Welcome to AAPS Environmental Education!

Since 1960, the AAPS EE Program has been educating and inspiring students through meaningful learning experiences in the natural environment. Field trips are designed to support and enhance classroom curriculum, with specific tie-ins to grade-level science studies. We aim to help students become responsible environmental stewards, with the attitudes, understandings and skills to protect our one and only Earth now and in the future.

Have a question about the program? We would love to hear from you! Please email Dave Szczygiel (szczygie@aaps.k12.mi.us) or Coert Ambrosino (ambrosinoc@aaps.k12.mi.us).

Interested in supporting our work? Please considering becoming a volunteer or contributing to the A2SEEE endowment .

We are proud to have created new, virtual curricular materials for eight grade levels during the 2020-21 school year, but with a COVID Safety Plan in place, we have happily returned to in-person programming in 21-22!

Big time thanks to Bill Schneider of Wildtype Native Plant Nursery for leading two workshops on native plant propagation for the Freeman Environmental Youth Council this year! What wonderful learning experiences for our students!

We would like to recognize and thank Director of Food Service Victoria Davis, Chef Tim Connors, and other Chartwells staff for providing individual student meals for 'Winter Survival' lessons. This alternative food plan played an important part in creating a COVID-safe field trip plan for our 5th graders this year!

September 2021 video update on our prairie restoration study plot project!

December 2021 seeding event

Coming soon to a former lawn near you!

Five outdoor study plots at the Freeman EE Center are currently being prepared to be planted with native prairie flowers and grasses in Fall 2021. This project is a collaboration with UM SEAS Master's student Esha Biswas.

We are studying different site preparation strategies, planting methods, and ratios of grasses to forbs. We have also taken baseline soil samples to help us study happening underground as the prairie develops.

The Freeman Environmental Youth Council would like to thank everyone who took part in the Green Michigan Symposium! We are grateful to all of the youth and adult presenters who contributed content.

Though you had to be there to participate in the Q&As and collaborative discussions, we recorded the presentations and are making them available on this Youtube playlist.


AAPS is working to add hardwood trees to school campuses with the "Elementary Playground Shade Tree" program. Click here to see a presentation that EE program staff compiled to help teach about the planting initiative.

Volunteer Spotlight: Karen Ellis

Karen Ellis has two children in AAPS, and her first experience with the EE Program came during a classroom visit in her son’s Kindergarten room. After sharing some of her own knowledge about Michigan animals, we quickly recruited her to join our volunteer ranks!

Karen has a background in geology, oceanography, and environmental studies. As a graduate student, she served as a teaching assistant for introductory-level environmental science and climate science lab courses. This experience helped her realize her passion for teaching science in an accessible, hands-on way. She enjoys participating in field trips at all grade levels and says she has learned as much and had as much fun as the students she guides in the field!

Although the 21-22 school year was the first year that Karen served as an EE Program naturalist, she has already volunteered on more than 50 field trips. Wow! In addition to these contributions, Karen spends time volunteering at her children's school. She also enjoys hiking, rock hunting, baking, reading, and spending time with her family.

Thank you, Karen!

Click HERE to see more volunteer pictures.

Volunteers make this program work! Community volunteers join AAPS teachers and EE staff in the field, sharing extensive knowledge about science and the natural environment. It is thanks to their dedication and participation that these field trips are enjoyable and productive for AAPS students. Thinking of volunteering? Contact Dave Szczygiel at 734-368-5539 or szczygie@aaps.k12.mi.us to learn more.

Get the latest news and consider donating to the Science and Environmental Education Endowment!

Help secure the future of experiential, environmental education in our schools. Learn more by clicking HERE, and thank you!

Website: EE webmaster - Coert Ambrosino; AAPS webmaster- John Stahly