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Alpena Public Schools was awarded $8,078 for a program where students take on the role as scientific researchers to assess if environmental issues are affecting the thunder bay river watershed.

Leading the project is Thunder Bay teacher, Bob Thomson, who submitted the grant application. “He’s been leading projects over a number of years and he’s got a lot of great experience. He took the initiative to write the grant to help kids do some research and were very excited about it,” said Lee Fitzpatrick, director of communications for APS.

The funding comes from a state grant for school districts  and educational partnerships to grow Great Lakes based science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational programs. “Those are areas where there is so much future growth for economic need, those are where the careers are in the future if you will, and so opportunity for kids to learn in a more hands on way in all those areas will help to develop hopeful future skills they can use for their employment,” said Fitzpatrick.

The program will help engage students about the importance of Michigan’s Great Lakes, water resources, and developing them for careers in stem.  “It’s important to our community. The Thunder Bay River shed flowing out into the lake is really the life blood of the community and most important physical feature. Our economy relies on that water being safe and usable in that recreation; fishing, boating, all those great things we love to do”, said Lee Fitzpatrick.