2018 Great Lakes Awareness Day
Students Gather at Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie PA

The fourth annual Great Lakes Awareness Day, was held on May 2nd at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, PA. More than 140 students from eight schools in PA and NY gathered to feature water-quality-related outreach projects they had developed over the 2017-18 school year.

Throughout the school year, PA Sea Grant staff have been engaging with educators and students on a variety of Great Lakes issues and topics like harmful algal blooms, invasive species, and climate change. PA Sea Grant supplied educators with science-based resources and content, and introduced them to researchers, who are working to solve these challenging issues. Students gained knowledge of Great lakes issues through the in-class content and also through in-field and laboratory experiences.

Students also developed a service learning project, enabling them to share what they had learned at school Community Days, to other schools in their district, and by presenting to their school board. These place-based experiences allow students to better understand the importance of science in their daily lives.

This year both the educator professional development and several of the hands-on student experiences took place in partnership with the Regional Science Consortium at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. This collaboration between researchers and educators is an important goal of the Center for Great Lakes Literacy, a partnership between the Great Lakes Sea Grant educators and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project will continue through 2020.

Teachers interested in participating during the 2018-19 school year should contact Marti Martz.







Great Lakes Awareness Day 2017

Pennsylvania Sea Grant and the Center for Great Lakes Literacy (CGLL) hosted Great Lakes Awareness Day on May 1, 2017 at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, PA. The event gave 160 Erie middle and high school students the opportunity to share projects they had researched and implemented during the school year.

The Center for Great Lakes Literacy is a collaborative effort led by Sea Grant educators throughout the Great Lakes watershed, with the goal of fostering informed and responsible decisions that advance basin-wide stewardship.

Great Lakes Awareness Day 2017 participants included students from Fairview High School, Fort LeBoeuf High School, Iroquois Elementary, Our Lady’s Christian School, Perseus House Maritime Center, Chautauqua Lake Community School, Collegiate Academy and Penn State Behrend.

In addition to the students, 154 visitors toured the student posters and displays. Read on for photos and links to displays and posters


Sarah Skelton, teacher from Iroquois School District had this to say about the event:
“Great Lakes Awareness Day provided our students with the opportunity to share our yearlong project and efforts in researching Harmful Algal Blooms. The students have been working diligently on their HABs project and were eager to share their project and research. In addition, this was a great opportunity for our students to learn from others about environmental issues. Students from other schools shared very interesting research and projects, provoking ideas and questions. Overall, it was a wonderful day that allowed our students to interact and engage with other students from surrounding schools. My students really enjoyed the project and learned a great deal throughout the process. I think it is wonderful that we are given such opportunities to encourage growth across the curriculum."  

Quotes from Iroquois Elementary students:

“This event was very educational and we learned a lot about environmental issues. We had a lot of fun.” – Madalyn Chew and Grace Abele, 5th grade 

"It was great to discuss our personal research with our peers.” – Isabel Moser, 6th grade

"I think this was a great opportunity to discover different points of views about the environment." - Emma Conti-Windle, 6th grade                                  

Quotes from Our Lady's Christian School students:

“I feel that we now have a better understanding of our environment and how we need to help it.”  Jake Walden, 7th grade

 “I really like it, I learned a lot and saw a lot.  One of the most interesting things I saw was the Bee Project.”  Joshua Kanne,  7th grade

 “Through listening to the projects, I realized the environment is suffering and I’m inspired to help.”  Angelina Carbo,  7th grade

  “I learned many things about how our environment is suffering from pollution, etc. and I extremely want to help.”  Daniela Shaughnessy,  7th grade

 “Attending this GLAD was very interesting.  I learned about what I can do as an individual to help the community and the earth.”  Francis Mizner, 7th grade

PDF icon Group Projects 1.pdf Alternative Energy, CAFOs, Earth Healthy Life Hacks, Aquatic Invasive Species

PDF icon Group Projects 2.pdf  Pesticides & Pollinators, Asian Carp, Marine Pollution, Microplastics 

PDF icon Group Projects 3.pdf Fresh Water Habitats, Packaging Problems, Plastic Bags, Plastic vs. Reusable Bottles

PDF icon Group Projects 4 (1).pdf  Pollinator Decline, Renewable Energy, Wildlife Trafficking

Main Office: Tom Ridge Environmental Center 301 Peninsula Dr., Suite 3 Erie, PA 16505 814-217-9011