Quarterly Newsletter for GLEAMS (Great Lakes Educators of Aquatic and Marine Science) and COSEE Great Lakes (Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence)
|Summer 2008||Volume 2, Issue 3|
From the Helm: Rosanne Fortner
Summer is the busiest time for marine educators everywhere! We have our key programs in progress and are tracking participants, funds, partnerships and opportunities in a masterpiece of multi-tasking. On top of all the professional responsibilities that summer brings, it's time for family travel as well. We hope your summer season is magical and memorable, and that you find time for some learning about the world of water. After all, as Loren Eiseley wrote, "If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water" (The Immense Journey, 1957).
Your Water Footprint
While you're making sand footprints this summer, think about your WATER footprint as well. The Water Footprint of an individual is defined as the total water used for the production of the goods and services consumed by the individual. It can be estimated by multiplying all goods and services consumed by their respective virtual-water content (the web site has a calculator). The water footprint of a nation shows the total volume of water that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of the nation. The national water footprint consists of use of domestic water resources and use of water outside the borders of the country. It includes water withdrawn from surface and groundwater and the use of soil water (in agricultural production). A few facts:
- The production of 1 kilogram of beef requires 16,000 liters of water.
- To produce 1 cup of coffee we need 140 liters of water.
- The water footprint of China is about 700 cubic meters per year per capita. Only 7% of the Chinese water footprint falls outside China.
- The USA water footprint is 2500 cubic meters per year per capita.
For all you sailors out there: Through the pitch-black night, the captain sees a light dead ahead on a collision course with his ship. He sends a signal: "Change your course ten degrees east." The light signals back: "Change yours, ten degrees west." Angry, the captain sends: "I'm a Navy captain! Change your course, sir!" I'm a Seaman, 2nd Class," comes the reply. "Change your course, sir." Now the captain is furious. "I'm a battleship! I'm not changing course!" There's one last message. "I'm a lighthouse. Your call." --Anonymous
- July 13 – 19
- Shipboard and Shoreline Science on Lake Ontario aboard the R/V Peter Wise Lake Guardian from Buffalo. COSEE Great Lakes ships out for learning science aboard the U.S. EPA’s 180-foot research vessel. Highlights include passage through the Welland Canal, data collection at EPA water quality sampling stations on Lake Ontario and stops in scientifically important areas along the way. Watch the Weblog to share in the experiences, and plan to apply for the Guardian workshop on Lake Superior or Lake Huron in 2009!
- July 14 – 17
- Realtime Aquatic Data Workshop
- F.T. Stone Laboratory, Put-in-Bay OH
- COSEE Great Lakes and COSEE Coastal Trends join forces to offer an educators’ workshop on how real-time aquatic data are collected and the science they represent. Topics include water circulation, density and stratification, climate change and water levels, nutrients, plankton and chlorophyll, and dead zones. Participants will videoconference through the Lower Lakes Link, sharing Lake Erie data with live connection to the Guardian on Lake Ontario!
- August 2 – 8
- Lake Michigan Exploration Workshop
- Peggy Notebaert Museum and John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago. COSEE Great Lakes takes an in-depth look at Lake Michigan through hands-on learning on the Chicago lakeshore, with field tours to the Great Lakes Water Institute, Milwaukee, and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Follow the Weblog to chart this exciting experience, and plan to apply for the Lake Erie Exploration Workshop in 2009.
- August 9–16
- Tropical Marine Ecology
An 8-day workshop at a tropical reef in Roatan, The Bay Islands, Honduras, Central America led by New York Sea Grant, COSEE's New York leader Helen Domske, and the Aquarium of Niagara. Tune in to the blog to keep up with this active group!
- Great Lakes Regional Calendar
- Organizations working for the lakes post their events at the link above.
