PROPOSAL: Writing on the Bean

GRANT APPLICANTS: Bean/Tiffin Watershed Coalition and Community Action Agency

FUNDING SOURCE: EPA Environmental Education Grant
MATCHING FUNDS: approx. $3,000 donations, in-kind services

PURPOSE: Provides education to area students on water quality issues and stream ecosystems, with equipment (nets, waders, forceps, magnifying glasses) to be contributed to schools for future use in working in the watershed. Also provides approximately 2000 tri-folding laminated pocket maps showing the Bean Creek Watershed and public parks along the river. Specific natural features will be highlighted for each park. Maps will be distributed to students and throughout the watershed to promote watershed awareness.

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSAL: The “Writing on the Bean” project brings students to Bean Creek to investigate and write on aquatic species, and provides the community with a map of public places along the Bean, showing natural features of those sites. Students from three middle schools – Addison, Hudson, Morenci – in the Bean/Tiffin Watershed, visit the public park along the Bean nearest their school and write short accounts of aquatic bugs or other species, with some writings published in local newspapers and on the Bean/Tiffin Watershed web pages. High school science/environmental club students conduct the in-the-stream searches for macroinvertebrates, the subjects of 8th graders writing. During these “Writing on the Bean” field trips, watershed representatives will participate as needed, and document aquatic and floodplain plant species (mussels, bladdernut, wafer ash, pawpaw) for the map.

HOW WILL IT IMPACT COMMUNITY: In-the-field, hands-on writing in the watershed develops an intimacy and a closer understanding of water quality indicators, a recognition of links between pollution and aquatic life in the largely agricultural Bean/Tiffin watershed. By involving students and teachers at several grade levels, the “Writing on the Bean” project raises awareness of local water quality issues, promotes writing on environmental subjects, and informs the public of natural assets throughout the watershed.

PARTNERS: Community Action Agency of Jackson, Lenawee, and Hillsdale; Bean/Tiffin Watershed Coalition, USDA-NRCS of Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties, Conservation Districts, Addison Schools, Hudson Schools, Morenci Schools, The Exponent, Hudson Post-Gazette, Morenci Observer, Michigan Nature Association, Hudson Kiwanis, The Pro Shop, Morenci High School GECKOs