PBE Topics of Inquiry

Water and land use, stream ecology, macroinvertebrates, conducted chemical, biological and physical stream monitoring techniques, stream mapping and assessment, nature drawing and journaling.

Essential Question

What role could the Rouge Park play in making Cody-Rouge neighborhood a more just community?

Community issue or need addressed

Park remediation and the benefits of green spaces; school campus beautification and establishment of outdoor learning classroom.


West side of Detroit, Michigan


The Background The Youth Ambassadors afterschool program began in 2012 when Chad Segrist joined the teaching staff at DIT and created it. Youth Ambassadors are student leaders who set an example for the rest of the student body, provide leadership, and contribute their voices to discussions about their school’s improvement. Students are recruited to the program from all grade levels. In addition to their leadership work in school, Mr. Segrist and the Ambassadors have taken on a number of projects on the campus and in the community. In recent years, they have placed particular emphasis on environmental issues facing the school and larger Cody Rouge Community. During the 2015–16 school year, there were 12 Youth Ambassadors, and these students began mentoring ninth graders to become Youth Ambassadors in the coming years. They see this new ninth-grade connection as a way to reach more students and to have a bigger impact in their community.

Community Parterships

We Are The Forest

A Nature + STEM Academy conducted in K-12 School. Their curriculum trains students and teachers to connect with the power of place & Nature. https://wearetheforest.org/

Ecoworks Youth Energy Squad

YES cultivates the next generation of green leaders by engaging youth from diverse backgrounds in hands-on service learning projects that make their homes, schools and communities more sustainable. 




Leslie Science and Nature Center & Annie's Big Nature Lesson

LSNC was the site for the Annie’s BIG Nature Lesson immersion experience, the week-long camp experience for AALC students. 

Learning Activities & Project Outcomes

A Walk in the ParkYouth Ambassadors and ninth graders participate in learning station activities around Rouge Park to learn more and inform future stewardship efforts in the park and other areas of the community.

Skill-Building for Stewardship EventYouth Ambassadors and the ninth graders practice soil and water monitoring techniques in preparation for their final trip to Rouge Park for an environmental inventory.

Rouge Park InventoryYouth Ambassadors and ninth-grade students return to the park to take samples and conduct environmental inventory of the park with newly gained skills.

Interdisciplinary & Cross Grade Level Connections

Activities focused on the roles of environmentally minded citizens, the environment of Rouge Park, and the role of the environment in history and current life. Students engaged in written reflection.

During their independent explorations, students were asked to record their observations, reflections and questions. Students later used these notes for discussions, research, and interacting with community members.

Looking at local maps and gaining mapping literacy skills.

Understanding water quality through sampling techniques at the pond in the park.

Learning Objectives & Assessments

Science inquiry Process: Make purposeful observations of the natural world; Generate questions based on observations; Use tools that aid observation and data collection; Share ideas and evaluate data and claims about science through purposeful conversation in collaborative groups; Communicate and present findings of observations and investigations using evidence; Describe the effect humans and other organisms have on the balance of the natural world.

Social Studies: Describe past and current threats to Michigan’s natural resources; describe how Michigan worked in the past and continues to work today to protect its natural resources; Assess the positive and negative effects of human activities on the physical environment of the United States; Develop and implement an action plan and know how, when, and where to address or inform others about a public issue.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

Some assessments throughout this project included:

Tree mapping (understanding and interpreting measurements, scale, etc.)

Nature journaling through poetry and sensory observations writing.

Presentations at SEMIS Community Forum shows ability to educate the public on their research.

Water quality testing at the Rouge River and surrouding wetlands area.