Navigating the Newsletter

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Great Lakes/Marine Education Calendar
Organization News:

  • New BRIDGE
  • Apply for Mini-grants
COSEE Great Lakes
  • Curriculum with GLOS and Google Earth
  • Realtime aquatic data workshop
  • New O'LAKERS
  • Knippenberg Award for student action
  • GL teachers to other workshops
  • Shedd Workshops on demand
  • Online workshop on climate change
  • Virtual fieldtrip to Extreme Environment
  • Earthwatch fellowships
  • COSEE O’LAKERS funds
Great Lakes News
  • Great Lakes Compact
  • Lake Huron sinkholes
  • Climate change in GL
  • New Zealand Mud snail
  • NOS coordinator named for GL
Marine News
  • Sanctuaries remember 9/11
  • Jellyfish signal ocean decline
  • Encyclopedia of Earth
Resources for Great Lakes Education Resources for Marine Education
  • Roatan poem
  • Katrina simulation
  • Climate Time Machine
  • Great Whales
  • Realtime data on the Bridge
  • NOAA RTD activities
  • Web portal for Gulf storm information

Past Newsletters

Volume 2, Issue 4
Autumn 2008
Volume 2, Issue 3
Summer 2008
Volume 2, Issue 2
Spring 2008
Volume 2, Issue 1
Winter 2008
Volume 1, Issue 4
Autumn 2007
Volume 1, Issue 3
June 2007
Volume 1, Issue 2
February 2007
Volume 1, Issue 1
November 2006

Quarterly Newsletter for GLEAMS (Great Lakes Educators of Aquatic and Marine Science) and COSEE Great Lakes (Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence)

Autumn 2008 Volume 2, Issue 4

ships wheelFrom the Helm: Rosanne Fortner

What a fantastic year it has been for Great Lakes education! In the past 9 months, COSEE Great Lakes connected about 40 scientists with 350 educators and 11 student groups, and assisted with development of a new informal education program on Lake Erie. You’ve read the news and web stories along the way, but here’s a summary with links to stories we have online. Briefly, COSEE:

  • engaged K-16 teachers, scientists, state agency personnel and undergraduate students in an online geoscience workshop,
  • held an exciting Lake Michigan Education Workshop in Chicago,
  • conducted a weeklong workshop aboard the R/V Peter Wise Lake Guardian in Lake Ontario,
  • assisted educators with scholarships in Tropical Marine Ecology and in Great Lakes courses at Michigan Tech,
  • developed some lessons using the Great Lakes Observing System and Google Earth,
  • provided support for students, including inner city and Native American groups, to learn marine and Great Lakes science in settings outside the school, and
  • brought in teachers to diagnose scientists’ outreach needs in an Educators’ House Call at Ohio State.

In addition to those internal events, COSEE Great Lakes co-produced a “Real Time Aquatic Data for Science Teaching” workshop with COSEE Coastal Trends [from Maryland], and gained a new collaborator through an NSF program at the University of Wisconsin’s WATER Institute. We saw our mailing list, combined with that of GLEAMS, grow to more than 1000 people! Our concept mapping activities in workshops are bringing new insights about how educators build content knowledge through COSEE programs.

We hope you are gaining from association with GLEAMS and COSEE as much as we gain from serving you. Toward the end of this year we’ll send you a link to a survey about the newsletter, so we can be sure we are responding to your needs and not cluttering your already busy days. Until that feedback method is announced, feel free to send your ideas to or

