July 20, 2009
We began our day with packing up our suitcases and piling into the vans to head west. We said our good-byes to Presque Isle. It was unanimous that we all enjoyed our time on the isle and took with us new experiences and information to bring back to our classrooms.
We moved on from Erie, Pennsylvania and headed west along the coast. The lake was not always in view and we had to remind ourselves that we were following the lake. Our first stop was at Painsville, Ohio were we met up with Frank Lichkoppler, Ohio Sea Grant program leader . We looked at bathymetric maps of Lake Erie, (3D ones too!), and observed the coastal lines and the lake depths of Lake Erie’s three basins.
We then headed to the lake were we observed the coastline at the park. We looked for clues as to what the history of the area was and found that major erosion had occurred with loss of much of the hillside. Frank discussed with us measures that were being taken to protect against continual coastal erosion. We saw seawall, break walls, jetties, and groins. We learned how each of these change the direction sediments, and sand along the coast. We also had a discussion of reasons why the Great Lakes do not have wave size like the oceans and found out that it has to do with the distance the water travels. We now know about fetch and seiches.
We completed our stop here by participating in an activity called “How Fast can a Shore-line Change” from the Great Lakes Medley resource. This was a great supporting activity to what we had just learned on coastal erosion. The activity allows students to determine how fast erosion has occurred in the area provided and how much sand and clay can be removed by waves and currents. Many of us thought this was lesson that would work in our classrooms.
We moved again up the coast to the Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve. We were introduced to the research being done at the center. The SWMP program takes real time data on pH, conductivity, temperature, dissolve oxygen, water levels and turbidity .This real time data is sent to NOAA and made available to the public. Our last discussion was on the importance of reserves. Reserves are protected areas used for long term research and stewardship. This provides us a way to understand human impact to the environment. Another cool thing that we saw at the visitor center was a preserved specimen of a Passenger Pigeon. The last Passenger Pigeon died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.
We then took a walk down to the lake and observed the mouth of Old Women Creek which was closed. The mouth of the creek was in an unusual state, as it was filled in by sand caused by unusual storms from the North this past winter.
Our next move was further to the west to catch the ferry to Put-in-Bay, Ohio. The ferry boat brought us to the South Bass island where we saw the sites of Put-in-Bay . We were able to check in to Stone Lab, Ohio State University Island Campus on Lake Erie. We caught another boat to Gibraltar, a 6-acre island where Stone Lab is located. After our introduction to Stone Lab we unloaded our suitcases and enjoyed a beautiful sunset on Lake Erie; a wonderful welcome to the island. Looks like the next four days will be filled with learning and experiencing this great lake-Erie.
Did you know?
- Stone Lab is the oldest fresh water biological field station and research laboratory in the United States founded in 1895.
- Ohio students were found to know more about the oceans than the Great Lake
- In 1988 Dr. Seuss changed the wording in his famous book, The Lorax. Because of great water quality improvement in Lake Erie, the line “I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie!” is not in newer additions of the book.