Alpena students bring a Great Lakes perspective to the global marine debris issue
By Brandon Schroeder and Meaghan Gass
A new year is just around the corner – and it’s also an opportunity to celebrate a local youth leader who is featured in the national 2017 NOAA Marine Debris Calendar. This year’s calendar showcases the artwork of Malley M., a 2015-16 eighth-grade student at All Saints Catholic School in Alpena, Mich. Connected to that classroom’s efforts to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the Great Lakes, Malley’s art was chosen as one of twelve young artists contributing to the annual calendar. She not only created an imaginative, eye-catching piece of art for this competition, but she also applied her school skills in addressing this marine debris issue locally.
In her achievement, she represents her broader team of classmates, educators, school, and community. Her teacher, Alecia Deitz, engages students – through their learning – in environmental stewardship projects aimed at enhancing their local community. Supported by theNortheast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative(NEMIGLSI) network, the All Saints School educator team explores local issues and community needs through a place-based stewardship education (PBSE) instructional process. Through this network, educators and students first investigated the issue of marine debris and plastic pollution in the Great Lakes – an issue commonly connected with our world’s ocean but sometimes forgotten about here locally in our Great Lakes.