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

Lake Guardian – Day Five

Wow! I can hardly believe it is already Thursday evening! Another night, another day, a night, and a morning and then our weeklong workshop is officially over! But don’t worry; we are still working hard every day. Our team of teachers continue to come closer together to learn, to teach, to talk, and to have fun!

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We went to our second shoreline stop today in Oswego, New York. There we met up with some of the folks from the New York Sea Grant and were given a tour of the Eastern Lake Ontario Marshes Bird Conservation Area, also known as the Lake Ontario sand dunes. We got to watch the wildlife in the wetlands and explore the dunes along the coast. We were given a task to find a zebra mussel shell and a quagga mussel shell. It took me a little while to figure out the differences, but once I did, I was happy to find my samples.

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After the dunes, we went to the Salmon River Fish Hatchery to learn about efforts to reintroduce the Atlantic salmon into the Lake Ontario water system. The Atlantic salmon actually went extinct in the area, but in the 1980s, the fish hatchery started and now there are Atlantic salmon spawning naturally! It was really cool to learn how the people of New York have worked to restore their ecosystem. We were also treated to pizza for lunch, which we ate in the picnic area at the hatchery.

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Before we headed back out to sea, we had the opportunity to meet with members of the press and representatives from local legislators offices to share our experiences. Then we set off for our next station. The first station of the day was one of the shallowest areas we drew samples from, with the water measuring less than 10 meters deep! At the next station, I joined the B Team to collect a deep core sample from the bottom of the lake. (I had expressed concern that I had not yet done the PONAR sampling yet.) It was a very weird, very awesome experience to reach my arm deep into a giant container of freezing cold mud!

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As soon as I finished collecting my core sample, I was back out to work with my team. I joined another teacher on the Rosette and helped collect the water samples that we then tested and filtered. This is one of the longer processes to run, but I feel like we are getting more efficient at completing the tests.

It was a long, busy day, but, just as every other day of this trip has been, it was absolutely wonderful!  I love talking to colleagues from the Great Lakes states, sharing our experiences in our school, our goals for the coming year, and the differences and similarities among our schools in Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Tomorrow is the last full day at sea!

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