Why We Are Here: Earth Force’s long standing partnership with General Motors prompted the GREEN program’s establishment in Marion.
Marion, established along the banks of the Mississinewa River in Central Indiana, enjoyed a boom around the turn of the last century when gas fields were discovered in the area. The boom ended before World War I, and the city’s prosperity waned until the establishment of several glass factories and the opening of a GM stamping and tool plant in 1955. However, the city’s industrial decline is evidenced by the fact that the per capita income for the city is $16,378 with 62% of the school-age population qualifying for free and reduced lunch.
Raw sewage is a major pollution issue in the Mississinewa River, because Marion’s sewer system is antiquated and many of the storm sewers (meant to carry rain water off city streets and parking lots) are combined with the sanitary sewers (meant to carry raw sewage from homes and businesses to the wastewater treatment plant). This means that almost every time it rains, raw sewage mixed with storm water from combined sewers overflows into the Mississinewa River. Read more…
The GREEN program helps address real community needs in Marion by introducing young people to Marion’s water resources and water quality issues and to exciting new careers in environmental fields through the mentoring role of GM employees and other community partners.
Demographics: Below Poverty Level 18.30%
Free and Reduced Lunch 62%
TOTAL POPULATION 30,560
White 24,229 (79.28%)
Black or African American 4,727 (15.47%)
Hispanic or Latino 1,312 (4.29%)
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 176 (0.58%)
Asian alone 189 (0.62%)
Some other race alone 392 (1.28%)
Two or more races 847 (2.77%)
What We Are Doing: Earth Force, in partnership with GM, Hoosier Riverwatch and Taylor University, works with teacher Lori Babb and her7th grade science class from McCulloch Middle School to conduct annual chemical, biological and habitat analyses of the Mississinewa River as part of their watershed inventory. Raw data is submitted to the Hoosier Riverwatch database and students work to improve conditions in and around the creek based on their observations.
Earth Force History in this Community: In 2004, GM Bedford partnered with Earth Force and Hoosier Riverwatch to bring GREEN to Marion youth.
Since the program’s inception, 529 students have participated from both McCulloch Middle School and Justice Middle School.
In 2009 and 2010, Taylor University joined the partnership effort and engaged undergraduate and graduate students in supporting the watershed investigations of the middle schoolers.
McCulloch Middle School student action projects resulting from their watershed investigations have included organizing community litter pickups and beautification projects at Matter Park (their monitoring site) and the creation of several educational videos about their water quality findings that they made available to the Marion community through the local cable access channel.
Number of Youth: 19
Number of Educators: 1
Participating Partners: General Motors
Participating School Districts: McCulloch Junior High School