Guest Post: GM and Earth Force Get to the Root of STEM Education

Lisa Bardwell, president and CEO of Earth Force, reflects on the nonprofit's long standing partnership with GM and the organizations' shared commitment to STEM education and environmental…
Aug 22, 2014 1:10 PM ET


General Motors and national nonprofit Earth Force share a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. Together, we are working to engage young people in inquiry-based, hands-on learning, while providing adults with the tools and skills needed to implement high-quality STEM education.

GM has added a critical component to STEM education within Earth Force – GM mentors provide real world connections and workforce reinforcement to thousands of students across the country.

Our partnership through GM GREEN, now in its 25thyear, has brought together unlikely partners to collaborate toward a common goal – healthier watersheds and communities through youth engagement. The program has empowered a legion of young people and their adult supporters to a lifelong commitment to watershed health and community improvement.

GM’s expertise also played a significant role in shaping GreenSchoolsConnect, our year long program that builds partnerships to accelerate the systemic implementation of green and sustainable practices in school districts.

Our STEM collaboration with GM and others will be highlighted during our Next Steps Institute (NSI) event in Washington, D.C., September 22-23.

NSI promotes hands-on, minds-on learning in STEM education. Organized by pathways that take participants on an engaging journey into critical STEM learning arenas, the institute offers the depth and breadth of content needed to enhance effectiveness in action and advocacy around STEM.

These in-depth pathways for participants to engage in thoughtful investigation, deep networking, and strategizing with experts and peers, include:

·         Promoting Environmental Sustainability and Stewardship through STEM

·         Harnessing the Power of Agriculture with STEM

·         Creating Cross Sector Partnerships to Advance STEM Education

·         Engineering Real World Design Solutions to STEM Challenges

GM’s Mary Alice Kurtz participated in last year’s conference, providing a critical corporate community voice on the need to start STEM education early in order to create the next generation of science and technology literate employees.

During this year’s NSI, GM will sponsor an event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Earth Force’s founding. Hundreds of environmental leaders will gather in our nation’s capital to reflect on 20 years of engaging youth as active citizens who improve the environment throughout the country and especially in GM communities.

Whether it’s supporting robotics competitions, creating an outdoor classroom in a student’s local watershed, or delivering high-quality training to adults, hundreds of thousands of students are taking their education to the next level with GM and Earth Force.

Earth Force’s Next Steps Institute is Sept. 22-23, 2014 in Washington, D.C. To learn more, visit

For more information on the “20 Years: Celebrating A Watershed Moment in Earth Force History” event, visit

Lisa Bardwell is president and CEO of Earth Force.