the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative.

The Great Lakes will be in good hands if the next generation of stewards is anything like the students at Sandy Knoll School in Marquette! To learn more about this community-wide initiative, watch the video here

Using the power of music to protect the Great Lakes is nothing new to the SWP. In 2013, the SWP worked with the Marquette High School Choir to debut a new Great Lakes Anthem written by George Heartwell, then mayor of Grand Rapids. Watch the video of the students singing the anthem for over 100 US and Canadian mayors at the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative conference hosted by the SWP in Marquette

For over twenty years the SWP has provided regional K-12 schools with a variety of Great Lakes environmental education and stewardship opportunities. Here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Great Lakes environmental education is working!

About Superior Watershed Partnership:

The Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Conservancy is an award winning Great Lakes nonprofit organization that has set national records for pollution prevention and implements innovative, science-based programs that achieve documented, measurable results through a variety of conservation, restoration and public education projects.

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