Scientists Assist Informal Educators at Great Lakes Science Center

October 18, 2006

As fall chills the air, summer ’06 seems like a distant dream. But when scientists Jackie Adams and Beth Hinchey Malloy accompanied the R/V Lake Guardian on its Shipboard and Shoreline Science cruise in June, they signaled the start of something great for the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland. Among the educators aboard the floating workshop was Louise Palermo, Manager of Visitor Experience at the Center. Lou used her time among 17 teachers, six scientists, and three Sea Grant educators on board to gather information, resources, and ideas about how to bring more hands-on lake science into visitor experiences. As a workshop follow-up project she developed a plan for using the Cleveland harbor area just outside the Center as a site for Lake Erie learning.

The primary goal of the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) is to foster collaborative relationships between scientists and educators to enhance ocean and Great Lakes literacy. COSEE Great Lakes, the newest of the 10 centers nationally, began working toward this goal with the assistance of USEPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office, which provided vessel and crew time for a June 18-24, 2006, workshop. It was a perfect example of what can happen in modern science education.

On September 27, 2006, Lou invited Jackie and Beth to the Great Lakes Science Center. There they led a water quality monitoring techniques training workshop for Great Lakes Science Center staff and volunteers. Adams and Hinchey Malloy instructed the staff on how to use a secchi disc, measure dissolved oxygen, and collect and identify zooplankton. Palermo’s new programming, inspired by the limnology sampling techniques she first learned aboard the Guardian, will bring hands-on, scientifically sound and protocol rich Great Lakes experiences to thousands of weekend visitors and high school groups who visit the Center each year. COSEE Great Lakes is excited by seeing its scientist-educator collaborations come to reality! Thanks for the great commitment to science education demonstrated by U.S. EPA GLNPO and the Great Lakes Science Center!