Students’ Learning-Action for the Environmental Commons

UW-Madison scholars have been collaborating with the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition (SEMIS) and their parent organization, the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI), to investigate the potential of Place-Based Stewardship Education (PBSE) for developing rural and urban students’ understanding of and commitment to the environmental commons—natural resources on which life depends (air, water, land) and the public spaces (schools, parks, town halls) where people gather and negotiate how and why they will care for those resources, for one another, and for the communities they inhabit. Gender analysis provides insights that can inform approaches more broadly applicable to marginalized people. Though the focus is not specifically on women, this is another important way that 4W can contribute to wellbeing.

A 7th grader wrote, “This is me, I’m giving back to my community, bettering it. I should keep this up. I go home and started planting trees. Worked with my neighbors, they came out ‘cause they found it interesting that I was doing it.”