Design a product to help people explore and enjoy Michigan’s parks




The Michigan Design Prize is an annual competition celebrating and developing exceptional Michigan industrial design talent.


K- 12 grade and college/university students from across the state are invited to tackle a singular design challenge linked to Michigan and larger societal issues as actual designers solving an authentic problem.


The winners of the prize earn the chance to collaborate with top Michigan industrial designers to bring their idea to life, and showcase their product concept across the state.




Finalists are offered a one-on-one mentoring session with a professional industrial designer to rapidly advance their design thinking and visual communication skills. Will be recognized for their design excellence in Michigan Design Council promotional media, awards ceremonies, and through the MDC website.


Educators can develop their students' capacity to enthusiastically embrace challenges they have never encountered before, asking “What can I do to solve this problem?” and live up to their potential as effective problem posers and solvers.


Schools can build exciting connections between their school community and industry professionals driving our creative economy forward.




K – 12 Grade students, College/University students are invited to participate.


K-12 scholastic and collegiate entrants are judged in the following categories: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Collegiate


The competition is administered and judged by the members of the Michigan Design Council.





To support your efforts to strengthen the creative capacity of your students and engage them in thinking like designers, we have addressed some FAQ’s.


We have also provided information about the design process that we hope will be helpful to your planning and instruction.


Wholemindesign  offers one day professional development for K - Collegiate educators who wish to learn more about the design process and how to meaningfully engage students in the challenge.


Please go to www.wholemindesign.com , “Course Offerings” section for more information.



November: Registration open

March 30th: Submissions due EOD

June: Awards Ceremony




    You are never more than half an hour from a Michigan state park, state forest campground or state trail system. The state of Michigan has more than 4.5 million acres of state-owned land for public outdoor recreation. This is approximately 12% of Michigan’s land area. The majority, the 3.9 million-acre state forest system, is a working forest system of six state forests across the northern 2/3 of Michigan. It provides multiple benefits including wood, environmental quality and fish and wildlife habitat as well as a wide range of outdoor recreation opportunities.


    These opportunities focus on rustic recreation with limited facilities as well as dispersed recreation which is not facility dependent. Activities include hunting, fishing, camping, motorized and non-motorized trail activities, picking wild edibles and nature observation. There are 138 state forest campgrounds (including a dozen equestrian campgrounds) and over 880 miles of non-motorized pathways, with all open to hiking and cross-country skiing and most open to mountain biking. In addition, a major portion of the pathway system is designed with equestrians in mind with the Shore-to-Shore Riding-Hiking trail from Oscoda to Empire that traverses state and federal land as well as some utility corridors.


    Michigan’s trails are primarily sited on state forestland, while others, such as the snowmobile trails, rely on a combination of government and private land owners. Key trail systems include the 6,216-mile snowmobile trail system, the 3,193-mile off-road vehicle trail system and the 1,145 miles of rail-trails.


    Michigan’s state park and recreation system has 98 properties that range from the 55,000- acre Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park to the smaller venues located on a single lake or encompassing a historic site. State recreation areas differ from state parks in that they are more likely to be open to hunting and provide a wider range of recreation opportunities with less development. The state park and recreation area system provides camping in 70 properties with over 12,000 modern campsites. In addition, other forms of lodging include camper cabins, lodges, tepees and the newest, yurts. There are more than 880 miles of non-motorized trails, all of which serve hikers and cross-country skiers and many of which serve mountain bikers and equestrians.


    Cities, townships, counties, villages and school districts also have 5,289 local parks that encompassed 213,962 acres.


    These outdoor recreation areas range from small neighborhood venues in cities, villages and townships to major county and regional parks and school forests that encompass thousands of acres.


    While these parks occupy less than 1% of Michigan’s land area, they provide critical recreational opportunities close to population concentrations that range from land and water trails, outdoor team and individual sport fields and courts, access to surface waters, nature centers and accompanying interpretive programs and just the opportunity to relax and enjoy the outdoors alone or with friends or family.


