Au Sable receives $22,000 grant to continue REYS program

Au Sable Institute has been awarded $22,000 from the Worthington Family Foundation in support of the Restoration Ecology for Young Students (REYS) program.

“We are humbled by the generosity of the Worthington Family Foundation and their continued support of northern Michigan students and schools,” says Paul Wiemerslage, Au Sable’s Environmental Education Coordinator. “The Foundation values initiatives that create lasting positive affects on our children and the REYS program meets that goal.”

REYS was first launched in 2017 and is a year-long program that introduces 5th grade students to the science and practice of ecological restoration. Au Sable instructors meet with classrooms once a month during the school year to deliver lessons that help students develop an awareness of physical, earth, and living systems and how people can use scientific inquiry and direct investigations to help solve environmental problems. Throughout the year, students tour their watershed, complete original research projects, and develop a service project aimed at restoring an ecosystem within their home community.

“Having Au Sable instructors work with students throughout the year to investigate the causes of environmental degradation and helping students to develop solutions to those problems are powerful learning experiences” says Kathy Larkin, a participating teacher from Alba Public School. “Not only does REYS invite students into the learning process, the service component ensures that their efforts are recognized and appreciated."

Schools served by the program during the 2018-19 school year included:

• Traverse Heights Elementary School (Traverse City Area Public Schools)

• Courtade Elementary School (Traverse City Area Public Schools)

• Traverse City Christian (Grand Traverse County)

• Mill Creek Elementary (Elk Rapid Schools, Antrim County)

• Alba Public Schools (Antrim County)

Worthington’s support ensures that the program will continue during the upcoming 2019-20 school year. This will be the third year that Au Sable has received funding from the Worthington Family Foundation for the program. To date, REYS has completed 10 student led service projects that used more than 10,000 native plants in local habitat restoration and included over 7000 contact hours with students and teachers

For additional information on the REYS program, contact Paul Wiemerslage at or 231-587-8686.