Hansen presents Fruitport students with White Pine Award for environmental excellence

LANSING – Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, today presented the White Pine Award to Fruitport Middle School for its outstanding environmental protection efforts.

Under the guidance of eighth grade science teacher Rachel Kent, students have made a positive impact by improving and maintaining the local environment.

“Rachel Kent’s innovative teaching style has allowed these students the unique opportunity to truly make a difference,” said Hansen, who chairs the Senate Committee on Outdoor Recreation and Tourism. “The Fruitport students and their project embody the true spirit of environmental stewardship and a devotion to long-term natural resource protection. Their dedication proves that this is more than just a class project; it is a commitment to community.”

After students recognized that runoff water from the school parking lot was impacting the local tributaries flowing into Spring Lake, they built a rain garden to alleviate the contaminated water flow.  Because they wanted to continue restoring the quality of the local stream, they created an ongoing action plan to study the problem, raise awareness, and monitor the effects of the cleanup.  Their strategy prompted interactions with the township supervisor, county drain commissioner, and a research scientist from the Grand Valley State University Water Resource Institute.

Some of the students involved in these activities also formed Fruitport Team Eco.  This team was one of 16 winners of the first round of the Lexus Eco Challenge, a national competition designed to inspire young people to learn about the environment and improve it.  The group was awarded $10,000 in scholarships and grants.  The students on the team are: Jillian Welch, Thomas Crotty, Bradley Chorny, Rowan Humphreys, Kylan Sherman, Nathan Kriger, Cory Bussing, Olivia Traxler, Kaitlynne Morano and Bryant Rebone.

Hansen said they are an example for others seeking to get involved.

“Let this White Pine Award serve as a reminder to future students, teachers, and other community members to continue exercising the same sound conservation practices these students have started,” Hansen concluded.