MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Meridian Township’s Environmental Commission discussed the ongoing process of distributing green infrastructure grants to Haslett and Okemos schools during their televised meeting on Feb. 3. The cities of Okemos and Haslett can receive up to $5,000 each to aid their schools in developing student-led green infrastructure projects.
So far, the Commission has received four proposals for the grant. Kinawa Middle School students want to use the money to add butterfly-friendly plantings and help control invasive species. Okemos High School proposed to incorporate a rain garden in the front of the school. Montessori Radmoor students hope to improve their nature trail, greenhouse, and herb garden. Finally, Haslett Middle School students want to create an outdoor classroom in their courtyard.
John Sarver, Environmental Commission Chair, expressed his desire to help as many students as he can.
“Ideally, we’d fund everything if we could,” Sarver said.
Schools have until March 15 to submit a mini proposal to the Township Board. These proposals need to include a project description, list of team members and leaders, project timeline and schedule, outreach plan to inform the community, a list of materials and maintenance plan, and a budget. The Commission said that a project idea needs to be good and well-thought-out to get funding.
If multiple project proposals are presented from the same school district, these will be evaluated on a point-based system. During the meeting, there was discussion about scoring Haslett and Okemos Schools separately. A five-person selection committee will come up with the scoring and make recommendations for how groups should proceed with their projects.
Once the Township Board reviews all the proposals, award notifications are scheduled to be sent out on March 30. After this, school teams can begin starting their projects.
Although there is not unlimited funding, Treasurer Phil Deschaine encourages schools to move forward with their projects and even look for outside financial support.
“The Board has very strong, green values,” Deschaine said.
Deschaine recommended bringing these proposals to the Okemos and Haslett School Foundation.
“I think if the fees are going to be focused on the schools, they would be good candidates for providing some significant portion of the funding for it,” he said.
Deschaine also suggesting reaching out to corporations like Delta Dental who have made huge investments in planting trees and leaving a green footprint.
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