GLEP becomes 4-H Program of Distinction

National 4-H Headquarters recently named the Great Lakes Education Program (GLEP) a 4-H Program of Distinction. Programs of Distinction (POD) are peer-reviewed programs that reflect the high quality of Extension youth development programs from across the United States and territories.

 Based in Macomb and Wayne counties and led by senior Extension educator Steve Stewart and Extension educator Gary Williams, GLEP combines conservation education and science in the classroom and outdoors. It includes a shipboard field trip that introduces Michigan fourth graders to the Great Lakes. GLEP, which has its own curriculum and website (, has been replicated four times.

 Michigan 4-H Youth Development, Sea Grant, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, and Michigan State University Extension collaborate to make GLEP a winning program.

 Since its inception in 1991, more than 80,000 students and adults from 26 communities have participated in GLEP. The program annually serves approximately 4,000 students from 160 classrooms in 20 school districts and 6 counties, including urban, suburban and rural areas. Many people had a hand in developing the GLEP curriculum, with leadership provided by Dr. Shari Dann, associate professor in the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies; Carol Swinehart, recently retired communications manager with Michigan Sea Grant, and others. Even I had a hand in reviewing some of the materials and provided information on some of the ichthyological information in the curriculum. If you know of others who were involved in the creation of GLEP, please go to my blog and add their names as a comment on this entry.

 Impact evaluation results rate GLEP as a highly successful conservation education program. Students gain knowledge of the Great Lakes and natural resources while gaining positive attitudes and strengthening stewardship intentions toward those areas.

 Because of the experiential nature of GLEP, kids see and learn firsthand the importance of the Great Lakes and conservation efforts. It gets kids outdoors and in nature when many of their peers are sitting home with video games and missing out on what the great outdoors has to offer.

 GLEP now joins three other Michigan 4-H Youth Development programs that were named PODs: Ottawa County Journey 4-H Youth Mentoring in 2007, Leelanau County 4-H Kids Club in 2008, and 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp in 2009.


Filed under 4-H

2 responses to “GLEP becomes 4-H Program of Distinction

  1. Steve Stewart

    Just a note that the GLEP team is a bit larger than mentioned. Terry Gibb (Macomb County), Patrick Livingston (retired) and I worked back in 1991 to develop the program, and Terry coordinates the Lake St. Clair portion of the program today. Patrick continues GLEP work part-time on the lower Detroit River, and both he and Terry were involved in drafting the POD nomination.

  2. Carol Swinehart

    Congrats to all GLEPers 😉 !!!

    Also, one of GLEP’s founding directors is soon to be the newest member of an exclusive MSU group. A week from today, Steve Stewart will receive the university’s highest honor for people in his classification–the Distinguished Academic Staff Award 😉

    Cheers from here!

    Carol Swinehart