Great Lakes/Marine Education Calendar: Summer 2008

October 15-16
COSEE Great Lakes Advisory Committee meets at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland. COSEE staff remains until noon on Oct. 17 for planning retreat. By invitation.
October 16 and Nov. 20
Shedd Aquarium workshops for k-8 teachers: Field trip basics and curriculum connections. Learn the most important strategies for planning a focused and successful field trip to the aquarium. During the workshop participants will practice creating a pre-trip lesson plan and an activity for during the field trip, then create a post trip lesson as a group. 5-8 pm, Free. Available credit: 3 CPDUs. Register through
October 31
Registration deadline for classrooms around the globe to participate in "Extreme 2008: A Deep-Sea Adventure," an exciting virtual field trip to the ocean’s depths presented by the University of Delaware with support from the National Science Foundation. Registrations accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Scientists from 5 states and 3 countries will travel to underwater geysers in the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortés to study microorganisms that thrive in these extreme environments of scalding heat, high pressure, toxic chemicals and darkness.
November 7
Teacher workshop on 50 year celebration of wolf-moose research on Isle Royale; cosponsored by COSEE. 9 am - 2:30 pm. Contact MN Sea Grant 218-726-8106 to register for this workshop.
November 5-19
Online public review of Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence, open to educators, ocean & learning scientists, & educational researchers on the virtual campus of the College of Exploration. If you want to join the review, or want more information, contact Lynn Tran.
Nov. 15, 2008; 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Follow up workshop on April 19, 2009
NOAA Learning Ocean Science through Ocean Exploration. From bioluminescent corals to deep-vent worms, from tropical underwater volcanoes to the Arctic Ocean floor, we know more about the moon than we do about our ocean. Join NOAA Ocean Exploration facilitator Stacia Fletcher at the Shedd Aquarium as you do inquiry- and standards-based activities tied directly to ocean expeditions. Educators who attend, in full, both the introductory and the follow-up workshops will receive a $100 stipend. The registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 31, 2008.
January 15, 2009
Children's Painting Competition
The United Nations Environment Programme's International Children's Painting Competition invites children (ages 5-13) to submit paintings on the theme "Climate Change: Our Challenge," focusing on a particular environmental issue and how this issue affects their community.
February 9, 2009
Armada Project deadline
The University of Rhode Island's Office of Marine Programs is now accepting applications for the ARMADA Project- Research and Mentoring Experiences for Teachers.  The ARMADA Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides K-12 teachers an opportunity to actively participate in ocean, polar, and environmental science research and peer mentoring.
Other partner programs described in Opportunities section
Great Lakes Regional Calendar
Organizations working for the lakes post their events at the link above.



A new view from the Bridge
The Bridge for marine education celebrated its tenth birthday by revamping the look of the website. Unveiled at this year's NMEA conference, complete with birthday cake and celebration, the Bridge remains the educators' choice for ocean science resources, with over 1000 teacher-reviewed websites and easy-to-use navigation. Now it features even more user-friendly utilities and a beautiful, updated look. Ocean science educators will find dynamic resource pages, a more powerful search engine, and mouse-over navigation menu. The Bridge was originally unveiled at the 1998 NMEA conference in Puerto Rico. The Bridge thanks all of the educators and scientists who have used and contributed to the online ocean science resource over the years.
GLEAMS Mini-grants for Members
The Great Lakes Educators of Aquatic and Marine Science (GLEAMS) is pleased to offer a mini-grant program to its members. This grant will allow teachers in the Great Lakes region added opportunities to purchase teaching supplies, take field trips, and attend in-service or training programs, which promote learning opportunities in aquatic and/or marine education. The activity must be hands-on and related to the Great Lakes, and should involve numerous students. We wish to provide mini-grants to teachers who are conducting activities that create an awareness/appreciation for the aquatic and marine sciences and that incorporate a variety of science process skills. You may request up to $200.00. Applications must be postmarked no later than November 3, 2008. Contact Robin Goettel for application/information.


COSEE Great Lakes News

This year's professional development workshops offered excellent opportunities for scientists to connect with educators and student groups. Here are a few highlights that occurred after our July newsletter.

