Grand Rapids, MI

Plaster Creek Stewards, Calvin College

WATERSHED: Plaster Creek Watershed

Plaster Creek Stewards

The Plaster Creek Stewards initiative began at Calvin College in 2009 to provide experiential education and a working lab for students. Through several Michigan Department of Environmental Quality grants, EPA Urban Waters grants, support from the Urban Waters community, and support from the Calvin College community, this initiative has grown into a widely recognized and respected program,  that provides benefits to both students and Plaster Creek through service learning and watershed restoration. Community connections – to local schools, churches, and other organizations – are also made to include the larger community in restoration efforts.  Education and outreach, research (i.e. water quality monitoring and other investigations), and on-the-ground restoration through green infrastructure have resulted in:

  • over 60 curb cut rain gardens and a dozen large green infrastructure projects across the watershed;
  • student-faculty research projects in GIS mapping, hydrologic modeling, habitat restoration, bacterial monitoring /sourcing, and social research/oral histories;
  • the development of a summer Green Team, a program to teach high schoolers about watershed ecology and train them to install and maintain green infrastructure projects;
  • community education to both rural upstream and urban downstream residents through spring, summer, and fall workshop events.