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Sea Grant Awarded $2.5 Million to Support Great Lakes and Ocean Sciences Education

Research scientist conducting tests.

A water sample is processed aboard the R/V The Lake Guardian. COSEE will use the ship for teacher onboard learning. Photo: GLERL NOAA

Science education in the Great Lakes region received a significant boost with the announcement of a $2.5 million grant for a regional Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) project. Grade-school students, teachers, and citizens will have new opportunities to explore the Great Lakes and their connection to the world’s oceans. Great Lakes scientists will also have chances to meet educators and the public through this project.

The National Science Foundation and NOAA-National Sea Grant announced funding support in January for COSEE Great Lakes, the eighth center in a nationwide network. Funds will be divided among seven regional Sea Grant programs to support a suite of educational opportunities united under the COSEE framework.

“Public understanding of Great Lakes and ocean sciences is essential to ensure the long term protection and health of these invaluable natural resources,” said principal investigator Don Scavia, director of the Michigan Sea Grant Program. “COSEE Great Lakes will serve as an excellent framework to link science and education for citizens of all ages.”

COSEE Great Lakes is a collaborative effort of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network and includes programs in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois-Indiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Activities planned include lake exploration workshops, tools and educational materials using the Great Lakes Observing System, Great Lakes curriculum enhancement and integration with ocean topics, and interactive learning events linking researchers with educators, students and the public.

A primary objective is to improve communication between researchers and 4-10th grade teachers and students and enhance teacher capabilities for delivering Great Lakes and ocean science education. Over the five-year program, more than 2,000 teachers and 350 researchers throughout the region are expected to take part in COSEE Great Lakes activities and help educate new audiences.

“We’re looking forward to engaging educators, students, and the public in ways that promote a deeper understanding of our freshwater seas and their influence on our quality of life and our national prosperity,” said co-investigator, Rosanne Fortner, education coordinator with Ohio Sea Grant.

In coming months, Sea Grant educators will collaborate with more than 25 partners to coordinate COSEE activities and connect with Great Lakes citizens. In Minnesota, partners include the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Department of Education and the College of Education and Human Service Professions, and Duluth Public Schools.

Minnesota Sea Grant will receive $295,000 for Bruce Munson, head of the UMD Department of Education, and Cynthia Hagley and Nick Zlonis of Minnesota Sea Grant to produce the COSEE Great Lakes project Web site, conduct project activities such as teacher workshops, and develop educational curricula.

The first week-long workshop for 4–10th grade teachers will be held July 29–August 4 along the shores of Lake Superior.

For more information, visit the Great Lakes COSEE Web site.


By Sea Grant Staff
April 2006

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