About the Center


The Center for Science and Environmental Outreach is a nonprofit team of professionals and volunteers who provide educational programs, technical expertise, and information to schools, organizations, governments, and individuals to promote awareness and informed personal actions and public policy concerning regional environmental issues. The Center’s approach is to:

  • Link local concerns to broader environmental issues.
  • Provide programs for young people that are educational, hands-on, and fun.
  • Produce well-researched and referenced publications and other outreach products.
  • Form productive partnerships with a wide variety of organizations and individuals.
  • Provide technical assistance to decision makers and training workshops for educators.
  • Suggest positive actions based on sound research.


The Center for Science and Environmental Outreach was established in 1991 as the Michigan Technological University Regional Groundwater Education in Michigan (GEM) Center. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in association with the Institute of Water Research at Michigan State University, created the GEM Program in 1988. GEM’s purpose was to promote awareness, understanding, and protection of groundwater resources. In all, six university-based regional GEM centers were funded to support more than 30 community-based GEM projects throughout Michigan.

Over time, the MTU Regional GEM Center focused attention more closely on the connections between groundwater and surface water and the various land-use and disposal practices that impact water resources on a watershed scale. To reflect this changing emphasis and growth in programming, the Center decided in 1997 to adopt a new name, the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.

Administratively, the Center is part of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineeringand the College of Engineering. The Center is divided into Educational and Community Outreach Programs. The Center forms partnerships with MTU students, staff, and faculty; intermediate school districts; local, state and federal government agencies and entities; non-profit organizations, planning offices, county and district health departments, and tribes to develop and conduct programs.

The Center has received funding from the following sources:

  • Dunn Foundation
  • Elizabeth E. Kennedy Fund
  • International Paper
  • Keweenaw Community Foundation
  • Mead Paper Division
  • Michigan Department of Natural Resources Non-game Wildlife Fund
  • Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
  • Michigan Technological University
  • National Environmental Education and Training Foundation
  • Peter M. Wege Foundation of Grand Rapids, MI
  • Torch Lake Public Action Committee
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education