Educators from Wisconsin and Minnesota are part of a workshop this week aboard the S/V Denis Sullivan, bound for Duluth for the Tall Ships Festival.

The workshop offered by the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network's Center for Great Lakes Literacy with financial support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has local educators on a six-day, five-night trip that begins in Milwaukee and ends in Duluth when the Sullivan sails into the harbor as part of the Duluth Tall Ships Festival's Parade of Sail.

Five educators will be instructed by seven peers who have experience using Great Lakes science concepts and lessons in their classrooms, and by scientists and Sea Grant staff. The scientific theme of the voyage is water quality, food webs and zooplankton community composition in the Upper Great Lakes. Aboard ship, the educators will gain firsthand experience in freshwater ecology, Great Lakes maritime history and sailing, and how the Great Lakes function.

Participants work alongside Denis Sullivan crew members on a four- to five-hour watch and share in every component of the voyage, including raising and lowering sails, dropping and pulling up the anchor, swabbing the decks and even cleaning the heads (bathrooms).

To be chosen for the cruise, the teachers needed to provide a compelling statement about how the workshop could improve their ability to teach scientific concepts and use them in their classroom. They also had to be willing to share sleeping quarters and be able to climb and descend stairs with a 60-degree incline.

The five educators are Anthony Rosero of Trowbridge School of Discovery and Technology, Milwaukee; Shelly Rudnick-Peterson, Menasha High School; Karla Schuessler of White Lake Elementary School; Robin Reckinger of Superior Middle School; and Kurt Drengler of Myers-Wilkins Elementary, Duluth.

The seven mentors are Lynn Kurth of Prairie River Middle School, Merrill, Wis.; Cindy Byers of Rosholt Middle School; Michele Huppert of Menomonie High School; Lori Wester of Cromwell-Wright High School in Minnesota; Janet Huewe of Red Lake High School in Minnesota; John Weimholt of Hazel Park Preparatory Academy, St. Paul, Minn.; and James Olson of Myers-Wilkins Elementary School.

The S/V Denis Sullivan is the world's only re-creation of a 19th century three-masted Great Lakes schooner and it serves as a modern educational sailing vessel.

The cruise is organized by staff members from the Minnesota and Wisconsin Sea Grant programs and the Denis Sullivan.