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Highlights Archive
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Highlights Archive

 

GRANTEE:Teachers and Students Get a Superior Education with B-WET

Published Feb 2015


Winter water quality monitoring. Students snowshoe to collect winter water quality data with their teacher Anna Clark and staff from the Lake Superior NERR and Fond du Lac Resource Management

In 2014, the Great Lakes B-WET-funded Rivers2Lake program used year-long mentoring and in-school collaboration with teachers and researchers to integrate the Lake Superior watershed and the St. Louis River Estuary into classrooms, forming the core of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve’s education efforts.

Rivers2Lake tackles NOAA’s goal of creating a science-informed society by connecting teachers and their students to their watershed. They do this by engaging teachers and students in the process of identifying local issues, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting their findings. A 2014 example of this was at the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School on the Fond du Lac Reservation near Cloquet, MN. Regular stream monitoring by 8th grade students resulted in a professional presentation at the St. Louis River Summit, a gathering of researchers and land managers hosted by the Lake Superior NERR and Wisconsin Coastal Management. 

Using data about Otter Creek, a tributary of the St. Louis River, the students presented a valuable water quality profile of a stream that had been heavily affected by floods in 2012.  Thirteen students worked over a period of four months with NERR educators and Fond du Lac Resource Management water quality experts to collect and analyze water quality data, then create and present a poster at the St. Louis River Summit in February 2014.  During the Summit, the students spoke with officials from NOAA headquarters, EPA leadership, university students and even a National Geographic photographer. 

This work built on two successful years of implementing this comprehensive place-based education program. Evaluation data demonstrated that the program was effective in increasing teachers’ competency in using outdoor and place-based learning, as well as their sense of place, a strong indicator for stewardship behavior and program continuation.  Moreover, the students in the Rivers2Lake program have shown a significant increase in academic engagement. To date, 36 teachers and over 1200 students have participated in Rivers2Lake, and continue to work with the Reserve long after mentoring by Reserve education staff has passed.

Contributors: Cathy Green, NOAA; and Deanna Erickson, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve; Bronwen Rice, NOAA


Fond du Lac Poster Presentation. Eighth grade students from the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School present
their poster at the St. Louis River Summit


Winter data collection with eighth grade students from the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School

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