Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative School-Community Team Projects 2019-2021

Lake Superior Stewardship Logo

The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI) is a partnership of Copper Country & Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School Districts and Michigan Technological University.  Serving schools and communities in Houghton, Baraga, Gogebic, Ontonagon and Keweenaw Counties.


Since 2008, school-community teams comprised of students, teachers, administrators, and community partners (non-profit organizations, government agencies, units of government) have designed and conducted stewardship projects responsive to local community stewardship needs, supportive of the school curriculum, and have facilitated communication within their community. The 2019-2021 Projects are grouped below by Elementary, Middle or High School. For more information visit our website at


Elementary School Project Description School Team Members Community Partners
Chassell Elementary

Chassell Township Schools

Gr. K-5 (156 students)

A Walk in Our Backyard

Reclaim underutilized nature trail leading to and around the outdoor classroom, enhancing year-round opportunities for students and community to use this trail both during and after school.

Amanda Andress, Josh Normand, Steve Spahan- Superintendent, Angela Danison, Sue Hietala, Sarah Hoekstra, Karen Valentine Green Timber Consulting Foresters, Inc.

Lake Superior Tree Farms & Nursery

Houghton Elementary School

Houghton-Portage Township School District

Gr. K-5 (665 Students)

School Courtyard Renovations

Renovation and expansion of the school courtyard garden will include wheelchair accessible raised bed, pollinator garden, weather station, and outdoor learning space. Expanded use of garden and trail will engage students planning, planting, and maintaining the plots; knapweed removal replacing with native plants; creating signs to identify tree species within the courtyard.

Gael Filpus, Anders Hill- Principal, Laurel Givens, Melissa Hronkin, Alana Nolan, Lisa Ronis Bob Wheeler, John Wheeler Memorial Fund

Kathleen Harter, Parent Volunteer

T.R. Davis Elementary

Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools

Gr. K-8 (214 students)

Playing in the Dirt: Bringing Community Together

Maintain and expand outdoor learning area and school garden caring for native plants and animals.  Engage students in stewardship through assisting with township community garden. Creation of virtual field trips to help to preserve area history.

Carrie Meneguzzo, Christina Norland – Superintendent, Jade Babcock, Kristy Heinonen, Cathy Hill, Kristen Kariainen, Marissa Kentala, Jamie Mack, Kim Peltier, Emily Viola  Copper Country Audubon Club

Master Gardener

Osceola Township

Middle School Project Description School Team Members Community Partners
E.B. Holman

Stanton Township Schools

Gr. 6, 7 & 8 (79 students) 

Our Place in the Great Lakes Watershed

Utilize the land around the school to plant gardens, raise bees, compost and establish a fruit orchard. Develop low impact recreational activities on school property. Address the use of land and how it impacts the watershed.

Jean Dunstan, Deirdre Erbisch, James Rautiola – Superintendent, Mike Hainault, Chris Rebman Green Timber Consulting Foresters, Inc.; Grandpa’s Barn, Copper Country Audubon Society; Ecologist,  KBIC Natural Resources Department; Beekeepers: Kathleen Harter & Todd Gemelli; Dave and Cathy Caspary of Caspary Farms
Houghton Middle School

Houghton-Portage Township School District

Gr. 7-8   (247 students)

Huron Creek Watershed & Water Quality Partnership

Investigate how water quality and biodiversity of Huron Creek has been affected by development, urbanization, and previous mining activity and the impact upon the Huron Creek and Lake Superior watersheds.

Sara Geborkoff, Julie Filpus –  Principal, Tiffany Scullion, Amy Stier MSU – Extension

Aspirus Health Care

Robert Wheeler

MTU  Center for Science & Environmental Outreach

Lake Linden-Hubbell Middle – High School

Lake Linden–Hubbell Public Schools

Gr. 8-12 (200 students)

Our River, Our Lake, Our Community

Traprock Watershed monitoring, shrub planting, interpretive signage of geoheritage at Superfund site; develop low impact recreation opportunities. Inform visitors of area’s unique history.