- Former GLEAMS President moves to Zoo
- After more than 10 years at the Shedd Aquarium, former GLEAMS president and current COSEE Advisor Rachel Bergren has taken a new position as the Vice President of Education at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo! We wish her the best in this exciting new role, and she in turn has wished us all "best fishes and a zoo-tiful day!"
- Come to Savannah for NMEA!
- One World, One Water is the theme of the National Marine Educators Association annual conference being held in Savannah, Georgia, July 21-25. NMEA members work proactively to improve ocean literacy everywhere, and their conference is packed with science and ideas for teaching, not to mention the great people who come there to network with others who love the seas and Great Lakes. GLEAMS is one of 17 regional chapters of the organization, and there's plenty for GL people to learn and do with NMEA! In 2012 GLEAMS will host this conference!
COSEE Great Lakes News
This season's professional development workshops are full now, with 40 participants selected from 75 excellent applicants. Watch the COSEE Great Lakes web site for blogs posted by participants, and don’t miss your chance to join us for Great Lakes learning in unique topics and settings next summer! No two years or events are the same as we develop opportunities on each lake and for each Great Lakes state. Application forms are usually posted in January for summer events, but there are shorter workshops and student opportunities throughout the year. Bookmark http://coseegreatlakes.net so you don't miss deadlines!
Great Lakes Student Summit 2008
COSEE Great Lakes helped help sponsor the seventh biennial Great Lakes Student Summit, which brought over 260 students, volunteers and teachers together in Buffalo, New York, on May 14-15, 2008. The “student-scientists” came from New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada, to learn about the Great Lakes and share their research and environmental concerns. The theme for 2008, “Recycle, Recover, Restore,” encouraged these “student-scientists” to look at restoration and recovery efforts around the Great Lakes, embrace recycling programs and take other steps to preserve valuable natural resources. Following the COSEE Great Lakes goal of linking educators and students with working scientists, the GLSS featured interactions with biologists, geologists and ecologists through workshops and tours of the Buffalo Museum of Science.
The most memorable outcome of the summit was the creation and delivery of their Statement of Stewardship or “S.O.S.” which was officially presented by students to a panel of representatives from local, state and U.S. and Canadian federal governments. When the closing ceremony was over, many students joined in a beach clean-up, demonstrating their stewardship efforts for the Great Lakes. Teachers, event organizers and government representatives left knowing that the next generation is prepared to take over where they leave off and will continue to work to keep the lakes GREAT! [Photo by Gail Hall] Read the complete story
- New IMAX provides a Teachable Moment
- The Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland hosted a one-day “teachable moment” workshop for 17 educators on May 16. Entitled “Mysteries of the Great Lakes,” the event provided teachers with an advance viewing of a new IMAX program by that name, created by Science North in Ontario. The film depicts the dramatic journey of spawning Lake Sturgeon while telling the story of the human and natural history of the lakes.
A major goal of COSEE Great Lakes is to connect educators with scientists, and US Fish and Wildlife researcher Jim McFee from the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office joined the workshop to bring that research perspective. McFee shared data on the Lake Sturgeon’s life cycle, management strategies and populations. His participation with the teachers throughout the workshop resulted in some new opportunities for collaboration, especially as the Great Lakes Science Center prepares for public opening of the film in July.
Read more about the program in the summer issue of Ohio Sea Grant’s Twine Line newsletter, and check the informal education facilities in your area for other “Mysteries” venues.
- O’LAKERS on the S/V Denis Sullivan
- Each of the Great Lakes states has COSEE funds for student activities related to lake/ocean science through a program called O’LAKERS [Ocean/Lake-Aware Kids Engaged in Relevant Science]. In mid-May two groups of Cleveland area students came with their classes to learn aboard the S/V Denis Sullivan, Wisconsin’s flagship and teaching vessel for Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin. The Sullivan stopped over on its way upbound [inland from the sea] from winter education programs in Florida.
