Field Trip Descriptions

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Field Trips
(3 hours, mornings/ afternoons, Friday and Saturday, May 18-19)

Read the descriptions of the field trips and presentations to be offered. Select five field trips and ten presentations that you would be most interested in attending. Mark your selections on your registration form. We will do our best to schedule you for at least one of your field trip selections, and two of your presentation selections.

Most of the field trips and presentations will only allow 20 students per session, and will only be offered once or twice during the symposium. Symposium participants will be scheduled for one field trip and 5-6 presentations. If you signed up for the Issues Forum, Great Lakes Quiz Bowl, or Poetry/Prose/Short Stories student projects, you will be scheduled to participate in these during one of your presentation slots.

History of the Lake Superior Region

1. The Cultural and Environmental Legacy of Lake Superior Copper Mining

Ed Yarbrough, Quincy Mine Hoist Association, Hancock, MI

Bat habitat in abandoned mines, the transformation of a settling pond to a wetland, and forest regeneration after a hundred years of logging are just some of the issues that challenge today's stewards of the lakes and land. How do we preserve this industrial heritage and encourage recovery of these ecosystems?

2. Historical Landscapes—Should They Be Protected?

John Rosemurgy, historic architect, Keweenaw National Historic Park

This session will provide an introduction to the role of historic architecture and preservation in maintaining community character and a link to our past. The Keweenaw National Historic Park was created to protect the cultural structures and landscapes that connect us to the history of the Keweenaw copper mining legacy. Session participants will compare the goals of a national park and a national historic park, and learn the role of a historic architect in defining and preserving the viewshed and cultural resources of an area. After viewing slides of historic architecture and land uses, participants will visit and develop a plan for a historic mine site on the Keweenaw waterway. Lastly, participants will design and construct their own building façade model, inspired by historic Keweenaw architecture.


3. Land & Water Conservation Strategies at Freda Cliffs Easement

Dr. Tina Hall, Keweenaw Peninsula Program Director, The Nature Conservancy

Students will hike a beautiful stretch of Lake Superior shoreline and learn first-hand about conservation strategies for preserving land by visiting a diverse set of natural communities. What does The Nature Conservancy (TNC) do? How can private landowners assist in conservation? Find out about volunteer, intern, and job opportunities with The Nature Conservancy.

4. The Lake Superior Challenge—Team Building

Sharon Tyrell, Training Coordinator, Human Resources, Michigan Technological University

Solving natural resource concerns is a group challenge. It requires teamwork, creative thinking, flexibility, and empathy for other people's perspectives. Are you up to the challenge? Try Michigan Tech's outdoor challenge course, where participants work in groups of 12 to solve a variety of hypothetical and fun challenges. Participants will learn problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership techniques as they work together to get their group safely over an imaginary raging river, or evacuate a hypothetical forest fire, or prevent a brimming can of toxics (actually water!) from spilling into Lake Superior. This ropes course has both ground-based elements and a 'high elements' course that gets participants 30 feet up in the air (with appropriate harnesses and safety gear, of course!).

5. Community Appearance and the Environment

Sandra Ryack-Bell, Dunn Foundation, Warwick, Rhode Island

Each community has its own special qualities that make it unique. But visual pollution is creeping in, changing the appearance and character of many small towns. Students will investigate how community apearance can impact the health and future of the Great Lakes watersheds. As we travel around the Houghton-Hancock area, we'll explore the changes in the built and natural environment that have taken place over the past ten years. Learn about techniques, such as digital photography, that can be used to document visual changes.

Writing, Photography & Art

6. Slogging Around The Keweenaw

Susan Rosemurgy, artist, Hancock, MI

What is a SLOG? A SLOG is a science log that contains your observations, thoughts, drawings, and doodles. Slogging is the recording of your observations and feelings about the natural world. On this field trip, students will visit a variety of inspiring locations in the Keweenaw and learn how to use nature journaling techniques to record their experiences.

7. Photographing Nature

Jim Junttila, photographer, writer and outdoorsman, Laurium, MI

What are the techniques used to create a photograph that tells a story or communicates an idea? Learn to take photographs that are truly worth a thousand words. Students will shoot an entire roll of film using a disposable camera. Students will maintain a photographic record of each shot, so they can compare the effects of the different photographic techniques used. Cameras will be provided. The film will be developed and photographs returned to students before the end of the symposium.

8. Landscapes of the Lake Superior Region

Stephen Smith, social studies & English teacher, Hancock High School, Hancock, MI

Students will explore the visual landscapes of Lake Superior using photography, architecture, paintings, and literature. Students will learn how to “read” the artist's message in photographs and paintings, using the vocabulary of literature. This presentation will enhance your observational skills and broaden your appreciation for the lake.


