Lake Michigan Day 7

July 12, 2010

Today we packed our bags and left the Lake Guardian for the last time. We gathered where our voyage began, at the Water Institute in Milwaukee to give our final presentations and say our goodbyes. We have traveled a great distance together and learned even more along the way.
Here are some reflections from the team as we close this session:

I have noticed that these schools of freshwater education are pretty new. The schools in Traverse City and Muskegon are training young people to fill a niche that is in demand. This is great information to turn my students in this direction for great careers. - Marty Baker

Everything is interconnected and entwined. Small changes can have unexpected impacts, but sometimes big improvements can be made. –Susannah Hamm

I feel strongly that after these days of exposure to resources and information it is our duty to repay those who contributed by incorporating the message into our lessons as well as our lives. Still, to impart the knowledge to our students is only step one. Sharing the initiative with our peers to reach even more children is the next step that can best be achieved when our passion for the Great Lakes begins to reflect those who we have been exposed to during this expedition. That is the fundamental goal of COSEE. -Stephanie Crook

I’m now aware of the complexity of the Great Lakes ecosystems and how much I have left to learn! Beyond a doubt, I am privileged to have the opportunity to go on this voyage of a lifetime. It will be a story to tell my grandchildren someday. This experience has fired me up to vigorously pursue environmental science relative to the Great Lakes. Probably the “big idea” I take away as passionately believe is this, “The Great Lakes and humans in their watersheds are inextricably connected.” –Gwen Bottoli

This workshop has given me a lot of new information on invasives, food webs, and Great Lakes issues that I will implement in my lessons. It was a great experience. –Aneal Padmanabha

The crew of the R/V Lake Guardian was fabulous! They spent an incredible amount of time explaining the techniques, equipment and science used aboard the boat. Thank you. –Isaac Cottrell

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that everything is connected. All living things, including humans, and the nonliving parts of the environment have a great impact on each other. If we want our impact to be positive, we have to make some changes! –Jeannie Navarro

My awareness of Great Lakes literacy has been expanded 100 fold. The importance of Great Lakes ecology is an essential learning for my students, adults, all of us. Great Lakes are a resource that we must protect, manage, and educate at every level of education as well as adults. Thank you COSEE. – Matt Katzer

I am inspired to be among other educators that are as passionate about water issues! COSEE has treated us to a very comprehensive experience living the life of a freshwater researcher. I am eager to share my experiences with friends, family and my students. –Tracey Marchyok

The homogenation of the waters is such a sad thing; to think that we have lost 20 species of native mussels on the Great Lakes alone (not to mention all the river species). I was most amazed with the speed of some of these changes. The Sutton Bay travel catch statistics from the educational schooner ‘school ship’ showed the round goby increase from about 4% in 2004 to 93% of the catch in 2008. That’s a huge decrease in biodiversity really fast. –Chris Hedge

What I have learned from this great COSEE/Sea Grant Lake Guardian cruise is just how important it is to continue to not only be stewards of our land, but also of our waters. We are an interconnected basin, which can contaminate other areas very easily with drainage. At minimum this will be emphasized with my students along with the specific information/data on Lake Michigan. –Karla Hammond

One thing I learned: The diporeia could disappear in 10 years. The loss of diporeia is linked to the spread of zebra and quagga mussels. –Mary Kultgen

I will take from this experience many great ideas and resources which I will incorporate into my classroom. Of course I also had a great time and visited many facilities I may have never seen without this trip. –Gregory Alberding

One thing that was beyond my expectations was being surrounded/introduced to so many scientists with amazing knowledge that they were anxious to share with teachers knowing it would get back into their classrooms. It energized and humbled me at the same time. These scientists seemed to have the ability to challenge us but keep the information on an understandable level. –Donna Browne

Everything is connected! The physical science impacts the chemistry which impacts the biology-and so it goes! – Chris Hedge

A Thank you from your Blog Writer-
I will miss this ship again, it is more than just a steel hull to the crew that live here, the scientists that depend on it to gather their data and the teachers who visit. Warm smiles, soft cookies, and a common goal of spreading the message of the waters we all love make this place something far more special.
To the crew of the Lake Guardian- Thank you for making us feel at home and for everything that you do with and without us. To COSEE/Sea Grant – Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this amazing experience. To the teachers of this year’s Lake Michigan Lake Guardian – Thank you for letting me blog for you, work through your pictures, and post your thoughts. It has been an amazing experience and being your blogger has helped me to savor every moment through 15 perspectives. I wouldn’t trade the opportunity in a million years and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you all again. - Steph

Lake Michigan Day 6

July 11, 2010

Today was another fun and busy day for the teachers aboard the Lake Guardian. We all woke up early, but our drowsy state of mind was quickly cleared with Carl’s fabulous breakfast.

