Our day started this morning at 12:45 am (eastern time), a small group of volunteers sampled at Station 3. It rained during most of the sampling and it was very dark. We departed for Manitowoc WI and arrived around 6:30 am.
We spent all day on land, which was a nice reprieve for seasick educators. We toured the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and were able to engage in some practical classroom activities. After checking out a very interesting exhibit featuring shipbuilding and shipwrecks, we had three gurus share their expertise with us.
First we learned about Wisconsin shipwrecks from Tamara Thomsen, an underwater archaeologist. There are 727 shipwrecks in Wisconsin waters, and only 154 have been located. Russ Letz, a volunteer shipwreck scuba diver led us in a simulated shipwreck scale drawing activity.
We have been talking a lot about fish and today we got to taste some of the local Lake Whitefish and smoked Bloater. Titus Seilhemer helped us visualize the changes that have happened to the fish populations in the Great Lakes. Titus then took a small group down to the local beach and sampled the round gobies in the water.
We also learned more about the Sea Grant programs in our individual states and some of the resources available to schools. Kristen lead a station demonstrating the use of the Hydrolab and many of us are anxious to use it back in our own classrooms.
The highlight for many of us was a tour of the USS Cobia, a WWI submarine. We explored the technology of the time and were reassured that our accommodations are luxury compared to the conditions on the boat. Gerry was a wonderful tour guide and we loved his sense of humor!
We discussed many deep questions over dinner at Capone’s, questions like “when does an invasive species become native?” and what the ecology of the lake would be if humans were not involved. Emily and Zac shared the problem solving process they have been working through to determine what is exacerbating their phosphorous levels.
There has been much conversation about how fortunate we all feel to be able to participate in this amazing experience and the bits that we are planning on implementing in our classrooms back on land!
Written by Kim Rowland and Billie Waugh