Center for Great Lakes Literacy’s Annual Shipboard Educator Workshop Gets Underway July 8 – 14, 2019

(ERIE, PA) –Earlier today, a crew of scientists, researchers, and fifteen Great Lakes science educators, including two from Erie, set course to explore harmful algal blooms (HABs) and microplastic pollution in Lake Erie aboard the US EPA’s research vessel, the Lake Guardian. Their journey, the 2019 shipboard educator workshop, is offered through the National Sea Grant College Program’s Center for Great Lakes Literacy (CGLL), in partnership with the Ohio and Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Programs.

The Great Lakes science educators come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Some are traditional teachers and others are informal educators from Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Hannah Evans, an IU5 STEM facilitator, and Lisa Radock, a 7th grade earth science teacher at Fort LeBoeuf Middle School in Erie are on deck. Along with their crewmates they will spend the next week collecting water samples, macroinvertebrates, and other data, and analyzing their findings alongside researchers Dr. George Bullerjahn, a biology professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin Superior, and Ben Alsip from the US EPA Great Lakes National Program Office.

Throughout the week, they will also have opportunities to explore Lake Erie land-based environments, including a portion of the Erie, PA coastline. This, their first stop, takes places on Tuesday, July 9, in Erie, PA. Among the many activities planned for the day, educators will meet up with Dr. Sherri Mason, Penn State Behrend sustainability coordinator, for an update on her on-going microplastic research. Marti Martz, PA Sea Grant senior coastal outreach specialist, will lead several events including an overview of beach clean-up protocols and practices, and the overarching impacts of beach litter to the health of Lake Erie.

“Teaching Earth and Space science at Fort LeBoeuf Middle School provides me with abundant opportunities to share my passion for our Great Lakes and ocean,” said Lisa Radock, participant and 7th grade earth science teacher at Fort LeBoeuf Middle School. “I believe it is important for students to understand these treasures, and so we talk about the ways Lake Erie benefits us by providing for our needs, such as water and food, and also how it provides recreation and economic benefits. We talk about how protecting our waters and lands is important for everything in our food web including us. I love providing students with opportunities to realize that they are agents for positive change.”

In addition to their scientific studies, educators will also discover new strategies for implementing Great Lakes research and science into the classroom.

“Spending a week on the Lake Guardian will deepen my understanding of the ecological problems our society is facing and allow me to communicate the urgency with which we must act,” said Hannah Evans, participant and IU5 STEM facilitator. “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 Center for Great Lakes Literacy’s Annual Shipboard Educator Workshop explores a different Great Lake each year. The last trip to explore Lake Erie took place in July 2014, when educators and research focused on learning about microplastics and E. coli (bacteria), as well as emerging contaminants like Triclosan and Fluoxetine (chemicals in hand sanitizers and anti-depressants that make their way into the Lake Erie watershed).

Each day participants will post a daily blog, a collaborative effort that summarizes the essence of the encounters, lessons, and adventures from the day. Follow the journey at , and on twitter, @CGLLiteracy – look for #CSMI, #shipboardscience, and #LakeErie.

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