On a chilly May morning, 4th and 6th grade students from Empire CompuTech school in Cleveland headed for the Sullivan. They began their “Dockside Discovery” program with an exploration of the parts of the ship above and below deck. Dividing into teams, they delved into the science, geography, and navigation lessons of the day. While one group learned about Lake Erie water quality, another learned how charts and instruments help the ship get through the lakes. Everybody got to do all the stations as they rotated through the program; letters afterward said the most exciting lessons were about knot tying and raising the staysail.
The next day, 8th graders from South Euclid/Lyndhurst Schools came for a three-hour on-the-water LakeWatch Expedition. The 32 students got first hand experience with what the Sullivan’s crew faces as they carry out their navigation and science tasks while they sail on rough seas. It was indeed a rough sailing day! This group raised sails too, and sailed with them! Students collected, recorded and analyzed data samples to deepen their understanding of the interrelationships between living and nonliving components of the Lake ecosystem.
A program like this with science, history, math and technology is an outstanding supplement to classroom lessons, bringing the Great Lakes alive through personal experience. Many thanks to the educators and crew of the Sullivan for their partnership in Great Lakes education! If you have an idea for engaging your own Great Lakes students in the science of the lakes, contact your state’s COSEE educator.
- Education Aquanauts collaborate with COSEE
- Drs. Russell Cuhel and Carmen Aguilar, scientists at the Great Lakes WATER Institute in Milwaukee, have been awarded an NSF grant to work with COSEE Great Lakes! Their educator enhancement program is designed to provide exciting, immersion science learning and resource exposure for teachers of middle and high school students and informal science educators. Specific objectives are: (1) expand educator awareness of exotic species occurrence and activities in local waters as a means for introducing larger topics of aquatic ecosystem processes; (2) engage educators in 1-week, intense hands-on workshops using modern-day tools both aboard a research vessel and in the laboratory to test specific hypotheses; and (3) assist the COSEE Great Lakes in providing educators with resources to access current environmental research activities and results in their own region and nationally.
Proposed workshops over three years will involve secondary teachers in learning about Lake Michigan ecosystem components, mapping and navigation, and sampling. A day on the RV Neeskay will allow participants to sample a nearby reef ecosystem using traditional and remotely operated vehicle technologies. The "Let's Go On A Cruise!" website will be enhanced with new material and linked to COSEE. We are excited to welcome these valued colleagues into partnership! Dr. Aguilar has been on our Advisory Committee since 2005, and we look forward to working with her team for even greater Great Lakes education!
- COSEE O’LAKERS funds
- Each of the GL states has funds to support some programs for students to interact with Great Lakes science as Ocean/Lake-Aware Kids Engaged in Relevant Science [O’LAKERS]. Contact your state COSEE leader for information on how to apply.
- Ocean in Focus Conservation Photography Contest
- The Marine Photobank and Project AWARE Foundation invite you to participate in the Ocean in Focus Conservation Photography Contest. Submit your compelling photos that engage viewers in pressing marine issues and solutions that address the rapid decline of our ocean's health. Contest runs through September 30, 2008. Grand prize package (worth more than $2,000) includes 7 nights accomodations at the Plaza Resort Bonaire in the south Caribbean with six days of unlimited shore diving for two, Tuesday night beach BBQ and round-trip airport transfers. Other prizes are $250 Gift Certificate to Backscatter Underwater Video and Photo; Signed copy of "Wild Ocean" by authors Sylvia A. Earle and Wolcott Henry; 16 tons of Carbon Offsets through NativeEnergy for your home and car for one year, plus carbon offsets for one round-trip air flight, worth $192.
Great Lakes News
- Great Lakes Compact goes to Congress!
- In December 2005, following a nearly five-year negotiation, the Governors of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania reached agreement on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. Finally in July 2008, all the state legislatures have approved the Compact, the Governors have signed it, and the document moves to Congress for ratification! The Compact provides a comprehensive management framework for achieving sustainable water use and resource protection. The eight Great Lakes States reached a similar, good faith, agreement with Ontario and Québec in 2005, which the Provinces are using to amend their existing water programs for greater regional consistency. The interstate Compact legislation includes the following points:
• Economic development will be fostered through the sustainable use and responsible management of Basin waters.
