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Ohio Educators Chosen to Join Sea Grant Aboard EPA’s Research Vessel on Lake Erie | Ohio Sea Grant

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Ohio Educators Chosen to Join Sea Grant Aboard EPA’s Research Vessel on Lake Erie

12:00 pm, Tue June 25, 2024 – Five Ohio educators from across the state have been selected to be a part of the 2024 Shipboard Science Workshop on Lake Erie

Columbus, Ohio Five Ohio educators from across the state have been selected to be a part of the 2024 Shipboard Science Workshop on Lake Erie.

Ethan Jessing and Amanda Miller from Toledo, Alyssa Mills from Cleveland, Adam Philpott from Pickerington, and Lara Roketenetz from Akron will board the R/V (Research Vessel) Lake Guardian in partnership with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct hands-on scientific exploration on Lake Erie.

a large ship

The Lake Guardian is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency research vessel operated by the Chicago-based U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO).

They will participate in this year’s workshop with ten other educators from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. They will live and conduct critical research aboard the R/V Lake Guardian from July 7-13 alongside other scientists, with stops throughout the week, including Put-in-Bay, Ohio at Stone Laboratory, Ohio State’s island campus.

Ethan Jessing teaches 5th and 6th grade science at Hull Prairie Intermediate School and works as an overnight “Snooze Guide” at the Toledo Zoo. “I’m passionate about this region, as it is my home and where I spend my time,” he said. He looks forward to expanding on his work in the classroom during the experience and hopes to return with innovative ideas to use in his work, including his Nature of STEM class, the community service initiative Project RIPPLES (Responsible Initiatives for Preservation, Protection, Learning, and Environmental Sustainability), and the after-school Turtle Protectors club he leads.

Amanda Miller, an Experience Manager at Toledo’s Imagination Station, has a long history with the R/V Lake Guardian: “When I was twelve, I had the chance to tour the research vessel Lake Guardian while it was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as my dad was working as part of the crew. The wet lab and equipment on the vessel sparked my interest in aquatic research and is the reason I pursued my college degree,” she said. “Today, my dad is back working as part of the crew, and getting the opportunity to complete the full circle of spark of interest to experiencing science in that same place is amazing, but to do it with my dad there too is a dream come true.”

crew surround equipment on a ship

Photo credit: U.S. EPA

Alyssa Mills works at Ohio Natural Areas & Preserves Association and Killbuck Watershed Land Trust, where she leads environmental education for learners of all ages and contributes to research initiatives on microplastics and environmental dynamics. She is also a graduate student working on her master’s thesis in Plant Health Management at The Ohio State University in Wooster. Of her work in environmental research, she says, the research focus “aligns with my passion for promoting Great Lakes literacy, allowing me to integrate cutting-edge research findings into my educational programs.”

Adam Philpott frequently uses the Great Lakes in his curriculum as a biology and AP Environmental Science teacher at Pickerington North High School. “We use the Maumee River and Toledo as a case study for issues caused by excess agricultural runoff. When discussing water pollution, I incorporate news footage from the ‘70s to show the Cuyahoga River fire, and news stories where they declared Lake Erie ‘dead,’ he said. He plans to use content and datasets collected during the workshop to enrich the classes he teaches.

Lara Roketenetz is a director at the University of Akron Field Station, where she educates students in kindergarten through college about wetlands and watersheds. She has started outreach programs for high school students on biomimicry that encourage involvement in advocacy projects on plastic pollution. “I had the privilege of growing up on a lake in the summer in Michigan,” she says. “(It) was my playground for catching crayfish, finding rocks and fossils, and snorkeling around looking for mussels. I know not every kid gets anything even close to that experience, but it is my hope to at least share the wonders of the Great Lakes with my visiting students from (kindergarten through) college.”

Each year, a Shipboard Science Workshop is hosted by the Center for Great Lakes Literacy (CGLL) on one of the Great Lakes in rotation. Through a partnership with EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and with funding from Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, educators will spend a full week alongside researchers aboard the EPA R/V Lake Guardian. Hosts for the Lake Erie workshop are Center for Great Lakes Literacy partners Ohio Sea Grant and Pennsylvania Sea Grant educators.

More information on the 2024 Shipboard Science Workshop can be found on the Center for Great Lakes Literacy website.

Ohio Sea Grant is supported by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, and NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 34 Sea Grant programs nation-wide dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. Stone Laboratory is Ohio State’s island campus on Lake Erie and is the research, education, and outreach facility of Ohio Sea Grant and part of CFAES School of Environment and Natural Resources.

ARTICLE TITLE: Ohio Educators Chosen to Join Sea Grant Aboard EPA’s Research Vessel on Lake Erie PUBLISHED: 12:00 pm, Tue June 25, 2024 | MODIFIED: 12:13 pm, Wed June 26, 2024
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Alexia Vaughn
Authored By: Alexia Vaughn
Communications Intern, Ohio Sea Grant College Program  FIND MORE TAGGED as EDUCATIONAL, FEATURED