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Educators Embark on Superior Science Expedition

Photo: Teachers aboard the R/V Lake Guardian

A group of 15 educators from throughout the Great Lakes Basin are preparing for a rare adventure that starts and ends in the Duluth Superior Harbor of Lake Superior. From July 9-15, the chosen few will be studying Lake Superior with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and university scientists aboard the EPA's research vessel, Lake Guardian. During the week they will investigate Superior's ecological, physical and chemical processes in a way that will allow them to bring Great Lakes science into classrooms and curricula.

Participants are coming from as far away as LaFayette, New York, to experience this educational workshop but four are based near the Duluth Superior Harbor itself. Krysta Maas, a high school chemistry teacher at Marshall School is one of these local participants. She's been in the classroom for about a decade and is excited to get back in the field. "The lake is important to myself and my students, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Maas. She is excited about focusing on the chemical and biological aspects of the Lake and "bringing the experience of what research is like in real life back to the classroom."

"I think the educators aboard the Lake Guardian this week will find the experience memorable and directly applicable to their teaching," said Cindy Hagley, Environmental Quality Extension Educator for the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program, who is co-leading the Lake Guardian cruise through Sea Grant's Center for Great Lakes Literacy.

Focusing on lake ecology, geology, geography, weather, and biochemical processes, Joel Hoffman, a research biologist with the EPA and other staff from the EPA Region V office will assist participants as they collect aquatic organisms and analyze water quality.

Extension educators from the Minnesota and Wisconsin Sea Grant Programs will facilitate the expedition and translate onboard experiences into classroom lessons, emphasizing human impacts. Sea Grant is a state and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration partnership committed to delivering science-based solutions that address coastal challenges. This year's onboard experiences will be documented via the 2016 Lake Superior Shipboard Science blog on the Center for Great Lakes Literacy website at: www.cgll.org/featured-blogs. You can also follow the research cruise on the Lake Guardian's Twitter page (@LakeGuardian).

Posted on June 29, 2016


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