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Local educators take to the water for lessons on the Great Lakes

Two local educators were chosen for a cruise on the waters of Lake Superior this summer in the name of Great Lakes science literacy.

The teachers join 13 others from around the Great Lakes as part of a Shipboard Science Workshop aboard the R/V Lake Guardian that departs from Duluth, Minn., on Saturday for six days.

The workshop, hosted by the Center for Great Lakes Literacy, is for fourth- through tenth-grade teachers and informal educators from the Great Lakes. The teachers will work with research scientists on projects, explore lake ecology, geology, geography, weather and water quality, and they will learn about resources they can use in their classrooms.

The teachers are Lori Danz, a high school teacher from Superior, and Deanna Erickson, education coordinator for the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve in Superior.

The teachers plan to bring their new knowledge back to their classrooms and school districts.

Danz says she is looking forward to learning more about her “backyard.”

“Living on the shores of Lake Superior, I like to think I have a strong knowledge of our Great Lakes, especially Lake Superior. But every time I attend a professional development class related to the lakes, I discover there is much I do not know,” Danz said She plans on applying what she learns to the School District of Superior’s outdoor education curriculum and to share her knowledge with other teachers.

Erickson plans to use the shipboard experience to connect teachers, students and communities to the Lake Superior coast through the programs she conducts through the Reserve.

“With real experiences in the place I teach about I can better share what we have here — one of the greatest lakes on earth — in a way I never have before,” Erickson said. “Besides understanding scientific concepts and processes, I would like to be able to speak to those I teach about the experience of the Lake Superior horizon, waves, and the camaraderie aboard a vessel with a mission.”

The Shipboard Science Workshop is coordinated by the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office. Funding comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. For more information, visit