Julie Johnson and Molly Pavelek of SEEDS joined us to educate us on SEEDS and the multiple ways in which they are affecting place-based learning opportunities through hands-on outdoor activities that develop leadership, life skills, and resilience.
SEEDS Ecology and Education Centers is a non-profit organization founded in 1999 and based in Traverse City.   Their goal is to implement local solutions to global issues at the intersection of ecology, education, and design.  Their four main programs are EcoSchool, EcoCorps, EcoStrategies, and Historic Barns Park.  
Julie Johnson is the Benzie Central High School SEEDS EcoSchool Coordinator while Molly Pavelek is the Middle School Coordinator.  Both are employees of SEEDS and are contracted to Benzie Central Schools for 5 years.  They support 5-15 students each day across the Middle School, High School and Academy, and their talk focused on EcoSchool and EcoCorps.
EcoSchool brings place-based learning opportunities to students across Northern Michigan. Teaching staff prioritize hands-on and outdoor activities that develop leadership, life skills, and resilience.  These include ecology lessons and work outdoors.  A particularly interesting project included the building of a dog house from recycled materials and the recovery of microplastics to compress into insulation for it.
EcoCorps, a green-collar career exploration program that supports skill training, professional development, and leadership. Crew members gain valuable paid work experience while serving their local communities.  This will involve six weeks in the summer working on projects with a master gardener to clean up and maintain the flower beds in Beulah and Benzonia, beach clean ups, and a variety of other projects.  
Working with the Benzie Conservation District, they plan to replant trees in the area being disturbed for the bus garage.
I came away wondering how Rotary, the Benzie Conservation District, Michigan Legacy Art Park and the Crystal Lake Watershed Association might get more involved to provide learning experiences and create greater demand for the program in Benzie Central Schools.  The recording of their presentation can be accessed by clicking the following link.  March 12, 2024, Benzie Central EcoSEEDS After-School Program (youtube.com)