2015 Annual Report

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Ecology + Education + Design

Formed in 1999, SEEDS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. We work locally to solve global challenges by supporting the intersection of ecology, education and design. 

Our interdisciplinary expertise ranges broadly, from energy analysis to K12 education, from farming to ecological restoration.


2015: Energy & Environmental Analysis

Since 2010, SEEDS has identified opportunities the help local governments save money, reduce emissions, and remain cash positive. The SEEDS Energy and Environmental Analysis staff create custom tailored action plans and simple methods to track successes over time.

All of our Energy and Environmental Analysis services are horizontally integrated across all SEEDS programs. We involve youth in monitoring and reducing energy use at their schools, and the SEEDS Youth Conservation Corps is involved in energy projects as part of workforce development and job training skills. 

SEEDS has benchmarked and served several community-scale regions, mapping the flow of energy from production to consumption. By showing how much energy is consumed by each sector, these data sets help decision makers set targets and make strategic energy action plans.


Since 2010, SEEDS has identified opportunities the help local govern-
ments save money, reduce emissions, and remain cash positive. The
SEEDS Energy and Environmental Analysis staff create custom tailored
action plans and simple methods to track successes over time.
SEEDS works with a statewide network of nonprofit technical assistance
providers and the State of Michigan Energy Office to provide energy
management services to communities throughout the state.

2015: Youth Conservation Corps

In 2015, SEEDS Youth Conservation Corps:

  • Employed 80 Youth Conservation Corps Members 
  • Awarded $32,000 in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards 
  • Restored 2 historic building structures, including the Faust Cabin in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Keweenaw National Historic Park Headquaters
  • Installed 900 feet of boardwalk 
  • Worked for local events including the Traverse City Film Festival
  • Constructed, restored and maintained 3.5 miles of trails 
  • Built 38 in-stream fish habitat structures
  • Planted 2,500 trees in Grand Traverse and Leelanau County
  • Improved two miles of waterways on the Manistee River
  • Removed invasive plants from 200 acres of national local parks
  • 46 youth were Certified in CPR/First Aid
  • 22 youth received Chipper and Chainsaw/Sawyer Certification
  • 11 youth became Certified Initial Lead Paint Renovators
  • 42 attended the OSHA Two Hour training 
  • 14 completed Leadership Development Training

 "I would say, that I have seen a tremendous amount of improved resiliency and self-esteem in the youth who worked with SEEDS this summer. A few youth have endured difficult circumstances and they were able to bounce back quicker and maintain a goal-oriented perspective in relation to their circumstances."

-Sarah Meeuwes, MYOI Director Newaygo and Lake Counties 

 “One of the most important community partnerships we’ve built over the last five years has been with our local Youth Corps program.” 

 -Glen Chown, Executive Director, GTRLC 

2015: SEEDS After School

We offer our students unique and exciting extra-ordinary educational experiences in the after school hours by utilizing our network of community resources.

In 2015 we provided students with:

  • 1,099 contact hours of energy learning
  • 9,251 of contact hours of nutrition and food systems
  • 18,488 hours of Academics/STEM learning
  • 8,409 hours of arts and culture learning
  • 11,631 hours of physical activity
  • 1,150 hours of youth development
  • 1,787 hours of special events (family events/field trips) 

"Our family loves this program! Our child has so many opportunities to learn something new. We feel it makes her a very well rounded individual."

 - Rapid City Parent 

“I’m not gonna lie, I’m not great at math. Because of this I tend to go to homework help to keep my grades from going down the tubes. I am passing my math class thanks to the help I get from SEEDS”. 

 -Josef, SEEDS After School student 


2015: Food Systems Education

SEEDS provides students and families with hands-on culinary and whole food education. 

2015 Highlights:

  • Cooking Matters: SEEDS offered five Cooking Matters™ 6-week courses to educate low-income youth ages 10-18 about cooking healthy foods on on a budget.  
  • SEEDS After School:  Education Specialist, Erin Williams, taught weekly cooking classes to all of SEEDS After School Programs throughout the school year. Classes focused on food from around the world, healthy recipes, and creativity in the kitchen.  
  • SEEDS Farm:  A Youth Conservation Corps crew of 5 young women worked at the SEEDS Farm at Historic Barns Park to learn the basics of farming a diverse small scale vegetable farm using organic methods.  The food was sold to food trucks, individuals, and saved for SEEDS After School culinary education classes.