Redefining the Classroom

Helen-Ann Prince '12

Michigan's AmeriCorps Member of the Month

princeHelen-Ann Prince has been volunteering with the Huron Pines AmeriCorps and serving as the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NE MI GLSI) Education Coordinator. Her primary focus is working with educators in Northeast (lower) Michigan to help them incorporate placed based education (or hands on, feet wet) projects into their curriculum. Placed based education brings students into closer contact with their communities, through youth-led stewardship projects that enhance their environment and community. Helen-Ann helps teachers connect with meaningful community partners so their projects can expand and continue into the future. As an AmeriCorps member her role is to get things done that normally would not; by helping others and meeting needs in the communityin which she serves.

Some of the main projects Helen-Ann has been involved with over the past 10 months include the following:prince

Bat Project at Rockport State Recreation Area: This is the primary project that was mentioned in my AmeriCorps member of the month article. For this project she helped connect Alpena Industrial Arts students to the project. Click on the title to view the project page and fact sheet for this project that she created.

Industrial Arts Collaboration: Helen-Ann created an industrial arts collaboration that gives  woodworking and welding teachers a communication network. The five industrial arts teachers that joined this collaboration have each committed to incorporating placed based education into their curriculum. Each princeschool has a project page on our website at Creating this network allowed her to get more teachers involved in placed based education - which further benefits students and the local community!

Eco Tourism: Helen-Ann's main focus as an AmeriCorps member is Eco-tourism in Northeast (lower) Michigan. She planned and coordinated three educational field trips with three different schools to Negwegon State Park, Rockport State Recreation Area and Thompson's Harbor State Park; which are the three primitive state parks in NE MI. Helen-Ann got a total of 270 students out to the parks - 135 of those students are also involved in a Threatened and Endangered Species project at Negwegon or Thompson's Harbor State Park (click on the state park above to see each project page).

prince All three primitive state parks are such a unique feature in northeast Michigan because they are each a large area of undeveloped land; which is why so many threatened and endangered species can be found at each state park. By educating students on the natural resources of northeast Michigan  it is helping them understand the importance of protecting these state parks for not only park users, but threatened and endangered species as well.

Alcona Community Garden: Throughout the summer Helen-Ann have been volunteering in the Alcona Community Garden twice a week. She helps trim, weed, harvest and deliver crops to local organizations for distribution. Click on the title to visit the project page on the NE MI GLSI website.