The Michigan Environmental Literacy Plan Task Force
The Michigan Environmental Literacy Plan (MI ELP) Task Force is a group of dedicated stakeholders representing a broad spectrum of interested organizations that recognizes the importance of developing an environmental literacy plan for Michigan. The MI ELP Task Force set out to ensure that, at a minimum, Michigan would have an environmental literacy plan in place that would allow Michigan to be eligible for federal funding under the proposed NCLI legislation. The MI ELP Task Force has met regularly for nearly 5 years to shepherd and facilitate the development of the MI ELP.
The development of the Michigan Environmental Literacy Plan (MI ELP) began at the first Michigan No Child Left Inside Summit in 2009. A work group formed at that meeting became the Michigan Environmental Literacy Plan Task Force. The membership of the Task Force expanded while work on the Plan continued.
In the Fall of 2011 the MI ELP Task Force was awarded a grant from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust (GLFT) to complete the development of an environmental literacy plan for Michigan. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) took on the task of acting as fiscal agent for the MI ELP Task Force and received and administered the grant funds on the Task Force’s behalf.
Connecting with key organizations in the state was a major focus of the MI ELP Task Force as development proceeded. State agencies such as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) were sought out and their involvement was key throughout the process. Each agency has representation on the MI ELP Task Force and has made large contributions to advancing the development of the MI ELP. State-wide organizations such as the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI), Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE), and the Michigan No Child Left Inside Coalition (MNCLI) have been integral in propelling this work forward and sustaining the necessary momentum needed to see the MI ELP to fruition.
Throughout the development of the Plan, alignment of the goals, outcomes, and actions of the MI ELP with current initiatives in Michigan remained a critical focus for the MI ELP Task Force. In addition, historical Michigan-based reports and plans were extensively reviewed and evaluated in an effort to learn from past successes and challenges. The MI ELP Task Force reviewed a vast body of research and literature (national and international) to ensure that best and promising practices informed the development of the Plan. Furthermore, over 25 state environmental literacy plans were consulted to make sure the MI ELP goals were consistent with those of other state plans and initiatives where appropriate.
To capitalize on the growing knowledge and work being done to advance environmental literacy throughout the United States, the MI ELP Task Force consulted with national experts and regularly met with the Midwest Environmental Literacy Collaborative, a group focused on developing and advancing state ELPs and greener, sustainable schools.
Many organizations have come together to support the development of the Michigan Environmental Literacy Plan. The development work was made possible in part by a grant from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust to the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center and by the generous financial support of major donors Murray and Jeanie Kilgour and Joanne Arbaugh.
Task Force members serving during some or all of the planning period include:
Pam Bunch, Director, Hillsdale Lenawee Monroe Mathematics and Science Center, LISD Environmental Education Coordinator
David Bydlowski, Science Consultant, Wayne RESA
Elizabeth Crowder, Special Lecturer, Department of Teacher Development and Educational Studies, Oakland University
Shari Dann, Associate Professor, Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University
Kathleen Dougherty, Education Resources Specialist, Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission
Kevin Frailey, Education Services Manager, Marketing, Education and Technology, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Kara Haas, Environmental Education Coordinator, Michigan State University - Kellogg Bird Sanctuary
Maura Jung, Ed.D., Retired Science/Environmental Educator and Consultant
Elaine Kampmueller, MI ELP Writer, Professor of Geology, Grand Rapids Community College
Rachel Larimore, Director of Education, Chippewa Nature Center
Anne Jeannette LaSovage, MAEOE President Elect, MAEOE Education Committee Chair and High School Science Teacher
Julia Liljegren, Regional Education Advocacy Manager, National Wildlife Federation - Great Lakes Regional Center
Tom Occhipinti, Environmental Education Coordinator, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Environmental Assistance
Ray Rustem, Co-Chair of the Michigan No Child Left Inside Coalition and Assistant to the Marketing & Outreach Division Chief, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Megan Schrauben, Integrated Education Consultant, Michigan Department of Education, Office of Education Improvement and Innovation, Curriculum and Instruction Unit
Becky Stepp, MI ELP Task Force Coordinator and Project Advisor, Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission
Mary Whitmore, Coordinator, Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative
Jenn Wright, Vice President of Education, Kalamazoo Nature Center