students from 14 schools led presentations and workshops for more than
200 community members.
We often forget that the most pow-
erful lever for youth and teachers to
become their best selves is public affir-
mation and a powerful sense of
belonging to a community. When 4th
grade students can collaborate with
high school students to use math and
science knowledge to benefit the entire
region and young children can do
more significant environmental resto-
ration work than many adult groups,
we create a new standard and expec-
tation for what is possible. Students
also feel that they have a place at the
table as full members of society. As
one 7th grade student remarked at a
recent community forum, “I like it that
when we work with adults, it’s not
only the adults that make the noise, it’s
the students.” EL
1The SEMIS Coalition is a regional hub
of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative
2The video can be found on the SEMIS
Coalition website at http://semiscoalition.
Chawla, L., & Escalante, M. (2007).
Student gains from place-based education,
Fact Sheet #2, November 2007. Children,
Youth and Environments Center for
Research and Design. Retrieved from
Rote, S., Schroder, B., & d’Augustino,
T. (2015). Place-based education:
Engagement from the student perspective.
Retrieved from www.miseagrant
Sobel, D. (1999). Beyond ecophobia:
Reclaiming the heart in nature education.
Great Barrington, MA: Orion Society.
U.S. Census. (2016). QuickFacts. Retrieved
Ethan Lowenstein (ethan.lowenstein@
emich.edu) is a professor of curriculum
and instruction at Eastern Michigan University and the director of the Southeast
Michigan Stewardship Coalition. Follow
him on Twitter @lowensteinethan.
Gregory Smith ( email@example.com) is
a professor emeritus of education at the
Lewis & Clark College Graduate School
of Education and Counseling in Portland,
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