Sailing for Science

Sixteen educators from Wisconsin and Minnesota immersed themselves in Lake Michigan science last August, and learned more about the communities along it as well as new technologies for use in their classrooms. 

They departed from the Port of Milwaukee aboard the replica three-masted wooden schooner S/V Denis Sullivan for five days as part of a unique professional development work – shop offered by the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network’s Center for Great Lakes Literacy with financial support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program. 

“I’ve never been on anything like this before, it’s been an extraordinary experience, really an experience of a lifetime. What an important opportunity for educators to learn about the Great Lakes watershed, especially Lake Michigan watershed and how it impacts the communities and all coastal communities,” said Brian Henrickson, a seventh-grade life science teacher in Two Rivers, during an interview with WBAY television. 

The educators visited the ports of Sheboygan, Port Washington and Two Rivers to study degraded water quality, coastal erosion, environmental restoration and commercial fishing history. They even took part in the dedication of a new park in Two Rivers. 

“I think so often our students don’t even realize the effect that this lake has on our everyday life and I want to bring that to life for them. I want them to understand, I want them to love this lake, I want them to become caretakers of it and to really want to preserve it and keep it as best we can,” said Jody Henseler, a seventh-grade science teacher in Manitowoc. 

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