The 5-year COSEE Great Lakes Project has led to significant knowledge gain, as well as a deeper understanding of the connection between the Great Lakes and the people in the region, including how they impact each other, according to the project’s evaluation results. COSEE Great Lakes curriculum has also enhanced teacher capabilities for accessing science information and integrating Great Lakes research into the school curriculum.

COSEE Great Lakes collaborators gathered at Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio September 24-25 to celebrate the project’s successes. COSEE (Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence) Great Lakes is a National Science Foundation- and NOAA Sea Grant-funded project that paired classroom teachers and informal educators with university and agency researchers to inspire citizens to become more scientifically literate and environmentally responsible through standards-based science curricula and programs bridging ocean and freshwater sciences. This project has brought the science of the Great Lakes to “salty” coasts, while immersing students in the Great Lakes with new ocean literacy concepts and understandings.

COSEE Great Lakes has sponsored over 60 workshops, conferences, online learning opportunities, and other events throughout all five Great Lakes, including experiences on the U.S. EPA research vessel, the R/V Lake Guardian, as well as shoreline excursions led by scientists, natural resource managers, and representatives from Native American communities. The science-based experiences provided participants with knowledge about pressing issues in the region and opportunities to gain hands-on training in data collection and analysis.

At the summit, scientists expressed appreciation for opportunities to enhance their capability to engage in educational outreach to achieve broader impact. “I realize now and appreciate that the methodology of how to apply science concepts is more important than simply just supplying the content to educators,” said Nadine Folino-Rorem, COSEE Great Lakes scientist and summit panel member, Wheaton College.

“At the summit, there was a real commitment by the 53 educators, scientists, and COSEE Great Lakes staff to further our work together to foster Great Lakes literacy,” said Rosanne Fortner, COSEE Great Lakes director. As the grant ends, the COSEE Great Lakes team will explore new funding opportunities. COSEE Great Lakes staff members, who represent Sea Grant programs from around the basin will continue to foster collaborations through professional development opportunities for educators; scientist-educator partnerships (professional education and science conferences, science labs, research vessels, and schools); and student programming.

In the photo above, the educator and scientist participants at the summit each received a certificate of appreciation.

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