Gratiot Park is next investment

CLK students learn several courses while working in local places

Waterfalls of the Keweenaw photo For years,the beach around Keweenaw County’s Tobacco River has been the focus of cleanup and monitoring by students of the Horizons Alternative High School in Mohawk. This year, the students will begin a similar project at the Gratiot River County Park.

CALUMET TOWNSHIP — Students of the Horizons Alternative High School in Mohawk will assist with the development of Keweenaw County’s Gratiot River Park.

Keweenaw County Trustee Sandra Gayk said as part of the county’s portion of a grant match from the Department of Natural Resources for the park, the students’ contribution could be included as work-in-kind.

The students will contribute more than just physical labor, according to Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw Schools Superintendent Christopher Davidson.

For the past number of years, the students have been working at the mouth of the Tobacco River, where they collected and recorded data, and compared it data they had previously collected.

“For years, we’d work out there,” said Davidson, “and we turned it into a big majority of the day. It was a cross-curricular type of a deal where we were bringing in math, art and reading and writing, and the history aspects of the area, and we spent the day out there. Picnic lunch, and we cleaned the beach.”

The project has been an ongoing multi-disciplinary learning experience, as well as a study of historical aspects of the beach area and river.

“A lot of the math came into what (types of trash) were we collecting,” Davidson said, “how much of it were we collecting, then tracking that data over the years.”

Over the years, he said, it turned out there was less and less trash to pick up and record data on, so in 2019, the students, numbering about 55, will transfer the same type of work to the mouth of the Gratiot River.

“It’s a great project,” Davidson said. “I wasn’t a part of it this year, so I don’t know if they’ve tweaked what we’ve done with the Tobacco River, but it’s kind of along the lines of adopting a space and taking care of it, and getting the kids to invest in the local area.”