• The States will ensure that authority over Great Lakes water uses is retained in the region.
• Regional goals and objectives for water conservation and efficiency will be developed, and they will be reviewed every five years. Each State will develop and implement a water conservation and efficiency program.
• The collection of technical data will be strengthened, and the States will share comparable information, which will improve decision-making by the governments.
• There is a strong commitment to continued public involvement in the implementation of the Compact.
According to Sharon Cook of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, The compact is an answer to thirsty interests that seek to tap Great Lakes water -- including its groundwater, inland lakes and rivers -- from as far away as Asia. The Great Lakes governors began considering new water protections a decade ago after a proposal to ship Great Lakes water to Asia in tankers gained preliminary approval, permission later rescinded in the face of mounting criticism. The compact provides a model for a standardized, consensus-based approach to decisions about Great Lakes water use, with the idea that care and protection of the world’s largest system of freshwater lakes – home to fully 20 percent of the world’s surface freshwater -- starts at home. Diversions of Great Lakes water to places outside the vast watershed are banned, with limited exceptions, and are further discouraged by requiring that water removed from the basin must be returned to it.
- Edible Asian Bighead Carp!
- Bighead and silver carp are non-native fishes that have invaded the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including the Illinois River. An electric barrier stands between them and the Great Lakes. “Asian carp have the potential to have dramatic impact on the Great Lakes fish populations because they are filter feeders. They eat plankton, which are the base of the food chain, and they can grow very large,” said Pat Charlebois, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) aquatic invasives specialist. Watch a video at YouTube to see how big the problem is. Apparently one way to do your part to help stop the spread of Asian carp into new lakes and streams is to catch and eat them! In May, the Bass Pro Shop in Bolingbrook, IL, taught how to filet bighead and silver carp and served samples of cooked filets. “Bighead and silver carp have excellent quality flesh, similar to cod, but they have bones in their filets, which create problems when eating the fish,” said Duane Chapman, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) fish biologist. To view or download an Asian carp watch card, visit the IISG web site.--from GLIN-Announce, 5/8/08
- Great Lakes Coal and Iron Ore Trade Up
- According to the Lake Carriers Association, coal shipments on the Great Lakes in spring were up 27% and iron ore was up about 3% compared to a year ago. Strong demand for coal loaded at Lake Erie ports destined for Canadian customers spurred the increase. Despite higher lake levels, lightloading [carrying less than the ship's capacity] is a serious issue, as dredging is required in the locks and connecting channels but is stalled by federal funding cuts. The largest coal cargo loaded in March totaled only 58,944 net tons, while a 1,000-foot-long ship carried nearly 71,000 tons in a single trip in the past. Iron ore vessels are running at about 91% capacity. As for other cargo, Limestone got a late start because of a hard winter and was down about 3% in spring. Much of the limestone has to be rinsed before loading, so warmer weather is required. The Earth system, whether with weather or sediments, definitely impacts Great Lakes shipping!
- Climate Change initiatives in Wisconsin and Michigan
- A new statewide project will assess the potential consequences of climate change for Wisconsin’s ecosystems, industries, farms and human health and will recommend adaptation strategies. The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) will organize teams of experts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, state agencies and other institutions to consider how local and regional shifts in temperature, precipitation and extreme weather could affect key components of the state’s quality of life.