Then it was off to the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum in Muskegon.

Along the walk to the museum there was limestone lining the side walk that was riddled with fossils, and so we stopped for a moment to observe.

At the museum Mark Gleason led us on a tour. Part of the team visited the submarine ‘Silversides’ while others visited the museum inside.

Parked outside the museum was a research vessel called the Laurentian. Dr. Hook explained to us that the Great Lakes are sometimes called the Laurentian Lakes because they are all connected to the St. Lawrence.

After the museum tour, the team visited NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab station (GLERL) where we leaded about the Green Boat initiative to make all the GLERL boats run on bio-diesel.

On the way back to the Lake Guardian the group came upon a fisherman who had just catch a goby. We all stopped for a few moments to observe the specimen.

Lunch back on the Lake Guardian was next on our itinerary and was followed by a field trip aboard the WG Jackson. This educational vessel allows students to take and analyze samples around the Great Lakes.

Aboard the Jackson the team was treated to the opportunity to try their hands at controlling an remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Everyone found the task to be fun but much more challenging than they anticipated.

The Jackson took the group to the Annis Water Resource Institute where we observed working research labs.

Richard Rediske also spoke to the group about human impacts on the Great Lakes over the years.

When the team returned to the Lake Guardian for the evening it was time for flag presentations. Each person took a turn describing their flag designs and what the design stood for. Everyone enjoyed the assignment and all the flags turned out wonderfully.

In the evening, and under the close supervision of the captain, everyone was given the chance to steer the ship for a few minutes. It was fun and a bit more challenging than expected. Captain’s superior parking ability was appreciated even more!

As our last night wore down groups finalized their projects, exchanged picture files and emails, and the working deck began to empty. It seems as though the week has just begun and just as fast it is coming to an end.

Lake Michigan Day 5

July 10, 2010

Today was a full day on Lake Michigan for the teacher team. Some gained a much needed full night’s rest while others got up with the dawn for an early station.

The early start was worth it to taste lake water taken from what is called the “Deep Hole.”

Matt Katzer said of the experience, “What a tremendous time toasting the Great Lake Michigan with water from 700 feet down this morning. Now that’s what I call a teachable moment!”

Mary explained the event, “This morning at 6 A.M. the rosette equipment was lowered to 700 feet. The water was 3.5 degrees Celsius. Those who were up for the sampling drank Lake Michigan water and toasted the lake. We discussed that the water could be from 100-1000 years old. Jim assured us that deep water is safe. We need to watch out for the stuff that comes from land. That’s the stuff that can make human’s sick.”

While the rosette was sent down to gather the morning sample, a bag was attached carrying styrofoam cups that the team had decorated last night. When the rosette returned to the surface the cups had been compressed by the pressure of the water above. They will serve well as a lesson in water pressure for our students.

The morning sampling team also tested an experiment using M&Ms to help understand water’s absorption of light energy.

Later, and periodically throughout the day, the team had time to work on their projects. Everyone kept busy working on flags, experiments, and concept maps.

Even the crew had plenty to do throughout the day.

We took a break from our projects to focus on the final round of teacher presentations on the O2 deck. We were introduced to lessons about measuring the dead zone of Lake Erie, making model wetlands, water rites of the Great Lakes, and invasive species.

In the afternoon, Helen gave an overview of creatures of the Great Lakes along with facts about Lake Michigan that we all are glad to add to our tool belts such as: Lake Michigan has a retention time of 99 years, and the word Michigan comes from the Algonkian Indians word for large body of water, Michigami.
Throughout the day samples were taken at several stations and everyone continued to work on projects.

Dr. Hook was the last speaker of the day. He explained to the group what dead zones are and how they form. Aneal commented, “Tonight’s talk on hypoxia in Lake Erie was great! It is another important issue impacting the Great Lakes. I cannot wait to implement this topic into my lessons.”
Greg also enjoyed Dr. Hook’s dialogue, “I liked Dr. Hook’s analogy of Lake Erie to the Three Bears: the central zone is just right.”

After Dr. Hook’s presentation the sun set on another day on the waters of Lake Michigan and the team made plans for tomorrow then bunked down for the night in preparation for another day fill of activities and learning that tomorrow will surely bring.

