MSU grad launches into year of service with youth in Northeast Michigan

Huron Pines AmeriCorps member to work with the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative supporting place-based stewardship education.

MSU graduate Olivia Rose is one of 30 Huron Pines AmeriCorps members newly serving with conservation stewardship agencies and organizations across Michigan this year. Courtesy photo
MSU graduate Olivia Rose is one of 30 Huron Pines AmeriCorps members newly serving with conservation stewardship agencies and organizations across Michigan this year. Courtesy photo

The Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI), a place-based stewardship education network and partnership, gains a new set of helping hands through the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program. Olivia Rose, a recent Michigan State University graduate, joins as one of 30 Huron Pines AmeriCorps members newly serving with conservation stewardship agencies and organizations across Michigan this year.

Serving the NEMIGLSI network, Olivia will be supporting place-based stewardship education activities that facilitate school-community partnerships and support educators through sustained professional development. Most of all her service will help engage youth, through their learning, in environmental stewardship issues and projects that make a difference in communities across northern Michigan. In collaboration with MSU Extension and Michigan Sea Grant, Huron Pines is a leadership partner to the NEMIGLSI network and since 2009 they have placed AmeriCorps members annually in service of this education initiative. These members have been crucial in establishing and expanding this educational network of school and community partners which to date has connected more than 19,000 youth as valued partners in conservation in northeast Michigan communities.

So what do we have to look forward to in Olivia’s role, enthusiasm, and expertise in the coming year? Let’s meet and learn more about Olivia in her own words.

Olivia, tell us more about yourself and what inspired you to pursue a career in environmental or conservation stewardship?

Honestly, my love of the outdoors drives most of what I aspire to do. I grew up in Hastings, Mich., next to Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, an environmental and education center that sits on 742 acres. It seems like my two siblings and I were always outside playing in the big, open, green and natural space. I think because of this time spent outside as a kid I have continued to pursue opportunities that keep me outside, be it cross-country running or canvassing door to door. My experiences in nature as a child have certainly had an impact on my life today. It is for that reason that I have chosen to pursue a career in environmental stewardship, so that other kids can have a similar or better natural experiences that encourages them to be future stewards of our precious natural resources.

What do you most look forward to in your upcoming service with the NEMIGLSI network and partnership?

At this point I am most excited for two things: getting to work with youth engaged in  outdoor educational experiences, and also incorporating place-based stewardship education (PBSE) into those experiences. With the loss of neighborhood schools throughout the state it is important that students feel connected and supported by their community, otherwise they float through the education system as bystanders to their local resources. So I think connecting students to the community through stewardship efforts is a beautiful strategy for not only for student performance or community development, but also developing environmentally conscious individual on all fronts.

Looking forward and after nearly a year of service – what would you like to have accomplished in your service with NEMIGLSI network?

I would hope that I walk away from this experience with the ability to communicate in a way that makes these PBSE opportunities seem like a no brainer for students, teachers and the community. As well as being able to effectively engage the necessary resources to create a sustainable culture of PBSE within a school.

How has your experience at MSU prepared you for this role and opportunity?

James Madison college at MSU pushed its students to think critically and analytically, write efficiently, innovatively problem solve and most of all, especially in my degree field of Social Relations and Policy communicate to the extreme variety of people that we have here in the United States. We were encouraged to think in a variety of perspectives to better understand policy strategies and communicative practices. I pursued a minor in Science, Technology, the Environment and Public Policy (more commonly know as STEPP). This allowed me to bridge the gap between science and policy in my education. I gained more experience in hard sciences and was able understanding how the science drives policy or vice versa, and in what ways people engage with both. Overall MSU offered a variety of opportunities and I am pleased to say that I feel very much prepared to assist in NEMIGLSI’s efforts to facilitate school-community relationships.

Growing up in Michigan, what are some of your favorite Great Lakes and natural resources hobbies or memories? What Great Lakes and natural resources experience are you most looking forward to experiencing during your time in northeast Michigan?

My Grandparents used to live on Wall Lake in Delton, Mich. Our family spent a lot of time there all year round, from ice skating to water skiing the water. When it comes to the big lakes though, I have spent a lot of time on Lake Michigan, my dad and I really enjoy the bike trails that go from in-state to the lake. I have not spent much time on Lake Huron at all, and now I find myself right on the coast, and for 10 whole months! With all the shipwrecks here in Thunder Bay I plan on learning to scuba dive as well as take advantage of the numerous bike and running trails that surround Alpena and run throughout northeast Michigan.

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

Huron Pines AmeriCorps is a program of Huron Pines and is supported in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Michigan Community Service Commission, Huron Pines and contributions from host sites. Huron Pines is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and an equal opportunity provider.

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