15 Educators Embark on a Superior Science Expedition

The public can follow the research/educator expedition through several avenues:

On July 20, 15 teachers and environmental educators from around the Great Lakes Basin will board the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) research vessel, Lake Guardian, in Duluth, Minn. Onboard, teachers and scientists will work in around the clock shifts to collect data about aquatic organisms and water quality that will be used to investigate the influence of the landscape on nearshore water quality, focusing on areas surrounding major rivers. At the end of a week plying Lake Superior's waters and investigating the shoreline, the educators will fan back across the Great Lakes region ready to integrate freshwater science into their classrooms and programs.

"The 2011 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. "We have an array of talented scientists joining us onboard and at ports to discuss their research. I think the educators aboard the Lake Guardian this week will find the experience memorable and applicable to their teaching."

The participating educators, some from as far away as New York and others as close as a few miles, were chosen from more than 50 applicants. Duluth's Nettleton Elementary School teacher Jim Olson will be onboard and plans to develop a science unit focusing on the Lake Superior watershed. Fellow Duluthians Jillian Godfrey, an educator at the Great Lakes Aquarium, and Diane Desotelle, a math instructor, will also participate in the expedition.

Joel Hoffman, a biologist with the EPA, and other staff from the EPA will help the educators learn about ecological processes and lake systems. Extension educators from the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Great Lakes and the Minnesota Sea Grant Program will facilitate the expedition and help translate the onboard experience into classroom lessons. The program will also connect with two other science workshops for teachers. Teachers participating in a "Great Lakes Rocks!" workshop at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry will be able to discuss science with the onboard educators via satellite and teachers participating in the first ever workshop at the new Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve will join the crew to collect data in the St. Louis River Estuary.

The Lake Guardian's planned nautical route runs north out of Duluth for a few miles, then heads along Wisconsin's South Shore, around the Apostle Islands, to the Keewenaw Peninsula and back.

People can send questions to the expedition's educators and scientists through the MAILBAG feature on the lakesci11 Web page or through Twitter using the hashtag LakeSci11.

The Shipboard and Shoreline Science Workshop is supported by the EPA and the National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Sea Grant Program through the COSEE Great Lakes, with support from Minnesota Sea Grant.

Posted on July 18, 2011


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