Shipboard Science Day 3, Lake Huron 2017

July 10, 2017

Greetings from Alpena, MI! Melanie (follow me at @mmyau1 on Twitter) and Sarah here as guest bloggers today. We may have sea legs, but they are not helpful on land! We had a jammed packed day in port today…so let’s get started!

We’re Fish Married! Sarah (L) and Melanie (R) are the guest bloggers today.

Today we learned about the importance of collaboration between the community, educators and most importantly students. With this model called the Placed-Based Education we saw examples of how students help shape museum exhibits and how they used their own ROVs to release trout fry. Bringing the community into the education process is beneficial to both the students and community members. It was great to see how place-based education can connect students with local community partners to create education experiences in their backyard.

If you want ideas of how to implement Placed-Based Education in your classroom go to this website.

Besser Museum (491 Johnson Street, Alpena, MI 49707)

We explored the fossil park with limestone from Lafarge Quarry. What we found fascinating is this exhibit was created through collaboration with local elementary school children.

Great Lakes educators digging for fossils in the student created fossil exhibit in Besser Museum.

Just a little further in the museum grounds we saw the active restoration of Katherine V, a 1920s fishing boat from Roger’s City, MI. Can you believe this ship was abandoned for over 30 years before the Besser Museum got it!

Restoring the Katherine V at Besser Museum.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Research Station

At the DNR we learned about how the resident scientist ages fish from catches around Lake Huron using cross sections from the spine or bones from the head.  This data is used to inform us of local fisheries production, which can be useful to commercial, local, and public entities. Next, we headed on board the Tanner to see how DNR works out in the field.

Tanner is the vessel DNR uses to collect predator fish samples from Lake Huron.

It was interesting after touring both the Katherine V (built in the 1920’s) and the Tanner (built in the 2010s) both used similar net gathering contraptions. The only difference is that the Katherine V’s used air to power the net gathering versus the Tanner has a hydraulic powered net gathering.

Hydraulic powered on the Tanner!

Tuffy Cross telling us about the air powered gill net puller.

NOAA Marine Sanctuary – Thunder Bay (500 West Fletcher Street, Alpena, MI 49707)

After a zero-waste lunch (using cloth napkins and proper plates and silverware), we had some time to explore the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. The most interesting exhibit was on the shipwrecks in Thunder Bay, they even have a glass-bottom boat tour to see the shipwrecks!

Then it was off to the makerspace to built underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicles). The finished ROVs competed in the practice pool to move items into a designated area. It was definitely harder than it looks…props to the participants in the Great Lakes Regional Mate ROV Competition!

Melanie build this underwater ROV faster than Andy!

Great Lakes educators getting competitive with their underwater ROVs!

Along the Thunder River, Kristin showed us how to use the Hydrolab to analyze water quality data, including temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, etc. A high school teacher from Michigan City, IN told us about how she uses the Hydrolab with her freshman biology students to get them more involved and interested in their local resources.

Kristin showing us how to set up the Hydrolab for on-site water quality testing.

We’re still in port tonight and will be leaving bright and early tomorrow towards Ocqueoc. Bye Alpena, you were a great host!

We’re all a bunch of shipwrecks!