As reported in GLIN-Announce, Michigan State University has held two recent conferences on “Climate Change in the Great Lakes: Decision Making Under Uncertainty,” with diverse attendees including researchers, decision makers, educators, activists, businesspeople, and citizens. During the conferences, participants identified key messages for decision makers: areas where there is consensus or at least very broad agreement. These key messages relate to (a) effects of climate change in the region, (b) ways of making climate-related decisions given uncertainty, (c) research needs, and (d) prescriptions for action. Get the report summarizing them or find more information -- including conference presentations
- "Blueway" Vision for Detroit American Heritage River
- Michigan Sea Grant was instrumental in developing plans for the Detroit Heritage River Water Trail. The trail (or "blueway") is a river version of a greenway trail and will provide opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and small boat paddling. The regional vision for the Detroit Heritage River Water Trail is a network of recreational trails along the Detroit, Huron, Raisin and Rouge Rivers to encourage boaters with small watercraft to recreate and experience the natural, cultural and historic resources offered along these routes. The first phase of the water trail centers on the mouth of the Huron River as it flows into the southernmost reaches of the Detroit. It was selected based upon the abundant natural beauty of the area, the wide diversity of paddling experiences found along the way, and the strong interest of communities and partners in moving forward. This phase is expected to serve as a demonstration project for subsequent phases of the water trail.
- The passing of Jack Vallentyne
- Dr. Jack Vallentyne, a.k.a. "Johnny Biosphere," died of colon cancer on June 16. He was known internationally for his anti-eutrophication and phosphorus reduction campaigns in the late 1960s and '70s. He had great influence on revisions of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement through a focus on an "ecosystem approach" emphasizing the need to think holistically about issues and approaches. In the words of M. Munawar, editor of Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management, "Dr. Valentyne has left a rich legacy with far reaching implications for the improvement of ecosystem and human health. The biosphere will miss 'Johnny' greatly." His website lives on, with stories for the future.
- Sea level, temperature exceed estimate
- In the June 19 Nature, Lawrence Livermore Lab research reported that ocean temperature and associated sea level increases between 1961 and 2003 were 50 percent larger than estimated in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. Improved observations show sea levels rose by 1.5 millimeters per year in the period from 1961-2003, or approximately a 2.5-inch increase in ocean levels in a 42-year span. The ocean warming and thermal expansion rates are more than 50 percent larger than previous estimates for the upper 300 meters of oceans.
- Whales and Sonar Update
- Background: In January, "U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ordered the Navy to put safeguards in place during sonar maneuvers to protect marine mammals from needless injury and death. The precautions included a ban on mid-frequency sonar within 12 miles of the California coast -- a zone that is heavily used by migrating whales and dolphins -- and between the Channel Islands where Navy maneuvers were scheduled. The Navy itself estimates that the booming sonar would harass or harm marine mammals some 170,000 times and cause permanent injury in more than 400 cases. Shortly after that ruling, President Bush issued an ‘emergency’ waiver, attempting to override the court's order. On February 4, however, Judge Cooper called the Navy's so-called emergency ‘a creature of its own making,’ and reaffirmed that the military can train effectively without needlessly harming whales." The ban remained in place.
Update: [NY Times editorial, July 2, 2008] The Supreme Court has now agreed to address this issue. "The justices will not try to determine the extent of harm but rather the balance of power between the executive branch and the courts in resolving such issues. The top court will have to decide whether the military and the White House should be granted great deference when they declare that national security trumps environmental protection or whether the courts have a role in second-guessing military judgments and claims of fact." Stay tuned.
- Overfishing dangerous to 80% of stocks
- [From ENN, 5/26/08]: A new report released by Oceana concludes that more than 80% of the world's fisheries cannot withstand increased fishing activity. Based on data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 58% of the world's fish stocks are being fished at or beyond sustainable levels, 24% of the stocks have an unknown status and only 17% are considered underexploited or moderately exploited. Too Few Fish highlights the essential need for limitations on global fisheries subsidies. These subsidies are estimated to be at least $20 billion annually, an amount equal to approximately 25 percent of the value of the world catch. Fisheries subsidies create strong economic incentives to overfish and undermine good fishery management. The scope and magnitude of these subsidies is so great that reducing them is the single greatest action that can be taken to protect the world's oceans. As of June 2, the World Trade Organization was reviewing rules about subsidies.