Curriculum Development with Google Earth and GLOS
Five science teachers in grades 4-12 had the opportunity to work with Dr. David Hart and his high school son Noah from Madison, WI, in a special Stone Laboratory course last summer. The Harts are the developers of the Paddle-to-the-Sea Google Earth program, and they shared tips and tricks of what this exciting software can do for Great Lakes education. There was far more to learn than we could fit into the week's schedule, so most of us, and two teachers in a later Realtime Data workshop, have continued to work on our products. We're posting them on Sandusky teacher Pat Kania's Earthquests web site as we complete them [click on Science Earthquests at the top of his home page], so stay tuned for interesting new materials to be coming soon!

The Great Lakes Observing System of buoys and satellite information is also providing new information for Great Lakes studies. Steve Stewart and Nikki Koehler from Michigan Sea Grant/COSEE have produced draft curriculum activities. One on Dead Zones is attached to this issue for you to try! They would appreciate your feedback. Materials are being pilot tested this fall in Michigan schools. Watch for notice of full availability by next spring.
teachers use computers to study OOS
Real Time Aquatic Data for Science Teaching
COSEE Coastal Trends collaborated with COSEE Great Lakes to present a 4-day workshop at Stone Laboratory to introduce ocean observing systems and visualization tools for ocean/lake processes. Teachers representing five states learned how to access and develop lessons around buoy data, and to demonstrate density stratification and surface circulation in innovative ways.
O'LAKERS student group support has reached new audiences.
Each state in COSEE Great Lakes has funds for support of student experiences. Applications are available from the state COSEE staff. Here are some of the late summer O'LAKERS events.

In Cleveland, the Great Lakes Science Center worked with partners in the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Center Association, which provides human services and education to families and children of some of Cleveland's poorest neighborhoods. Through COSEE funding, 100 inner city children saw the IMAX film, Mysteries of the Great Lakes, and did dockside activities in a week of Great Lakes Adventure.

"yukk factor" in benthic study In Erie, PA, middle school students from the gifted programs at Fort LeBoeuf and Shenango Valley schools sailed aboard the S/V Denis Sullivan when it docked on its way south to its winter programs in Florida. The half-day Lakewatch Expedition cruise involved students in water quality testing, studies of life in Lake Erie, and lessons in navigation and seamanship aboard the schooner.

Native American students in grades 7-12 from the Fond du Lac Ojibway school visited the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth. They participated in a Lake Laboratory and Behind-the-Scenes tour focusing on science skills and education needed for operation of such a facility.

Application forms are usually posted in January for summer events, but these student opportunities are available throughout the year. Bookmark so you don't miss deadlines for yourself and chances for your students' Great Lakes education!
Lindsay Knippenberg's Environmental Club wins award
A SEAWORLD/BUSCH GARDENS ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AWARD has gone to a COSEE teacher from the Lake Michigan Exploration Workshop! Lindsay Knippenberg's students started a Lake Safe Fertilizers Sticker Project in 2005 in the city of St. Clair Shores with the help of the town's Waterfront Advisory Committee. The project is based on the idea that fertilizers running into the lake can enrich algae growth and contribute to water quality problems. "There are several brands of fertilizers that contain slow-releasing nitrogen, low levels of phosphorus, and very few pesticides that are lake-safe and effective. We felt that if consumers were educated about the positive impact of these fertilizers, then they would buy them. In a consumer driven market, if the consumer wants lake-safe fertilizers, then more retailers would carry the products. That in turn would mean less fertilizer in the lake and less algae." Six local businesses originally agreed to label their lake-safe fertilizers with bright green stickers indicating that they were safe to use near the lake. The project has now grown to include over 25 businesses across the entire county.

The Nature Conservancy is proud to support the South Lake High School Environmental Club for their collaborative approach to freshwater conservation for the Lake St. Clair watershed. They congratulate South Lake for bringing partners together such as county government, local and statewide businesses and consumers to solve conservation issues and raise awareness.
Great Lakes teachers visit other workshops
"Sometimes you just get lucky!" says Ohio teacher John Taylor-Lehman. John was selected as a participant in COSEE Ocean Systems' ”Teaching Science by Ocean Inquiry,” a summer workshop hosted by the University of Maine at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine. He reports that the week of physical oceanography labs, taught in inquiry mode with scientists in the lead, provided amazing depth of subject matter as well as excellent pedagogical training.

