In 2013, Earth Force launched the Environmental Service-Learning Project (ESLP), funded by NOAA and in partnership with the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative. The ESLP provides support to collaboratives in communities across Michigan to engage youth in collecting and assessing data about the ecosystems of the Great Lakes. Students use the data they collect to create stewardship projects. The first year of the ESLP involved much planning and the launch of the Project in three Michigan regions: Copper Country (Houghton/Hancock in the Upper Peninsula), west Michigan (Muskegon), southeast Michigan (Ypsilanti to Detroit).
At the end of year one in the three-year pilot project, the ESLP has reached 2,620 youth, 50% of whom are eligible for free or reduced lunch, created 23 new partnerships with local organizations, hosted 6 professional development workshops for 120 educators, and supported 16 youth-driven stewardship projects!