Project Portfolio

Place-Based Learning: The Sugar Shack

SEEDS EcoSchool revived the maple sugaring curriculum at Forest Area Community Schools. With the help of SEEDS EcoCorps in 2020, a new sugar shack replaced the original which was built and used in the eighties. This project was a partnership between the school, SEEDS Ecology & Education Centers, the Grand Traverse Stewardship Initiative, the Great Lakes Energy People Fund, Traverse City Rotary Good Works, and the Fife Lake community. 

The extensive acreage of the school forest provides a unique opportunity for students to get hands-on experience making maple syrup. Maple-sugaring offers place-based education across a number of content areas. Students learn about the botany of trees, exploring why and how sap runs. They practice math by estimating the sugar content of sap and the yield of gallons of sap to gallons of syrup (hint! It’s about 40:1!). Students also delve into social studies by reading about the local history and cultural significance of maple-sugaring by the Anishinaabe and immigrants to the Americas.

Clean Energy Art Challenge

Could you make a solar-powered band? SEEDS EcoSchool students did! Students as young as third graders worked together using small solar panels and motors to make gadgets that played musical instruments when placed in the sunshine. 

The Clean Energy Art Challenge provided hands-on learning experiences that inspired and empowered youth to engage in the complex topics related to energy. In addition to the Solar Band, students across the region created sculptures that illustrated concepts like the visual light spectrum. They also made art using photo-reactive paper to demonstrate how solar energy can be converted into chemical energy. Thanks to the Michigan Department of Education and to the Consumers Energy Foundation for making this learning possible!

"Connecting art with STEM subjects is a great way to have a lot of fun. And learning that's fun is learning that sticks." Sarna Salzman, Executive Director
The Art of Stewardship

The Art of Stewardship was a SEEDS EcoSchool project in 2018 that promoted science plus art, focusing on eco-STEM. Thanks to the Worthington Family Foundation, Blackbird Arts, Inland Seas, the Michigan Department of Education, and the Grand Traverse Stewardship Initiative for helping us combine STEM, art, and a passion for ecosystem stewardship!

The Quest

The Quest was a musical partnership between SEEDS EcoSchool, Blackbird Arts, and Earthwork Music between 2013 and 2015. Students learned about the fine arts through singing, playing instruments, and working together. The experience culminated in a performance that brought students from different schools onto the same stage. The Quest inspired a love for music and increased confidence levels.