9. The Wavy Earth —Earth Tides, Seiches & Underground Lakes

Dr. Stan Vitton, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University

Learn about Earth tides, measure a Lake Superior seiche, and visit the Quincy Mine in Hancock to see one of the largest and deepest underground lakes, a remnant of past copper mining. Great Lakes seiches can leave boats high and dry, or cause drownings, with no warning or change in weather. This field trip includes a presentation, and two field trip stops where students will use engineering equipment to measure seiches in the Portage Canal and Earth tides in the Quincy Mine.

10. Collecting Copper in the Keweenaw

Dr. George Robinson, curator, Seaman Mineral Museum, Michigan Technological University

The Keweenaw Peninsula is famous for its deposits of naturally occurring metallic copper. These deposits were formed over a billion years ago, when hot, aqueous solutions flowed through open fissures and porous layers of conglomerate and basalt, depositing the copper as they cooled. This resulted in three different kinds of deposits or lodes: fissure veins, conglomerate lodes and amygdaloid lodes. On this field trip, we will visit sites showing each type of deposit. Be sure to bring your camera to get a picture of the four-foot long piece of copper sticking out of the rock at a fissure vein near Ahmeek. And don't forget your hammers, newspaper (for wrapping), notebooks and knapsacks to collect samples of conglomerate, basalt, chrysocolla, copper, quartz, epidote, calcite and other minerals at the Allouez conglomerate mine and Laurium mine sites.

11. Shifting Shores and Eroding Beaches

Dr. Barb McTaggart, geologist, Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, Michigan Technological University

Lake Superior is a highly changeable lake. One of the many things that change is the lake's shoreline. We will learn about the natural processes that control shoreline positions, and observe how human activities have impacted shorelines. We will visit both eroding and building shorelines and learn how shoreline property owners can contribute to shoreline protection efforts.

Fisheries & Wildlife

12. Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Management & Keweenaw Bay Fish Hatchery Tour

Michael Donofrio, fisheries biologist, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Baraga, MI

Tour the Keweenaw Bay Indian Fish hatchery and see live stocks of brook trout being reared. You'll also learn how fish and wildlife populations are managed to provide sustainable numbers and meet the needs of tribal communities.

13. Frogs As Bioindicators—Conducting Frog Calling and Deformity Surveys

Kristan Schuster, science & math teacher, Hancock High School

Why are frogs and other amphibians considered bioindicators? What is causing declines in the frog population and frog deformities? You will learn how to identify frog species of the Lake Superior region, how to determine frog population size and distribution, and conduct a frog deformity survey at a nearby wetland. Ribbet!

14. Blood Suckers (Sea Lamprey) of the Misery River

Mary Henson, fisheries biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Marquette Biological Station

Students will learn the how, why, when, and where of sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes. Students will travel to the Misery River lamprey barrier where they'll meet with Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission personnel to service the lamprey trap. Students will count live lampreys, mark and release lampreys, collect males for sterilization, and identify and release other fish species.

15. The Art of Seeing, Hearing, & Smelling the Wilderness: Tracks, Bones, and Scat

Dr. Mary Hindelang, Education Department & School of Forestry and Wood Products, Michigan Technological University

While seeing wildlife in their natural habitat is a rare and special experience, every time we venture into the forest, we have the opportunity to experience the animals and plants that live there. Animals may be elusive, nocturnal or shy, but the evidence of their presence unfolds when we take time to notice the skeletal remains, tracks, scat and other clues. Every bone we find tells a story of the life, natural history and death of the animal, and all of the other signs and smells give us a glimpse of the world of our fellow species. On this field trip, we'll discuss wilderness tips and ethics for being a nature detective, and take a hike to search for bones, tracks, scat and other ecological clues.

16. Wildlife Research on the Sturgeon River

Dr. Nancy Auer, Department of Biological Sciences, Michigan Technological University

Find out how wildlife research is conducted on live animals, such as otters and turtles, along the Sturgeon River, a tributary of Lake Superior. What do researchers want to learn? How will this wildlife research help us to learn more about Lake Superior? We will visit several sites along the Sturgeon River to examine otter, wood turtle and lake sturgeon habitat.

17. Wolf Ecology in the North Woods

Scott and Rita Noble, School of Forestry & Wood Products, Michigan Technological University

The timber wolf abounds in the north woods. What are their habitat requirements, population distribution, and food sources? You will be involved in a variety of activities to learn about wolf adaptations, social interactions, and human threats to wolf survival.

18. Restoring a Stream & Its Trout Fishery

Dr. Dave Watkins and graduate students, Chuck Ramos and Andrea Paladino, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University

Find out how the Otter River, one of Upper Michigan's “blue-ribbon” trout streams, is being restored. After a brief presentation and laboratory demonstration of stream flow, students will visit several habitat improvement sites along the stream.

