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Formal and non-formal educators of learners in grades 5-12, from all disciplines (e.g., science, math, language arts, social studies, art, music, etc.) living in a Great Lakes state are eligible to apply for the annual Great Lakes Shipboard Science Workshop, aboard the US EPA’s research vessel (R/V) Lake Guardian, to explore the Great Lakes and immerse themselves in science and research. The week-long journey offers educators the opportunity to live and work alongside Great Lakes scientists to conduct critical research. The annual trip rotates between the Great Lakes, giving educators the opportunity to explore new and exciting locations and research topics. Participants also receive a stipend to support integration of Great Lakes literacy through experiential learning and stewardship with their learners.

After a brief hiatus due to COVID-19 precautions, the R/V Lake Guardian again sailed in July 2023, exploring Lake Ontario with fifteen educators working alongside scientists. Learn more about their experience in this Story Map.

Lake Guardian teacher Promotion social 2024 - 1

2024 Workshop Details

Explore Lake Erie, July 7-13, 2024

Apply TODAY – Participation is limited to just 15 educators – don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. Applications are due Monday, February 19, 2024. Overview details below. Full trip details available online at the Center for Great Lakes Literacy website.


The week-long scientific exploration of Lake Erie will take place July 7-13, 2024, beginning and ending in Cleveland, OH, and with port stops in Erie, PA and Put-In-Bay, OH.


Explore Lake Erie while living and working alongside Great Lakes scientists aboard the US EPA Research Vessel (R/V) Lake Guardian. Participants in the Great Lakes Shipboard Science Workshop will conduct critical research into microplastics, phytoplankton, benthic organisms, and sediment. Through hands-on investigations, port stops for landside experiences, lab work, and interacting with scientists, educators will obtain new knowledge, skills and teaching methods that can be adapted to work with students, as well as learn about careers that further the protection of the Great Lakes.


Formal and non-formal educators of learners in grades 5-12 from all disciplines (e.g., science, math, language arts, social studies, art, music, etc.). Educators must live in a Great Lakes state (anywhere within the state) to be eligible.


  • gain a sense of environmental stewardship by better understanding how past human activities have impacted the Great Lakes watershed,
  • be better positioned to guide learners’ interest in environmental and science careers,
  • enhance individual teaching skills by sharing ideas and innovative approaches to curriculum development and delivery,
  • receive a stipend to support integration of Great Lakes literacy through experiential learning and stewardship projects with their learners.

In 2019 Pennsylvania educator Hannah Evans participated in the shipboard science workshop and shared this about her experience,

“Spending a week on the Lake Guardian deepened my understanding of the ecological problems our society is facing and allowed me to communicate the urgency with which we must act. The very nature of my role as a STEM facilitator is to develop cross-curricular problem-based learning experiences for students and train educators to engage their learners with hands-on real-world applications that inspire critical thinking.”


The goal of the Shipboard Science Workshop is to enhance the ability of educators of grades 5-12 to teach about the Great Lakes, and to integrate Great Lakes literacy principles into classrooms and other learning environments.


This program is made possible through a partnership with the US EPA Great Lakes National Program Office, and funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through NOAA. The 2024 Lake Erie experience will be hosted by Pennsylvania Sea Grant and Ohio Sea Grant.

The Center for Great Lakes Literacy programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status. For accessibility concerns or issues with this virtual resource, please contact

a man wearing a hard hat and standing on a boat

Read about one Pennsylvania educator’s journey aboard the Lake Guardian.

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