Randall Colton from Wisconsin went to a COSEE Southeast workshop in Jacksonville, FL, as our regional representative. "Ocean Impacts and Human Activities: Using Real Time Data for Inquiry Learning" helped teachers experience and develop new strategies to use real time information about the ocean--waves, currents and winds. Randy says, "I am grateful that I had the opportunity to learn about southeast marine environments, to learn from marine specialists there, and to mix with teachers in the region. It was great to be in the workshop with fossilhound Kathy, the COSEE SE exchange teacher who came to the Lake Huron program."

Wisconsin teacher Tim Sweet used a Marine Immersion scholarship to attend the GL Maritime Tranportation Teacher Institute this summer. The group toured the Duluth-Superior Harbor, Hibbing Taconite, the Fraser Shipyards; boarded a 1,000-foot vessel as it was being loaded with coal at Midwest Energy, and learned about ballast water treatment studies at the University of Wisconsin – Superior. Tim has created an 8-minute YouTube video to chronicle the field portion of the class.


Shedd Aquarium Workshops on Demand
Shedd is taking teacher programs out of the aquarium and into the schools! Come to Shedd or they’ll come to you, whichever works best for your group. Any of these two hour workshops can be taken with 10-25 participants. The cost of $25 per teacher includes curriculum and support materials. Check the website for program descriptions and registration information, or call 312-692-3165 with questions. Reservations must be made three weeks in advance. Topics with marine/aquatic themes are
  • Inquiry and the Aquarium [pre-K to grade 3]
  • Great Lakes in My World [K-8]
  • Learning to See: Scientific Sketching and Journaling [K-12]
Online Workshop on "Weather, Sea Level Rise and Climate Change"
COSEE West offers this free workshop through the College of Exploration. Three science presentations and opportunities for interaction from November 3-23. Enrollment opens October 20. Graduate credit available from Cal State Fullerton for a small fee.
Earthwatch Fellowships
Earthwatch fellowships allow teachers and students to get out of the classroom and into the field.  Fellows learn about cutting edge research and conservation efforts, develop professional skills, and make a difference for our shared environment. Many projects are in marine environments: fur seal census in the Pribilof Islands, for example. Project descriptions, applications and deadlines are on the web now.
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.

Great Lakes News

Great Lakes Compact approved!
President Bush has signed a joint resolution of Congress providing consent to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.  The President’s action marks the final step in the Compact’s approval process thus enabling these historic protections to become law. For details of the Compact, see the Summer 2008 newsletter.
Lake Huron Sinkholes
We hope you didn't miss the live video broadcasts from the remarkable sinkholes in Lake Huron. Dr. Bopi Bidanda, who took the Lake Huron Exploration Workshop participants on a visit to sinkholes in 2007, was one of the spokespeople for the NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary broadcast in September. For information on the sinkholes and NOAA research in progress, visit the NOAA Research site.
Climate change in the Great Lakes
Great Lakes United reports that the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative has released a projection of how the shoreline of the Lakes will change with the water level drops predicted for climate change. Their graphic is worthy of your bulletin board! Look for the Western Basin of Lake Erie to become dry land [think-- Toledo, 75 km from the shore], and the southwestern end of Lake Michigan would have retreated 25 kilometres away from Chicago and Calumet Harbour.

Michigan Sea Grant held a workshop on climate change in the lakes in June to consider potential policy changes and practices that will likely be needed for communities and ecosystems to adapt to climate change in the Great Lakes region, and to identify strategies for implementing those changes. General consensus was that priority issues could be addressed by adopting or revising policies in several areas including water conservation and efficiency; wetland restoration; land use planning and community development; and State fiscal policy.