19. Monitoring Fish Populations

Dr. Casey Huckins, Department of Biological Sciences, Michigan Technological University

Students will compare the composition of fish and macroinvertebrate communities within different stream types to determine whether different land uses affect animal numbers and diversity. Students will learn how fish and macroinvertebrate populations are estimated and identified.

20. Fisheries Biologist for a Day

Bill Deephouse, fisheries biologist; Ed Pierce, fisheries technician, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Have you wondered how fisheries biologists know where the fish are? Travel to the Pilgrim River where you'll learn the characteristics of good trout habitat, how to identify different species of fish, and how electro-shocking equipment is used to measure the size and distribution of fish populations in streams and lakes.

59. Trout Habitat Restoration on the Pilgrim River

Bill Deephouse, Ray Weglarz, and Jim Junttila, Copper Country Trout Unlimited

Find out how a group of fishing buddies restored a local trout stream...through hard work, know-how, and making their voices heard. Visit the Pilgrim River to compare the habitat quality of restored and disturbed sections of the stream. Tour the habitat improvement structures that were recently installed to see how they enhance trout spawning, food availability and meet other needs of the trout life cycle.

Water Quality Of Lakes & Streams

21. Wastewater Treatment—Would You Drink This Water?

Elly Bunzendahl and Chris Edlin, graduate students, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University

We all create dirty water! But how does it get cleaned to make it safe for humans to drink again? Or clean enough to be discharged into a lake or stream where humans swim and fish live? Visit a large-scale wastewater treatment plant and a lagoon wastewater treatment system to learn about the biological, chemical, and physical processes associated with safe, effective treatment of wastewater.

22. Stream Water Quality Monitoring

Mary Markham, science & math teacher, Chassell High School, Chassell, MI

Visit the Pike River to conduct stream monitoring. Students will collect data on the biological, chemical and physical characteristics of a stream, in addition to creating a stream life food chain.

23. Compare & Contrast the Aquatic Ecosystems of Two Streams

Marty Stimac, science teacher, Hancock Middle School, Hancock, MI

Students will visit two sites: Spring Creek and an irrigation ditch, to compare the water chemistry and evaluate the number and diversity of animal specimens at each site.

24. Wetlands Around the Keweenaw

Elly Bunzendahl and Chris Edlin, graduate students, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University

Visit a variety of different types of inland and coastal wetlands in the Keweenaw Peninsula to find out the characteristics of wetland soils, to identify common wetland plant species, and to map the hydrology associated with a bog, swamp, marsh, and fen.

25. Great Lakes Areas of Concern and Torch Lake Restoration

Dan Vasher, project engineer, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

One hundred years of copper mining has left its mark on Lake Superior. Tour the Trap Rock River watershed and see one of the major sources of stamp sand sediment entering Torch Lake. Monitor the stream macroinvertebrates and copper concentrations above and below the discharge area to see the effects of the stamp sand on the biological diversity of the river. Observe the streambank and shoreline restoration techniques being used in the Trap Rock watershed and around Torch Lake.

Forest Ecology & Management

26. Microclimate and Forest Structure

Dr. Linda Nagel, School of Forestry & Wood Products, Michigan Technological University

This field trip will investigate interactions of forest structures with microenvironment, including light, moisture, and temperature. The effect of slope and aspect on these environmental variables and their relationship to vegetation will be demonstrated. Plant strategies, such as leaf type and plant growth form, will be related to the environmental conditions where plants grow.

27. Trees and Trails

James M. Schmierer, forester, School of Forestry & Wood Products, Michigan Technological University

Students will participate in a variety of hands-on activities on several forest trails. Participants will plant tree seedlings, look at tree rings to measure tree growth, identify key forest plant species, and learn about the natural history of different wildlife and plant species and the habitats they live in.

28. Forestry and Water Quality

Ralph Duffek, MSU Extension, Hancock, MI and Byron Sailor, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Baraga, MI

Learn about the relationship between forest management practices and their potential impacts on the water quality of streams and lakes. Land slopes, shading, vegetation filter strips, and streambank stabilization will be discussed. You will conduct a forest best management practices survey to evaluate the land and water conservation practices used at a recently harvested site.

29. Logging and Water Quality Protection in the Lake Superior Watershed

Mark Sherman, forester, Mead Paper Division, L'Anse, MI

Students will visit a recently harvested site to learn about water quality risks associated with logging and road-building and the new management techniques used to minimize those risks. Students will participate in hands-on activities at each site, conducted by a Mead forester and a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality water quality specialist.

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