Ecology of the Great Lakes course at Michigan Tech


Water Festival Program PDF

Water Festival Flyer PDF

Archive of Lake Superior Water Festival 2012

Great Lakes Teacher Resource List


2013 Lake Superior Water Festival
at Great Lakes Research Center
Thursday, October 17

High school students from the five western UP counties will spend today at Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center, learning about the Great Lakes, water research and careers they might consider in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Water Festival is sponsored by the Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education, based at Michigan Tech.

Presentations start at 8:45 a.m., in the GLRC and continue until 2:50 p.m.

More than a dozen scientists, students and representatives of groups involved in Great Lakes conservation will make presentations to the high schoolers. They include professor Marty Auer (CEE); Associate Professor Nancy Auer (BioSci); Assistant Professor Nina Mahmoudian (ME-EM); Operations Manager Robert Handler (SFI); director of operations Mike Abbott (GLRC); Adam Johnson, assistant director of corporate partnerships; Andrea Bal, Engineers Without Borders; Chad Norman, environmental science educator; Anika Kuczynski and Jen Fuller, environmental engineering graduate students; Karena Schmidt, laboratory supervisor (SFRES); SOAR Dollar Bay High School Enterprise students; Lake Superior kayakers Matt and Hannah Abbotts; and Nathan Miller and Pat Toczydlowski, Keweenaw Land Trust.

The goals of the Water Festival are to motivate high school students to study STEM fields in college, to introduce them to a variety of STEM and Great Lakes-related careers, to encourage Great Lakes stewardshp and to showcase Michigan Tech's new Great Lakes Research Center.

The Water Festival is funded by the Michigan Space Grant Consortium, Michigan Tech Center for Water & Society, and Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative and coordinated by Michigan Tech Center

2013 Water Festival Activity Descriptions

GUPPIE & ROUGHIE: Autonomous Underwater Swimmers
Meet our favorite two new members of Michigan Tech’s Nonlinear and Autonomous Systems Laboratory - GUPPIE  (a Glider for Underwater Problem-solving and Promotion of Interest in Engineering) and ROUGHIE (a Research-Oriented Underwater Glider for Hands-on Investigative Engineering).  If you have an interest in robotics, climate change, Great Lakes ecology, electronics and surveillance, or just curious about how scientists study life underneath the surface of Lake Superior - you will want to meet GUPPIE and ROUGHIE, and see these two platforms in action. How cool is that?  

Dr. Nina Mahmoudian, Dept of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics & MTU students

Protecting Water Quality through Land Stewardship & Conservation
Pat Toczydlowski and Nathan Miller, Keweenaw Land Trust

Remotely Operated Vehicles
Find out how this high school group designed their own remotely-operated vehicles and used them to train Isle Royale National Park rangers to monitor underwater for aquatic invasive species, especially the zebra mussel.

SOAR Dollar Bay High School Enterprise (Student Organization for Aquatic Robotics)

Kayaking Around Lake Superior the Largest Body of Freshwater (by surface area) on the Planet
Matt and Hannah Abbotts circumnavigated Lake Superior in sea kayaks in 2009. Although neither were experienced sea kayakers, the couple was drawn to the big lake and the challenges of an expedition. After five months of planning, Matt and Hannah embarked on a 72-day paddle around Lake Superior. The adventure provided them with many stories to share, and was the inspiration for future expeditions on large bodies of freshwater around the world.

Matt & Hannah Abbotts, Adventurers

Sturgeon Ecology

View live sturgeon and examine the sampling gear used in scientific research. Learn about sturgeon ecology---food preferences, reproduction, life stages, and habitat requirements. We’ll discuss the important role of sturgeon in Native American culture and the relative abundance of sturgeon across the five Great Lakes.

Dr. Nancy Auer, MTU Dept of Biological Sciences

What Can Aquatic Critters Tell Us About the Health of the Great Lakes?
Students will identify phytoplankton and zooplankton, and benthic organisms collected from the Portage Waterway and discover what they tell us about lake health.  

Dr. Marty Auer, Dept of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Michigan Tech University

Kayaking Around Lake Baikal: Diving Deep into the Largest Body of Freshwater (by volume) on the Planet
Join Matt and Hannah Abbotts for a kayak trip on Lake Baikal. After circumnavigating Lake Superior, they were inspired to continue undertaking  expeditions  on large bodies of freshwater around the world.

Matt & Hannah Abbotts, Adventurers

How Do Scientists Assess the Health of the Great Lakes?
How do scientists assess the health of the Great Lakes? Join an environmental engineer as he demonstrates how to sample water from different water depths, collect plankton from the water column, sample the lake bottom sediments, and assess water clarity with a secchi disc.

Marcel Dijkstra, PhD student, and Nicole Wehner, MTU undergrad student, Dept of Civil & Environmental Engineering  
Location: GLRC dock to board R/V Agassiz

Sparkling Water
Students will define wastewater, identify the drains in their home and the variety of wastes that go down the drain, then  become “environmental engineers” as they try to clean the wastewater. Would you drink this “cleaned” wastewater?!!  They do in space and in Los Angeles!!

Anika Kuczynski,  Jennifer Fuller, and Keenan Murray, PhD students, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Environmental Monitoring with Smart Phones
Learn about the dangers of non-biodegradable aquatic debris and see how scientists are using the newest mobile technology to address these issues.

Chad Norman, Science & Technology Outreach Specialist, Western UP Center for Science, Math & Environmental Educ.

Engaging the Public Using Technology & Social Media
Find out how to effectively get the word out to the public about Great Lakes stewardship and other important information about understanding threats to our water resources and motivate your audience to take action using social media. 

Adam Johnson, Owner, Brockit, Inc.

Engineers Without Borders Serving Less Developed Countries
Find out how this student organization is helping communities around the world to design and build water systems to provide clean water that improves the quality of life by reducing illness and increasing crop productivity. Then try designing a water tower using the fewest building materials possible that will support the most load. 

Andrea Bal, Engineers Without Borders student chapter, Michigan Technological University












Native Use of Great Lakes Plants

The use of native plants for food, medicine and utilitarian purposes is becoming increasingly appreciated as consuming local foods is becoming more mainstream, current medical technology verifies the effectiveness of herbal medicines and an appreciation for using both timber and non-timber resources in art and construction gains appeal.  Students participating in this session will be introduced to a variety of plants growing on Lake Superior's south shore and learn how indigenous peoples utilized these plants and how this ancient wisdom continues to have practical import today
Karena Schmidt, Naturalist, MTU School of Forest Resources & Environmental Sciences,

Aquaponics: Cleaning Water by Growing Fish and Veggies Together!
Aquaponics is a system of farming where aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) are combined to help both grow better than they could by themselves!  Visit an aquaponics system in a greenhouse on campus that is growing tilapia and vegetables, and find out why this method of growing food is “sustianable.”

Dr. Robert Handler, Sustainable Futures Institute, Michigan Tech University


2013 Lake Superior Water Festival

The Water Festival is made possible with grants from the
Michigan Space Grant Consortium,
Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative,
and MTU Center for Water & Society