Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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August 19, 2013

Teaching some teachers

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — While their students enjoyed summer vacation, 12 science teachers, two special education teachers and one high school librarian from across New York state spent a week learning about the ecology of Lake Ontario. 

Grade 5 through 12 educators from 13 school districts were part of the Great Lakes Field Experiences Lake Ontario Workshop for watershed educators in July. The event was led by New York Sea Grant Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske.

“This workshop is designed to help promote the stewardship, protection and restoration of coastal areas by sharing meaningful watershed system experiences with teachers that they can use to inspire their students,” Domske said.

The annual workshop uses NOAA Excite, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate curricula focused on the Great Lakes watershed. The four-day workshop included sessions at SUNY Oswego, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, the Lake Ontario dunes system in Oswego and Jefferson counties, the USGS Lake Ontario Biological Field Station in Oswego and the Cornell University Biological Field Station in Bridgeport.

Dr. Maureen Walsh, one of three research scientists at the USGS Lake Ontario Biological Field Station, provided the group with an overview of the scope of research being conducted there. 

“Our research is focused on Great Lakes ecology. This year we have a new collaborative project assessing the entire food web from bacteria to top predators like salmon. The staff here are involved in fish diet studies, tracking restoration of native fishes and assessing the impact of invasive species,” Walsh said.

Captain Terry Lewchanin and Chief Engineer Ted Strang provided the teachers with a tour of the station’s 70-foot research vessel used for day and night sampling on the lake.

Living Environment teacher Timothy Lanighan of Newfane High School was one of the educators who participated.

“This workshop provides resources, ideas and contacts that will help the development of Newfane’s new environmental science advanced placement curricula,” he said.

Teachers interested in participating in the 2014 Lake Ontario learning week can contact Domske at 645-3610.

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