Fall 2017 eNewsletter

Outreach Spotlight

Connecting with Great Lakes Communities – the Many Faces of Science Outreach

The days of science remaining in the boundaries of a university campus are something of the past. Not only has research become more collaborative and global, but the relationship between scientists and the public has become extremely important. For this reason, CIGLR has committed to expand our science outreach efforts across the Great Lakes basin.

CIGLR’s outreach mission is to connect with communities and work with them to solve the complex problems facing the Great Lakes. This summer CIGLR made connections with several new communities in the Great Lakes region as well as reconnected with many familiar faces. We work closely with our NOAA partners, especially the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), to deliver hands-on access to our Great Lakes research.

CIGLR’s Outreach Specialist, Michele Wensman, says what makes her most excited is the public’s engagement with our staff and scientists. “The idea is to educate, motivate, and have a conversation about our greatest freshwater resource. Many people claim they do not know a lot about the Great Lakes until you ask them which is their favorite or when they spin the colorful Great Lakes trivia spinning wheel at our booth. Then, we get to talking about family history, vacations, fishing, and how traditions are handed down through generations. The stories and memories surrounding their experiences on the Great Lakes are fantastic! People also share their concerns and begin asking questions. It is the perfect time to talk about our research.”

CIGLR’s outreach program participates in local, regional, and international events. “The more people we can reach and the more we share our common bond about the Great Lakes, whether it be through research or recreation, the greater our success is together throughout the region,” says Wensman. “CIGLR is always coming up with something new for our outreach efforts. We look forward to connecting with even more Great Lakes communities in the future and hope to continue inspiring and encouraging a culture of Great Lakes stewardship. If you see us at an event, stop by and say hello!”

To learn more about CIGLR’s outreach program, follow this link: https://ciglr.seas.umich.edu/outreach-education/eco-program/

Follow CIGLR’s highlighted outreach events through this photo documentary.
International Association for Great Lakes Research Conference (IAGLR) – May 15-19, 2017 – Detroit, Michigan

IAGLR is a scientific organization of researchers that study the large lakes of the world. Annually, this group holds a conference on Great Lakes research that alternates between a United States and Canadian location. Hundreds of scientists, students, and other professionals from various disciplines attend.

Thumb Area STEAM Showcase – May 11, 2017 – Bad Axe, Michigan

The STEAM showcase is a community festival located in the “Thumb” area of Michigan. This festival celebrates the talents of local K-12 students in the areas Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). It is a highly interactive event with many hands-on science activities, robotics stations, and creature features. Thousands of families, educators, and agency members attend.

Mayor’s Green Fair – June 9, 2017 – Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Ann Arbor mayor’s office hosts an annual Green Fair to celebrate the community’s environmental leadership. Environmental information and how-to-live-green materials are made available via displays and hands-on activities. Hundreds of local citizens, nonprofits, governments, and businesses attend.

Huron River Day – July 9, 2017 – Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Huron River Day celebration encourages partnerships among local governments, foundations, and nonprofit organizations to educate citizens about the importance of water quality and the preservation of our natural resources. Nearly 2,500 people from the surrounding community attend!

Soo Locks Engineer’s Weekend – June 30 – July 1, 2017 – Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

Each year at the end of June, the Soo Locks in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan opens up for a family friendly festival celebrating the Great Lakes and the engineering marvel that is the lock system (the largest waterway traffic system on earth). Visitors have the opportunity to meet Great Lakes engineers and scientists as well as enjoy a once-per-year sneak peek of what goes on behind the scenes at the Soo Locks. Nearly 10,000 people from around the world attend.

Healing Our Waters Conference (HOW) – October 17-19, 2017 – Buffalo, New York

Healing Our Waters (HOW)-Great Lakes Coalition brings together a diverse group of more than 400 people from throughout the Great Lakes region. HOW conference participants learn about issues and develop plans for Great Lakes restoration as well as network with one of the largest groups of Great Lakes supporters and advocates.