Ahoy! Welcome aboard the Lake Guardian. This communication is coming to you from two scientists – well, science teachers – Karla Schuessler and Molly Schuld. We are Wisconsin educators, but we are also joined by thirteen other science teachers from throughout the Great Lakes region. We are currently navigating Lake Huron on day 1 of our week long learning adventure.
Today began at Detroit Wayne County Port Authority, where we met our fellow teachers and crew. We were instantly welcomed to ship life via a safety briefing, which included an entertaining fashion show of immersion suits. Post-briefing, we enjoyed lunch while docked between Detroit and Windsor. Towards the end of lunch, we heard our signal for departure.
We spent the afternoon cruising on the Detroit River, to and through beautiful Lake St. Claire, and into St. Claire River. During our jouney we were blessed with sunny skies and calm waters. We spent the time absorbing expert knowledge from two guests – Patrick Livingston and Mark Crowley. They taught us about many components of the Great Lakes including Detroit shoreline restoration, history of aquatic habitats, sturgeon spawning, passing freighters, sea ports and cargo, and more. After these engaging presentations, many of the teachers are eager to learn more about the history of the Great Lakes and plan to read Dan Egan’s The Death and Life of the Great Lakes.
We transitioned to our next part of the day – planning for the week ahead. We learned about the three research focuses for the week: Dr. David Jude will be leading a team researching fish food webs and benthic organisms, Steve Hensler will head off the zooplankton and larval fish research, and Derek Ager will guide a team researching algae and water chemistry.
We (Karla and Molly) are excited to wake up bright and early tomorrow on the Lake Guardian to begin working under Derek’s mentorship as we collect and analyze water quality samples. The entire group of teachers is eager to be students for a week and to then take our new knowledge and skills back into our classrooms. Please check in to see where our adventures take us!