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15 Educators Embark on a Superior Science Expedition

On July 7, fifteen teachers and environmental educators from around the Great Lakes Basin will board the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) research vessel, Lake Guardian, in Duluth, Minn. The educators will spend a week cruising the lake and conducting research alongside scientists while learning about ecological processes and lake systems. Their goal is to integrate current Great Lakes research into their curricula and programs.

"The 2009 Lake Superior Shipboard and Shoreline Science workshop is promising to be exceptional," said Cindy Hagley, Environmental Quality Extension Educator for the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program. "The teachers for this and the Lake Huron expedition were selected out of 87 applicants, and we have an array of talented scientists joining us at various ports to discuss their research. I think the educators aboard the Lake Guardian this week will find the experience memorable and directly applicable to their teaching."

Workshop participants are coming from as far away as Ohio, but Marysue Taallerud will be traveling only a few miles to board the R/V Lake Guardian. Taallerud is a fourth grade teacher at Nettleton Magnet School in Duluth who competed for a workshop space because she wanted to add depth to the unit she already teaches about Lake Superior. "I thought this workshop would be a unique opportunity to get out on the lake and study science with scientists," she said. "My class looks at Lake Superior every day. I want to do the best job I can to give them access to information about how it works and what's in it."

Highlights of the week will include first-hand experiences with Lakes Superior's ecology, geology, geography, weather, and biogeochemical processes. Joel Hoffman, a biologist with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other staff from the EPA Region V office will assist participants as they collect aquatic organisms and analyze water quality. Extension educators from the Wisconsin and Minnesota Sea Grant Programs will facilitate the expedition and help translate the onboard experience into meaningful classroom lessons with an emphasis on human impacts and parallels between Great Lakes and ocean systems.

The planned nautical route follows the North Shore of Lake Superior, crosses to Michigan's Isle Royale, then traverses open water to rendezvous with researchers on the Keweenaw Peninsula. The Guardian will pause in Washburn, Wisc., so that participants can kayak in a coastal wetland with representatives from Northland College before making its way back to the dock in the Duluth-Superior Harbor. Follow the teachers around Lake Superior by accessing the Lake Superior Shipboard and Shoreline Science blog at: http://coseegreatlakes.net/weblog/.

The expedition, Shipboard and Shoreline Science, is supported by the National Science Foundationís Division of Ocean Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Sea Grant Program through the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Great Lakes.

For more information, contact Cindy Hagley, Environmental Quality Extension Educator, at chagley@umn.edu or (218) 726-8713.

Posted on July 1, 2009


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