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The EPA Research Vessel Lake Guardian. (Photo courtesy of Michael Milligan)
The EPA Research Vessel Lake Guardian. (Photo courtesy of Michael Milligan)

NT teacher among 15 to learn from scientists & NY Sea Grant aboard EPA Research Vessel Lake Guardian on Lake Ontario


Wed, Jun 14th 2023 07:20 pm

2023 Great Lakes Shipboard Science Workshop is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Submitted by New York Sea Grant

Melissa Elliott, a biology teacher at North Tonawanda High School, is among the 15 educators from five Great Lakes states who will become scientists during the 2023 Lake Ontario Shipboard Science Workshop aboard the U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) Research Vessel Lake Guardian.

This unique professional development workshop hosted by New York Sea Grant (NYSG) will take place July 6-12. The ship will depart from Rochester and make shore stops in Youngstown and Oswego.

Elliott teaches biology in an integrated co-teaching classroom and through a program for at-risk high school students in the North Tonawanda School District.

Elliott and teachers from six other New York-bases schools, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin will learn alongside scientists from the U.S. EPA GLNPO, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Cornell University, and the Great Lakes Research Consortium (GLRC), including GLRC director and preeminent harmful algal bloom researcher Gregory L. Boyer, Ph.D.

NYSG Great Lakes Literacy Specialist Nate Drag will guide the teachers in developing lesson plans and curricula to take back to their classrooms to inspire students. Among their activities, the group will take part in water sampling and be able to analyze the samples in on-board laboratories.

"This unique hands-on learning experience increases teachers' understanding of the Great Lakes' unparalleled value, and fosters creation of personalized teaching resources to spark student interest in the world's largest surface freshwater system," Drag said.

"Our watershed informs our values, culture and identity, and gives us the resources we need to survive. I am excited for this unique opportunity to experience the Great Lakes so that I can uncover the beauty of our water for myself, my students and others around me," Elliott said.

"Following this experience, I will ground my lessons in Great Lakes curriculum, lead students on stewardship projects directly related to our water, and share my experience with students, teachers, my friends and family, so that they may share in my passion and knowledge," Elliott added.

This Shipboard Science Workshop is supported with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding, through an interagency agreement by the U.S. EPA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Sea Grant Office. Learn more at www.epa.gov/great-lakes-monitoring/lake-guardian and www.epa.gov/great-lakes-monitoring/cooperative-science-and-monitoring-initiative.csmi.

New York Sea Grant (www.nyseagrant.org) leads the Lake Ontario Shipboard Science Workshop in cooperation with the Center for Great Lakes Literacy (www.cgll.org). NYSG is a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State of New York and one of 34 university-based programs in the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program.

North Tonawanda High School biology teacher Melissa Elliott is among the 15 teachers selected for the 2023 Lake Ontario Shipboard Science Workshop led by New York Sea Grant aboard the U.S. EPA Research Vessel Lake Guardian. (Photo courtesy of M. Elliott)

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