"Although these issues are not new, climate change will likely exacerbate them and push them to the forefront of the policy arena," said Michigan Sea Grant Director and COSEE PI Don Scavia. Participants agreed that addressing these key issues in the context of watershed planning and community–based assessment would have the most impact on restoring and promoting ecosystem resiliency, and thus preparing for additional climate-induced stress. We are all stakeholders in the climate change issue!
Dime and mud snails
Another invasive species: New Zealand Mud Snail
Researchers at the Lake Michigan Biological Station (LMBS) discovered a population of New Zealand mud snails this summer while processing a sample from Lake Michigan --one of the first reported sightings of this species in the lake. Native to New Zealand, the mud snails are an invasive species in North America, Europe, and Australia. They were first spotted in the United States in 1987, and were found established in Lake Ontario in 1991 -- the first occurrence of the species in the Great Lakes. New Zealand mud snails can reproduce asexually and have no natural predators in the United States. Although trout have been readily eating them in Western rivers, the mud snails can be too numerous for predation alone to eliminate them. Since the mud snails are only up to 5 mm in length--anglers and boaters will not have much luck spotting them. Instead, they need to be vigilant about performing important practices such as draining water from the boat, removing plants and mud from equipment, and rinsing gear. [Photo from USGS/Florida Caribbean Science Center]
NOAA Regional Coordinator for NOS
GLIN reports that in July of 2008, NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) placed Heather Stirratt as the new NOS Great Lakes regional coordinator. Part of NOAA, NOS delivers a dynamic range of nation-wide coastal and Great Lakes scientific, technical, and resource management services in support of safe, healthy and productive oceans and coasts. Ms. Stirratt has worked with NOAA for almost 10 years. She has experience working for the National Marine Fisheries Service as a Fisheries Management Specialist and with NOS as Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator. The Assistant Administrator for NOS, John H. Dunnigan, recently stated that, "We know that our mission in the Great Lakes is extensive across NOS programs. We are pleased to offer Great Lake constituents a new way of interacting with us."

Marine News

National Marine Sanctuaries remember 9/11
NOAA's marine sanctuaries had a special loss on 9/11 -- the children, teachers, and National Geographic staff that perished in the aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon.  They were on their way to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary to participate in a student/teacher field study. As their way to fight the ignorance and misunderstanding that fuels these outcomes, the NMSP is developing a new program, "Oceans for Life," modeled after the program that the children lost on 9/11 never got to experience. Agency spokesman Dan Basta says, "Oceans for Life will bring together children from the Middle East and the U.S. in a common learning experience in National Marine Sanctuaries.  They will learn about marine science, conservation, and how the oceans connect us all. They will learn about each other and that will help us all to overcome our collective ignorance and misunderstanding.  It starts with the young minds and hearts of this generation. Oceans for Life has been in-the-making for more than two years. In June 2009, we will put the pieces together and conduct a prototype program. It is going to take a lot to make Oceans for Life work to its purpose. This is not just another cool thing we do.  It is about how we contribute, in our way, to address the ignorance and misunderstanding exposed on 9/11."
Jellyfish mark oceans' decline
A New York Times article on August 3 sees increasing numbers of jellyfish as a signal of the declining health of the world’s oceans. "From Spain to New York, to Australia, Japan and Hawaii, jellyfish are becoming more numerous and more widespread, and they are showing up in places where they have rarely been seen before, scientists say. The explosion of jellyfish populations reflects a combination of severe overfishing of natural predators, like tuna, sharks and swordfish; rising sea temperatures caused in part by global warming; and pollution that has depleted oxygen levels in coastal shallows." Jellyfish are the "cockroaches" of the ocean, surviving in damaged environments where few other organisms can.
IPCC FAQs on Climate Change
[From NAAEE Newsletter]: This Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) FAQ pdf [7.2 mb] was created from the chapters of the report: IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Encyclopedia of Earth
If you haven't checked out the Encyclopedia of Earth yet, you owe it to yourself to do that. Articles in the free web site offer strong science in readable forms on topics of interest in the Earth system. Many of the entries address ocean issues, like coral bleaching, coastal population, oil spills, acidification, iron fertilization and the like. This editor recommends searching by Topic, rather than by Title, for greater efficiency. There is no Great Lakes topic yet!

