The Knight Center is awarding $2,000 grants to three Michigan high schools for collaboration between journalism and environmental science classes.
The winning projects were selected from six proposals in the first year of competition.
The Knight Center also has matched the schools with professional journalism mentors to work with the students and teachers for guidance and advice on the projects.
The grants go to:
- Onaway High School in Onaway for a set of water-related videos about vernal pools, greenhouse hydroponics, fisheries and recycling. The videos will be combined into a program of about 30 minutes to be posted on YouTube and possibly broadcast on a local cable access channel.
The teachers are Barb Kowalewsky and Scott Steensma. The professional mentor is Richard Crofton, publisher of the Cheboygan Daily Tribune and Sault News.
- Divine Child High School in Dearborn for multi-media news and feature stories about Detroit-area brownfields clean-up sites designated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The teachers are Serge Danielson-Francois and Jen Heskett. The professional mentors are Nancy Hanus, the director of digital strategy at Crain’s Detroit Business, and Michael Happy, the digital director at Fox Sports Detroit’s website.
- Grosse Pointe North High School in Grosse Pointe Woods for school newspaper, news website and yearbook coverage of water quality tests of Lake St. Clair.
The teachers are Christopher Skowronski and Shari Adwers. The professional mentors are Nancy Hanus, the director of digital strategy at Crain’s Detroit Business, and Michael Happy, the digital director at Fox Sports Detroit’s website The Knight Center also will disseminate some of the student-produced work on Great Lakes Echo and on the center’s website.
The Knight Center created the grant program and invited teachers to propose innovative class projects in which journalism students report about field research conducted by themselves or separately by environmental science students. The program’s principal goals are to:
- help young prospective journalists better understand and explain to the public how science is done
- help environmental science students learn to use the media to explain their work to the public.
- promote STEM learning, environmental awareness and communication skills among high school students.
The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association and Michigan Science Teachers Association helped publicize the grant competition.