When Author Marianne Williamson wrote, “Every end is a new beginning,” she could have easily been referencing the end of our amazing Lake Erie Workshop experience aboard the R/V Lake Guardian. Sixteen educators from around the Great Lakes Region had the unique opportunity to learn more about our Great Lakes, specifically Lake Erie. These fearless adventurers knew that they would board a large vessel, assist some scientists, and takeaway some nuggets of information about the Great Lakes. What they didn’t know, however, was that this voyage would be a “once in a lifetime” trip where lasting friendships would be forged, unpredictability would be the norm (think engines, weather, late night sampling, etc.), Chef Craig would create gourmet food worthy of the Food Network, and REAL science would be conducted by REAL scientists.
Although it is nearly impossible to detail every activity, thought and emotion experienced on this voyage, we asked a few participants their thoughts with the hope of creating a “snapshot” of the week.
What advice would you give to a 2015 participant on essential items to bring/not bring?
“The list of what to bring was very complete. The essential items would be Dramamine and shoes with springs for leaping into the top bunks.” – Marcy
What was your favorite memory from the trip?
“Run Forest/Steve Mauro run!” – Mary
Name the top 3 things you take always from the trip.
“1) real life science
2) amazing networking
3) incredible personal experience” – Dave M.
How do you plan on implementing what you’ve learned with your students in the classroom?
“As we were covering the curriculum portion of the workshop I was making notes of which lessons I will use for which class and which month I will cover that topic.” – Bonnie
What advice would you give to next years participants as they begin work on the culminating project that is presented on the last day?
“Choose a topic you find interesting and connected to what you teach. Also, don’t get disappointed if the data doesn’t support your hypothesis. Very valid and interesting findings that have scientific importance don’t always support your initial findings. Have fun too and enjoy working with amazing group of educators and scientists” – Melissa
Any thoughts about being one of the scientists on this voyage?
“For the next group of educators and researchers – get ready for the experience of a lifetime!
Not having done research on a ship before I was not sure what to expect. However, I was quickly surprised by the abilities we had through the technology available. I was most surprised though by the enthusiasm of the educators to learn, and just how quickly they did so. What a great team!
Be prepared to be busy. Our agenda was action packed! Also, be prepared for things to not go as planned. You will be, after all, on a boat and outside, and subject to the weather and many things outside your control.
If you keep an open mind though and embrace the opportunity, you will have the time of your life. I know I did, and the data collected and lessons taught I hope will aid to transform the educators on this journey with me and the next generation of young scientists they have in the classroom.” -Dr. Steve Mauro
It certainly was an honor and privilege to have been part of something bigger than ourselves. However, our work is actually just beginning. As educators who have experienced something very special, it is now our obligation to bring this experience to life for our students and communities. We’d like to thank each and every person who had a hand in creating such a fantastic learning experience. It truly was “once in a lifetime!” Jon & Steve