- 2007 Coastal Cleanup results
- In mid-April the Ocean Conservancy released its report on the results of the 2007 International Coastal Cleanup. Six million pounds of trash were collected by 378,000 people from 76 countries. The report is a global snapshot of the harmful impact of trash that pollutes our water with a hopeful message of the commitment that hundreds of thousands of people across the globe share to start a sea change for the health of our ocean. For the full report and information on the 2008 cleanup, please visit http://www.oceanconservancy.org/icc
Resources for Teaching: Great Lakes
- Lake Erie Shipwreck website
- Lake Erie claims more shipwrecks than any other Great Lake: 1700! Ohio Sea Grant has launched a new interactive website, Shipwrecks and Maritime Tales of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail. The website was designed to help promote the protection of Lake Erie’s shipwrecks and increase awareness of the lake's rich maritime history.
- Activity: Saving Sturgeon
- One of the curriculum activities on the Bridge for Marine Education introduces the history of Atlantic Sturgeon populations [not the same species as Lake Sturgeon] and invites inquiry into the kinds of factors impacting today's population of this unique fish. Types of fishing gear are compared with rates of sturgeon entanglement. The activity can be done with an Excel database or the hard-copy tables provided.
- Inland Seas movie
- The goal of this movie is to provide an overview of the concepts of surface and groundwater watersheds and the concept of water diversions. The movie relates these issues to the Great Lakes Compact Agreement and presents ideas on how individuals can make an impact on water use and the policies surrounding water protections. Watch the trailer on YouTube. The film is a collaboration between scientist Rebecca Klaper and the filmmaker Matt Radcliff. Funding was provided by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, UWM Great Lakes WATER Institute and Paignton Pictures.
Resources for Teaching: Marine
- Garbage Island
- If you can make it through the fiber commercial in advance, this short (5:12") movie from CNN is a good one about ocean gyres. Eric Lanford talks with Thomas Morton about island-sized piles of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean.
- WeirdFins is a NOAA Fisheries Service website and weekly podcast about strange or bizarre creatures that inhabit the sea. Each podcast is only two minutes long and is packed with interesting information. The website also invites visitors that have heard of or seen a weird sea creature that they would like to see featured, to contact WeirdFins. The website includes a text of the podcast in addition to the audio. Note: some of the links may not work properly at the moment, but this website is worth looking at even before it’s perfected.
- Voyage of the Lonely Turtle
- PBS/Nature aired the program, Voyage of the Lonely Turtle, based on one Loggerhead turtle’s 9000 mile trip across the Pacific. The website offers information about turtle anatomy, navigation, a link to an interactive game, lesson plans, and more.
- IYOR Public Service Announcements
- The International Year of the Reef 2008 is a worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and threats to their sustainability, and to motivate people to take action to protect them. NOAA and its many partners have supported the production and distribution of a series of 30 second TV public service announcements and a united messaging campaign to educate the US public concerning ocean-coral reef and coastal environmental education. Five PSAs and five print-ready downloadable ads (click the link to IYORcreative) are available.
- World Water Monitoring Day
- World Water Monitoring Day is September 18, 2008. The event offers communities around the world a chance to positively impact the health of rivers, lakes, estuaries, and other waterbodies. Register your activities on this website or check out links to some of the information and monitoring going on in your area. Check out the water monitoring kits available through the website.
- Once Upon a Tide
- Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School has produced a short educational film, Once Upon a Tide. It is a 10" program designed for the public visiting aquaria and marine parks, and the message is that all life on earth depends on the ocean. The website offers the downloadable film, along with some links to complementary lesson plans and more.
- Marine Photobank
- The photobank, a program of SeaWeb, provides beautiful and powerful images of many things marine. All of the imagery is available for free for non-commerial purposes and for media use.