Tier Three Winner

Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI)

Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan

NEMIGLSI strives to build vibrant, sustainable communities committed to empowering young people as environmental leaders and social entrepreneurs. A place-based education network of schools and community partners working together, this program engages youth – through their learning – in environmental stewardship projects that make a difference among their communities. This initiative facilitates school-community partnerships, supports schools and educators, and engages youth in student-driven Great Lakes and natural resource stewardship projects accomplished through applied environmental-STEM experiences. NEMIGLSI extends the classroom into the vast woods and waters of Northeast Michigan where youth are valued as community contributors to local, state and national conservation initiatives.

Judges Comment


The judging panel applauded NEMGLSI’s model of using networks and partnerships to expand program offerings, solutions to environmental challenges, reach to new audiences, and learning impact. Many people consider innovation in terms of technology and equipment, yet the NEMIGLSI team has perfected business partnerships as a central strategy and innovation. Judges were impressed by the initiative’s school-wide programs emphasizing stewardship, social entrepreneurism, and youth as environmental leaders. Judges felt these focus areas for youth build an excellent foundation for continued growth and sustainability, fueling years of engagement in environmental safety by schools and graduates alike. Judges also pointed to NEMIGLSI’s focus on linking its extracurricular programs as a great strategy to enhance repeatability, consistency, and continued success across its many program sites. While programs are tied to curriculum, judges noted that the initiative’s approach excels in hands-on, fun, and inspiring learning experiences for youth. Finally, judges felt encouraged by the relationships NEMIGLSI has built with the ecotourism industry and the impacts of enhancing ecotourism in northeast Michigan.