The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Lake Guardian – Day Three

Today was the third day of my voyage, second day actually at sea. And really, today was much like yesterday, but not quite as busy. We had four sampling stations instead of six, and because we are all old pros at running the stations, things seemed to go much smoother. I still haven’t gotten to use the PONAR, though. Yesterday it was too shallow, then they had too much from previous samples, then it was too dark. Today it was too shallow and then too shallow again. Maybe tomorrow or Thursday I’ll finally get to do it and play in the mud!

I did get to go out on the Rosette deck this morning and help collect water samples for analysis. I got to filter the lake water and run tests on a sample for pH, alkalinity, conductivity, and hardness. Jackie, our excellent Rosette master (I don’t know her actual job) did a wonderful job teaching us what to do, and then she left us to get the work done!

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When not actively collecting or analysing samples, we spent our time listening to lectures about invasive species, green algae and blue-green algae (which isn’t actually an algae at all, but rather a cyanobacteria), and the history of Lake Ontario specifically. We also had a few curriculum sharing circles, during which a few teachers would share lessons they have taught related to the Great Lakes. (In my case, though, the lesson I shared was one that I plan on teaching this coming year as I try to incorporate Great Lakes Literacy into my science curriculum.) Most of the teachers on board work at the middle or high school level, but I have gotten a lot of great ideas that I can adapt to my classroom!

We don’t really have “down time” on the ship, but there are some times when we are not as busy as others. During these rare moments of calm, we are often engaged in activities like creating and updating concept maps, writing in journals, reading scholarly papers, writing posts for the CGLL blog, or checking in with family via email. I also got to go into the pilot house to talk with the First Mate and learn about how the Lake Guardian actually operates. He was very personable and didn’t seem the least bit annoyed with any of our questions, even simple ones like, “How do you turn the ship?” and “What do you do when you are on an intercept course with a sailboat?”

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Today was also my first time going into one of the science labs, where I got to use a microscope to examine phytoplankton and zooplankton samples. It was really neat! (Unfortunately, the space is too crowded to get any good pictures.) I also got to look at green algae and blue-green algae that Dr. Boyer identified. Here are some of the zooplankton I looked at:

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The sky was finally clear enough that we got to watch the sun set over the lake! Several of us gathered on the O1 deck to get a picture.

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Tomorrow we will go into port in Clayton and spend most of the day on shore before heading back onto the lake. It should be an exciting day!

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