Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative Gets Grant to Aid Teachers Talk About Climate Change, Biden Commits $700 Million to Develop HALEU Nuclear Fuel

by | Sep 8, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative gets grant providing resources for teachers talking about climate change, plus Biden Administration commits $700 Million to develop HALEU nuclear fuel.



With a grant from the DTE Foundation, the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, GLSI, is helping prepare Michigan educators to discuss climate change with their students. GLSI was formed in 2007 to create the next generation of stewards of the Great Lakes and their ecosystems by educating students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

The DTE Foundation recently reached out to GLSI to apply for the grantGLSI said the $10,000 grant will be used to offer a four-session virtual professional learning event for teachers and community partners throughout the state to help better communicate about climate change with students.

“We’re trying to help teachers with some questions they might have right now,” Mary Whitmore, executive director of GLSI, said. “How can we talk about climate change without it being scary or depressing for kids? How do we dispel some of the common myths about climate change? And how do we have conversations with students about the climate crisis?”

Whitmore said the four sessions will have varied focuses:

  • October: will provide a Brief overview of climate change, communication tools and strategies for educators and students.
  • November: How to apply what is learned in the workshop in the classroom and how to support fellow educators.
  • December: Sharing what teachers are planning to do and workshop in small groups.
  • May: Celebrate what has been accomplished.

The sessions will target middle and high school students but Whitmore also encouraged elementary school teachers to attend.

“If you know anything about elementary kids, you know that they have a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world and what’s going on around them. Many of these communication strategies that we’re talking about during this workshop can be used effectively with younger students,” she said.

“Our hope is that this gives these students a curiosity about how you can use STEM education to problem solve,” Dowler said.

Any educators who would like to register for the professional learning events or to get more information are asked to call 231.526.7407 or email




The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI) was launched in 2007 to develop knowledgeable and active stewards of the Great Lakes and their ecosystems through place-based studies and explorations in local communities. The initiative’s approach to teaching and learning results in vibrant, hands-on experiences that increase student achievement and help young Michigan residents become lifelong stewards of the environment.

The GLSI works toward its goals through six regional hubs located around Michigan, each of which is led by experienced, qualified staff. The hubs offer professional development about content and pedagogy for K–12th grade teachers and community partners, help organize and sustain school-community partnerships, and provide leadership for place-based education and environmental stewardship.

Why does the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative matter to us? The GLSI support teachers. Too many teachers are over-tasked, under-supported, and isolated from their peers. We offer teachers ongoing professional development that builds their skills and knowledge and connects them with other educators. Our hubs also provide material resources, funding, and community support so teachers can thrive.

It builds resilient, intelligent kids. We ignite curiosity and help kids make a difference right where they live. Our work fosters a sense of citizenship and responsibility in kids. They use what they’re learning in hands-on ways to protect and nurture the environment. In the process, they come to realize that they can make a difference.

And it improves communities and the environment. The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative takes the classroom into local neighborhoods, supporting teachers and students as they solve real-world problems in their own backyards. Students connect to their own ability to make a difference.




The Biden administration’s efforts to develop a more energy-dense nuclear fuel got a sudden $700 million windfall in the climate-and-tax bill signed into law last month, a boost for the Dept of Energy’s plans to demonstrate two next-generation reactors before the end of the decade, energy officials and nuclear supporters said. 

The funding—more than 15 times the program’s current annual appropriation—is a down payment for the agency’s efforts to develop fuel supplies for advanced reactors, which are designed to be much smaller than the current fleet of nuclear plants.

Fuel to start up the first two agency-supported advanced reactors, under development by TerraPower in Wyoming and X-Energy in Washington state, was expected to be sourced entirely from Russia. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, US energy officials have moved urgently to wean off Russian imports of high-assay low-enriched uranium, or HALEU.

Andrew Griffith, the department’s deputy assistant secretary for nuclear fuel cycle and supply chain, said in a statement: “The Inflation Reduction Act “will lead to more certainty in completing this work and defining a successful path forward. With these significant funds up front for commercial HALEU, we are considering adjustments that can help us move faster with better value to the taxpayer.”

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told Congress in April the agency was “in final stages” of developing a HALEU strategy, which at that time had just $45 million appropriated by Congress for fiscal year 2022.

Why does this matter to us? As much as $100 million in the climate bill could be spent on a temporary, short-term fix: sourcing HALEU from the country’s existing stockpile of highly enriched uranium. The U.S. has nearly 42 metric tons of highly enriched uranium available to be diluted into HALEU, according to the most recent declassified figures, from 2013. One ton of highly enriched uranium, used in naval propulsion reactors, nuclear weapons and in some research reactors, can yield about 4 to 5 tons of HALEU when it is diluted.

DEEPER DIVE: Bloomberg Green, Bloomberg Law, HALEU