    They also provide vital green space that improves air quality, buffers against temperature extremes and enlivens the developed landscape.


    There are slightly more than three million federal acres in Michigan, comprising 8% of Michigan’s land area.


    The four national forests (Huron, Manistee, Hiawatha and Ottawa) make up 2.7 million acres and are similar to Michigan state forests in providing for multiple use and benefits including wood, outdoor recreation, fish and wildlife habitat and environmental quality.


    There are six National Park Service areas, including Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shores and Keweenaw National Historic Park.


    There are also three major national wildlife refuges: Seney, Shiawassee and the newest, the Detroit River International Refuge.


    Michigan has 1,024 boating access sites across the state. It also has 16 "harbors of refuge". The harbors of refuge are approximately 30 miles apart along the Great Lakes shoreline to provide shelter from storms and often provide boat launches and supplies. There are 11 state underwater preserves covering 2,450 square miles of Great Lakes bottomland and ten of them have a maritime museum or interpretive center in a nearby coastal community.


    Finally, under Michigan’s Great Lakes there are 11 Michigan underwater preserves that encompass 2,450 square miles of Great Lakes bottomland. The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron near Alpena is the only federal marine sanctuary on the Great Lakes. Within all these areas there are 150 known shipwrecks and another 300 waiting to be located.


    In 2014 visitor spending of $22.8 billion generated $37.8 billion in total business sales as visitor dollars flowed through Michigan’s economy. Michigan hosted 113.4 million visitors in 2014 and a total of 326,685 jobs, with income of $10.6 billion, were sustained by the traveler economy in Michigan last year. Traveler-supported employment represents 6.2% of all employment in the state of Michigan.


    The unemployment rate in Michigan was 7.3% in 2014. Without tourism jobs, the unemployment rate would have been 13.3%. Each million dollars in state park visitor spending supports about 20 direct jobs. Michigan’s travel industry is an important part of the state’s economy, much of it focused on outdoor recreation; this supported about 210,000 jobs.



    Michigan’s population is aging, with the fastest growing age segments in their late 40s and 50s, as well as those 75 and above. Michigan’s population is also becoming more diverse, with 80% identifying themselves as white, 14% as Black or African American and 6% as other races in the 2000 census. Between 1990 and 2000, the proportion of the population who identified themselves as Hispanic/Latino (of any race) grew by 60%. Michigan’s population is spreading out from major urban centers and is also retiring to portions of northern lower Michigan.


    It has been estimated that the rate of land development is eight times the rate of population growth in Michigan from 1978 to 2000. This sprawl has negatively impacted opportunities for trails, hunting and other outdoor recreation activities in Michigan.


    A mail survey of registered Michigan voters was conducted concerning their Michigan outdoor recreation activities and preferences for the coming years. More than half cited outdoor recreation as very important to their households, while 35% reported it moderately important and the remaining 14% reported it as slightly important or unimportant.


    More than half the responding households reported that one or more members walked outdoors, relaxed outdoors, picnicked, bicycled, did sightseeing, drove for pleasure, swam outdoors and fished in the past year. When asked about the three most important activities to their household, walking outdoors, relaxing outdoors, fishing, hunting and camping were the five most commonly cited. In the past year, 75% of respondent households had one or more members that visited a public outdoor recreation venue, with 60% noting a visit to a state property, 53% to a local park and 23% to federal lands. Of those who had one or more visits, 38% said they had more than 10 outdoor recreation visits to public lands in the past year.


    Seventy percent of voter respondents reported they were satisfied with the amount of outdoor recreation resources. However, only 42% were satisfied with the quality of those resources, citing concerns about the need for improved maintenance, security and environmental quality and concerns about rising fees.