Resources for Teaching: Great Lakes

Climate Workshop Powerpoints
from all the speakers at the climate change workshop hosted by GLERL July 29-31 are now all available online (linked from the agenda). Video will be joining the pdf files soon!
Great Lakes Water Data Sets for Teachers
In partnership with Eastern Michigan University GLERL is working to make Great Lakes data more accessible for teachers. These are real data extracted from on-going and historic GLERL research projects. Each data set has been 'downscaled' (fewer decimal points, fewer data points, fewer parameters) to facilitate use in the classroom. Students and teachers can use the datasets to conduct their own inquiries, support guided inquiries, demonstrate limnological concepts or just to practice graphing, mapping and mathematics.
GLOS curriculum unit on Dead Zone Enrichment
This activity for grades 5-8 is designed to have students investigate seasonal cycles by interpreting Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System graphs of water temperature vs. depth. Following this lesson, students will be able to:
  • Explain how unique properties of water contribute to seasonal cycles
  • Describe the Great Lakes seasonal cycle
  • Explain water temperature vs. depth graphs

Resources for Teaching: Marine

A poem for Tropical Marine Ecology
Teacher Kathy Dole always accompanies the workshop led each year by Garry Dole and Helen Domske for COSEE's Marine Immersion offering. Kathy has written numerous poems and is developing "Periwinkle Stew," a collection of them. This year the blog for the workshop had her Sonnet for Smith's Bank, Roatan:

In a world where our coral’s receding,
Where they lose tiny algae, essential
To their living and breathing and feeding,
We seem unaware of their potential.

For, the corals are home to so many
Of earth’s algae and fishes and creatures.
Where there used to be beauty aplenty,
Now huge patches of dead rock are featured.

But, Smith’s Bank is yet Paradise Jungle,
With huge staghorn, white tips of growth telling,
Far from land’s suffocation and bungle,
Rinsed and fed with Blue Ocean’s upwelling.

Oh, when will mankind ever learn not to be
Disrespectful of coral and life in the sea?
By Kathy Dole, 2008
Simulation of flooding by Katrina
The New Orleans Times-Picayune has published some astonishing graphics showing how Hurricane Katrina's flooding progressed on August 29, 2005.
Climate Time Machine
This series of visualizations show how some of the key indicators of climate change, such as temperature, sea ice extent and carbon dioxide concentrations, have changed in Earth’s recent history.
The Great Whales curriculum for grades 6-9
Through a variety of activities this curriculum explores whale biology, ecology, and current conservation issues. It also discusses methods used to study whales. Authors with former NMEA President Vicki Osis include Great Lakes educators Susan Snyder and Rachel Bergren. $20.00 cost, includes shipping and handling. Order from Vicki Osis.
Real Time Data activities at the Bridge
The Bridge website currently contains six Data Analysis Teaching Activities (DATAs) that use ocean observing system and real-time data, with one more in the works. The topics include: Conductivity, Coral bleaching, Upwelling, Sea state, Waves as an alternative energy source, and Coastal storms (not yet in new lesson plan format, but available in old format)   …and on the way: Buoyancy and density.
NOAA Real time data activities
NOAA launched an educational site this year dealing with real-time data. The agency is looking for teachers to try it out activities for grades 6-8 and give feedback. Right now there are 2 working modules, one on El Nino, and one on Sea Level Rise. It's entitled Data in the Classroom.
Web portal offers storm information
A new Gulf-wide Web portal links users to a wealth of information about hurricane preparedness and short-term recovery in all Gulf of Mexico states. The site is an ongoing effort among the NOAA Coastal Storms Program, the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Team and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance.   The goal of the Gulf storms portal is to provide people with a single site where they can easily link to valuable information from many sources. There are no graphics on the site so information can be viewed easily from a cell phone in case of evacuation.

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