Nick Squires, Brad Codere –  Superintendent, Heather French, Jennifer Saaranen, Robert Stenger Copper Country Audubon

MTU Geological & Mining Engineering & Sciences

L’Anse Middle – High School

L’Anse Area Schools

Gr. 6, 7, & 8  (130 students)

Native Plant Gardens

Maintain native gardens (students will be responsible for determining the proper soil composition needed for each bed) and extend plantings along school trail to demonstrate how one species can impact a whole ecosystem, and how native plants are better adapted than non-native.  Signs will be made written in both Ojibwa and English.

Josh Thelander, Melissa Scroggs – Principal, Laura Augustine, Dawn Carlson, Linda Lohman Keweenaw Bay Indian Community

Keweenaw Land Trust

Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College

Rachael Wilber

Washington Middle School  

Public Schools of C-L-K

Gr. 6-7 (226 students)

WMS Superior Stewardship

Students will gather data & make informed choices in writing a plan that promotes the sustainability of our forested resources which filter the waters of the Lake Superior watershed.  Students will also plant native lupine attempting to control invasive knapweed.

Darrell Hendrickson, Mike Steber – Principal, Kristin Svoke, Matt Laho, Margery Gronlund, John Larson, Kassandra Huhta, Dayra Boberg, John Asiala,Amy Machiela, Frank Bonacorsi, Julie Goldsworthy, Carl Arko, Cathy Rowe Alliance for the Great Lakes

Calumet Township

Keweenaw Historical National  Park

Michigan American Water Company

High School Project Description School Team Members Community Partners
CCISD Learning Center

Copper Country Intermediate School District

Gr. K- Adult (90 Students)

Copper Country ISD Greenhouse

Upon completion of the greenhouse, a greenspace will be created with four raised garden beds, and one accessible raised bed to be shared by all CCISD programs including Students with Severe Disabilities (PSSD).A book study will prepare the partner teachers.

Karyn Juntunen, Lead, Katrina Carlson – Supervisor, Sue Baratono, Jordan Jarvi, Doris Lund, Jennifer Meyer, Naomi Oja, Anna Roe, Maren Rouleau, Maria Schwarderer, Lisa Sporbert, Amber Swetich Gierke Blueberry Farm

The North Farm at UPREC

Dollar Bay High School

Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools

Gr.  7-12  (155 students)

Exploration through Marine Robotics and   VR Local History

Students will design, construct, and test Remotely-Operated Vehicles (ROV) to conduct research below the water’s surface; assist in monitoring entry points of zebra mussels, inspecting vessels as they enter Isle Royale National Park; will also engage with scientists and government agencies researching Lake Superior and local inland lakes assisting in visual identification and manipulation of objects below the surface of the water.

Matt Zimmer, Christina Norland – Superintendent, Jade Babcock, Jenny Butler, Cathy Hill, Sara Moilanen Delaware Copper Mine

Isle Royale National Park

Keweenaw County Historical Society

MTU – Civil & Environmental Engineering

MTU  Electrical & Computer Engineering

US Coast Guard

Horizons High School


GR: 9-12 (40 Students)

Rock’n the Gratiot River Park

Students in Mr. Theisen’s Project-Based Writing Class  will create a Scavenger Hunt and Virtual Tour of key geological features located in the Gratiot River Park).Additionally, Horizons students will continue our practice of respecting the GRP by picking up trash when at the park and vowing to leave it better than how we find it every time we visit.

Meg North, Joel Asiala, Principal, Luke Theiesen Keweenaw County Board

Keweenaw GeoHeritage

Houghton High School

Houghton-Portage Township School District

Gr: 10 (100 Students)

An Investigation of Bat Ecology and Population Decline in Houghton County

Students will monitor bat populations around the school, research bats and White Nose Syndrome, developing informational brochures and community presentations.

Jesse DePue, Cole Klein – Principal

Alex Geborkoff, Julie Antilla

MI DNR -John DePue, Wildlife Biologist and bat specialist
Luther L. Wright High School

Ironwood Area Schools

Gr: K-12 (402 students)

Outdoor Classroom and Gardens

Create an outdoor classroom which includes natural areas, berry patch, forested area, and gardens (native plants, vegetables, pollinator, etc.) to be used by students and community.  Veterans Memorial garden planting.

Cheryl Jacisin, Melissa Nigh, Principal, Noel Aho, Jason Hofstede, Rachel Boyd, Daniel Negro, Bob Genisot Coleman Engineering

Gogebic Community College

Keweenaw Land Association

Master Gardeners

Ottawa National Forest