Is It Over Already??

September 5, 2006

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August 4, 2006 – Today was a day for closure and for beginnings as we wrapped up our weeklong workshop and went home with lots of new ideas for teaching about Lake Superior, the Great Lakes and the connections to oceans. Our Paddle-to-the-Sea had successfully begun a journey from western Lake Superior through the Great Lakes to the great oceans of the world.

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The next planned stop for Paddle is the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve in Alpena, Michigan, for the Lake Huron Exploration Workshop in 2007.

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The day began at the Great Lakes Aquarium with group photos on the deck with a sunlit harbor as the backdrop. It seems that everyone had a camera and kept our volunteer photographers busy juggling equipment while repeatedly trying to capture the perfect shot.

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Then it was on to the classroom for presentations by teams of participants illustrating how they would put their knowledge of Lake Superior and the Great Lakes to use in the classroom.

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There were lots of great ideas creatively presented with activities and skits. There was even a newly-minted “food web” song which had everyone harmonizing. It sounded terrific as the class musically assembled the parts – phytoplankton, zooplankton, juvenile herring and lean lake trout. At the close of the session, it was obvious that everyone had gained a great deal of new knowledge and insight, and the tools to make them come alive in the classroom.

The unquestioned highlight of the week for participants was the awarding of their Lake Superior Exploration Workshop diplomas, which were well earned.

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The day included some anxious moments as a young visitor to the Aquarium reported to us that one of the sea lampreys in an exhibit had evidently decided to flee captivity and was now writhing on the floor. The Aquarium staff was contacted and the lamprey was rescued.

Then it was time to take our leave of the workshop with lots of good-byes, promises of keeping in touch and hopes for getting together at future COSEE Great Lakes Activities. Like Paddle, we were all off on a journey through the Great Lakes to the sea with a mission to bring as many other teachers, scientists and young people with us as we can muster.

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