    The Parks and Recreation Division, the frontline managers of the Michigan State Park system, instituted a push toward infusing green technology in parks as a way to conserve energy, improve environmental quality and stretch scarce financial resources. This pioneering effort has sparked interest and activity in including green technology in scoring for Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and LWCF grants by DNR Grants Management.



Simply complete the fillable form below

K - 5th Grade

6th Grade - Collegiate



1. Background: The Michigan Design Prize Competition (the “Competition”) is an annual competition celebrating Michigan’s industrial design talent and capabilities.  Every year, the Competition will tackle a single design challenge linked to Michigan and broader societal issues.  The theme for the 2018 competition is Michigan parks.  This Competition is sponsored and administered by the Michigan Design Council, a Michigan based, 501c3 non-profit organization, P.O. Box 652, Walled Lake, MI 48390-0652 (the “Sponsor”).

2.  Who Can Enter:  The Michigan Design Prize Competition (the “Competition”) is open to legal residents of Michigan; K – 12th grade students, college / university students.  Residency will be verified by address on your valid, non-expired drivers’ license, or other valid form of identification.  The Competition is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited.

3. Your Agreement to Official Rules: Participation in this Competition constitutes your agreement of these Official Rules and Sponsor’ decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to this Competition.

4. When You Can Enter: The Competition begins on January 1, 2017 at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time ("ET") and ends on June 30 , 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET (the "Competition Period").

5. How You Can Enter, And What Your Entry Can and Cannot Include: During the Competition Period, develop one (1) design solution addressing the following challenge: Design a physical product to help people safely enjoy Michigan Winters. (the “Submission”).  Complete and submit the fillable form to receive one (1) entry into the Competition.  Be sure that your Submission:

> Features only drawings, features, content, images, words, phrases or other intellectual property that are either in the public domain or which you have the expressed right to use;

> Does not contain ideas, images or artwork not created by you, the entrant.

Be sure to have permission from any and all individuals that appear in your Submission, that is, if you decide to feature the image of any individual.  If requested, you must be able to provide this permission in a form acceptable to Sponsor.  Submitting your application constitutes your permission to have the Sponsor display, advertise or promote your identity and/or your Submission in marketing materials affiliated with the Competition and/or the Michigan Design Council. Neither Sponsor nor any parties affiliated to the Sponsor will be responsible for lost, late, stolen, delayed or misdirected Submissions; all of which will be void.

6. How Many Entries Can You Submit: You may submit 1 entry into the Competition during the Competition Period.

7. How We Determine Your Identity: In the event of a dispute as to the identify of any Competition registrant, the entrant will be deemed as the authorized account owner of the email address used to register for the Competition.  For the purposes of these Official Rules, the authorized account holder is defined as the individual person assigned an email address by an entity responsible for assigning email addresses, including Internet access providers, Internet service providers and related entities.  If you are selected as a potential winner, you may be required to show proof of being the authorized account holder.

8. How Finalists and Winners Will be Selected: On or around July 1, 2017, a panel of qualified judges will be convened to judge all entries based on the following criteria (the “Judging Criteria”): (Submissions must be a physical product concept. Emphasis should be on the quality of the idea versus the sophistication of the entry / deliverable):

a. Newness in DISCOVERY: The design solution should begin with unique or unusual findings of existing and potential problems.

b. Comprehensiveness in DEFINITION: The design solution should be comprehensive enough to address the findings.

c. Thoroughness in DEVELOPMENT: The design solution should demonstrate a creative and rational process.

d. Level of impact in DELIVERY: The design solution should make a good impact in the community, society, industry, and economy.

Entrants whose Submissions receive the highest scores via application of the Judging Criteria will be deemed the potential Michigan Design Prize finalists and winners. K-12 scholastic and collegiate entrants will be judged in the following categories: K-5; 6-8; 9-12; Collegiate.

