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 .

EE Program 2020-2021 School Year Update

In the Reimagine Learning Plan 2020-21, Ann Arbor Public Schools names "a foundation of social justice and anti-racism" as one of its core values and guiding principles. EE Program staff would like to proudly reaffirm our commitment to this equity work and to develop new environmental justice programming for AAPS students, as was also recommended by the Freeman Environmental Education Center advisory committee. We welcome collaborations with fellow AAPS teachers and community members who are interested in supporting this work.

Though we anxiously await a return to our regular in-person programming, we're hopeful that the new curricular materials and video series that we've created will enhance environmental learning opportunities in AAPS this year and beyond. We thank our volunteer naturalists who have contributed photo and video content for these projects!

The Freeman EE Center Youth Council will be featured during the 51st Annual (Virtual) Ann Arbor Earth Day! Check out more details here.

FEEC Environmental Pledge .pdf

Wondering where the State of Michigan stands on carbon neutrality and clean energy? Check out this executive order from September 2020.

Attention, rock hounds! You probably already know that our state’s glacial history makes it an incredible place to collect rocks. We want to share an opportunity for local students and naturalists to study Michigan geology and help AAPS at the same time!

The EE Program has created new rock identification boards (shown below) to enhance the fourth grade geology unit. Each elementary school will be receiving a set of rock ID boards, and we invite you to help us collect samples of common Michigan rocks to display on the boards.

Rock samples we need include:

        • Metamorphic: Schist, Gneiss, Quartzite

        • Igneous: Gabbro, Basalt, Granite

        • Sedimentary: Chert, Concretions, Limestone, Tillite, Shale, Sandstone, Conglomerate

        • Sedimentary fossils: Fossiliferous Limestone, Crinoids, Corals, Brachiopods, Trilobites

The samples need to be pretty small, but we can always break or cut larger rocks when we are sorting them and epoxying them to the boards. Not positive about which rock type you’ve found? Don’t worry! You can refer to online resources like these ones about rocks and fossils, or leave the identification of challenging samples to us.

Please be sure to choose areas where collection is allowed. Many common rock types can be found just by digging a small hole in a backyard! As you venture outdoors, please also make certain that you are following up-to-date recommendations to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and taking precautions to protect yourself from insect bites.

If you are interested in helping with the collection efforts, just send us an email to let us know (szczygie@aaps.k12.mi.us, ambrosinoc@aaps.k12.mi.us). Thank you!


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: Russ Perigo

Russ Perigo began volunteering for the AAPS EE Program after attending a field trip with his son in 1999. Before retirement, Russ spent his career working as a geophysicist and geologist, using specialized equipment such as imaging radar and satellites for various measurement and mapping applications.

Russ is an extremely generous volunteer, assisting with dozens of EE trips every school year. You can find him on almost every geology trip, guiding students through local gravel pits, identifying rock specimens, and sharing his infectious passion for geology. He is also a regular volunteer for sixth grade Urban Hydrology trips, where he teaches students about the impacts of stormwater runoff through a series of erosion experiments.

In addition to his regular volunteering, Russ serves as an expert consultant for the EE Program, providing advice and feedback on curriculum and instructional resource development.

We thank you for all of your contributions, Russ!

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