Lake Michigan Day 4: Friday July 9th

This morning the team met up with Mark Breederland from Michigan Sea Grant just after breakfast for our planned activities.

Our first stop was a visit with the crew of the Inland Seas Education Association, aboard their school ship schooner.

The schooner serves as an educational ship with programs for students to learn about water testing similar to those that the Lake Guardian does.

A museum nearby highlighted several of the aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes.

Everyone appreciated the hands-on displays and that even helped visitors understand methods of introduction for each invader.

One particular favorite was a giant sea lamprey that just seemed to take hold of us!

Our next stop was the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, which was located inside the Leelanau State Park at the tip of the Leelanau Penninsula.

The lighthouse has been guiding ships and sailors since it was built in 1858. “Today was great to see some cultural aspects of the Great Lakes.” – Aneal Padmanabha

Next on our itinerary was Fishtown Preservation Society.

According to its website, “The Fishtown Preservation Society (FPS) was originally created in 2001 through the efforts of local citizens dedicated to promoting and preserving the historical and fishing heritage of Fishtown.

In 2004, the Carlson Family decided to sell Fishtown and hoped to sell it to an entity which would preserve it. FPS soon after became the vehicle for the community to acquire Fishtown. In June 2006, FPS reached an agreement to purchase Fishtown for the amount of $2.8 million for the Fishtown real estate and $200,000 for the two fishing boats, and related fishing licenses and equipment from the Carlson family.

Tracey said, “I was completely impressed by the Fishtown Preservation Society Executive Director, Dr. Amanda Holmes. She clearly is a champion in a chain of enthusiastic support for a historic treasure!”

A rescue station near Sleeping Bear Dunes was next on our itinerary.

Susannah describes, “The rescue station was fantastic! I did not expect to get so much good information and pictures that I can directly use in my Shipwrecks Camp this month!”

The Sleeping Bear dune climb was our next stop.

Jeannie explains, “The ranger gave us some good information about the dunes before we jumped right into the climbing challenge. We learned about changes in the dunes, including erosion and invasive species (baby’s breath for example). Climbing to the beach would have taken more time and energy than we had left, so we cut it a little shorter by climbing only 2 slopes… but it was still really tough! The view of both Lake Michigan and Glen Lake was well worth the effort though. Plus the run down was a blast!”

Our final stop was the Sleeping Bear visitor’s center where we enjoyed the wildlife displays and a short rest before we returned to the Lake Guardian.

It has been a fun and information filled day. Matt said about today, “What a day traveling by vehicle in Leelanau Peninsula. I can’t believe the life saving crew would row out in seas of 10 to 15 feet- very courageous! The lake is beautiful! It is apparent why I love Lake Michigan!”

Tonight we will process our information and use it to build our flags and consider how we how we can use that information in our classrooms.

Lake Michigan Day 3: Thursday July 8th

July 9, 2010

Today started with the team separated into three smaller sampling groups. One group stayed up into the early morning hours to collect a Mysis (small shrimp) sample in the dark in addition to running a bongo net and a plankton sample. Isaac Cotrell thought that collecting during the night was a “very cool experience.”

While this group tried to catch up on some much needed sleep, a second group got up early this morning to run another set of samples, this one including the rosette, PONAR, and Secchi disk.

While this group began to sort through all of the data the rest of the team got up at the regular time and began the day lending a hand in the labs and working on their flags.

Later on our lead scientist, Dr. Tomas Hook, addressed the team about the survival of fish larva in the Great Lakes and made connections were possible between the reproductive strategies of Great Lakes and Ocean fishes.

Helen Domske followed that presentation with a talk on invasive species and their impact on Lake Michigan’s ecosystem.

After those presentations the team took a break for lunch then each member took a turn at the iron to put the Lake Guardian logo on their t-shirt.

Next the team moved to the sunny O2 deck to enjoy another group of 5 teachers presenting the lesson plans they selected from the COSEE Greatest of the Great Lakes disk.

Not long after the presentations finished we arrived in Traverse City, where our Captain’s parking deserved applause!

Mark Breederland, from Michigan Sea Grant, met the team and welcomed us with chocolate covered cherries…a delicacy of the region. We walked to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, where we learned about unique college programming available in this area.

Chris Hedge was impressed by the new freshwater studies Associate Degree program and how it was created to fit the needs of today’s maritime careers. According to Chris, “there are so many students that are not interested in a 4-year degree, or who drop-out, that this program would be ideal for them.”

After the presentation we all returned to the ship where we all enjoyed yet another of the Lake Guardian’s famous dinners then started our night on the town in Traverse City!

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