9. Finalist and Winner Requirements:  The potential finalists and winners will be notified by email or mail on or around August 1, 2017. At the time of notification, the potential winner will be required to sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability & Publicity Release (the “Affidavit”).  This Affidavit must be signed, notarized and received by the potential winner, and/or legal guardian, within 5 days of the date notice is sent.  If the potential finalist or winner cannot be contacted, or fails to execute and return the Affidavit within the required time period, is found to not comply with these Official Rules, the potential finalist or winner will forfeit the prize and the prize may be awarded to the entrant whose Submission received the second highest score via application of the Judging Criteria.  This process will repeat until the Michigan Design Prize can be awarded.  The Sponsor will use their respective best efforts to award prizes in the October-November 2017 timeframe.

10.  Recognition of Finalists and Winners:

Recognition and awards are non-transferable and no substitution will be made, unless determined otherwise by Sponsor, in their sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize component(s) for 1 of equal or greater value if the designated prize(s) should become unavailable for any reason.

Cheating and Unfair Play:  If Sponsor, in its sole discretion, suspects an entrant has registered or attempted to submit more than 1 Submission by using multiple identities, email addresses, telephone numbers or other forms of contact, then all of entrant’s Submissions will be declared null and void, will be deleted and entrant will be disqualified from submitting further Submissions into the Competition. Notwithstanding the above, Sponsor, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any individual or group Sponsor believes, in its sole discretion, to be tampering with the operation of the Competition, to be acting in violation of these Official Rules and /or to be acting in an unsportsmanlike manner.  Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages to the fullest extent permitted by law from any person who attempts to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Competition.  Failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules does not constitute a waiver of that provision or any of the other terms set forth under these Official Rules.

11.  Entry Ownership and Publicity: All entries submitted into this Competition will remain entrant’s property.  By entering a Submission into this Competition, entrant grants Sponsor a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive and perpetual license to use the Submission or any reproductions of the Submission in any marketing, advertising or communications related to the Michigan Design Prize and Michigan Design Council.  Except where prohibited, participation in the Competition constitutes your consent for Sponsor and/or its agents to use such individuals name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions and/or hometown and state for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide and in perpetuity, without any further payment or consideration.

12. Release: By participating in the Competition, you agree to release and hold harmless the Sponsors, their respective affiliates, and each of their respective parent companies and each such company’s officers, directors, employees and agents (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from and against any and all claims, damages, liabilities, judgments, costs and expenses arising out of participation in the Competition or the award, receipt and/or use of any prize.

13. Limitations of Liability: The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, affiliates third parties, partners or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Competition; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the registration process and/or delivering a Submission process, winner selection process, winner notification process or any other aspect of the Competition; (4) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Competition, the processing of entries, the delivery of Submissions, the notification of potential winners and/or the fulfillment of any prize; (5) late, lost, undeliverable, damaged or stolen mail; or (6) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused from entrant’s participation in the Competition or winner’s receipt and/or use and/or misuse of any prize.  The Released Parties shall not be liable to any entrant, potential winner or any other person for failure to supply a prize, or any part thereof, due to acts of nature; any action, regulation, order or request by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity, regardless of validity; equipment failure; acts of war and acts of terrorism; embargo; labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal); labor or material shortage; transportation interruption of any kind; work slow-down; civil disturbance, insurrection or riot; or any other cause beyond Sponsor’s sole control.  The Released Parties shall not be liable to any entrant, potential winner or any other person for damage to such person’s computer or its contents.

If for any reason your entry is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, your sole remedy is another entry in the Competition, provided it is possible.

14. Disputes: Any and all disputes arising from participation in this Competition and the interpretation, validity and construction of these Official Rules shall be by the laws of the State of Michigan, without regard to the laws and/or jurisdiction of your legal residence. By participating in this Competition, you agree that any and all claims and causes of action arising out of your participation in the Competition is subject to exclusive personal jurisdiction and venue in the state and federal courts of the United States located in the State of Michigan, Wayne County, without regard to conflict of law provisions and without resort to any form of class action.


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