It was a perfect, cool evening Tuesday for Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center to team up with the Portage Lake District Library for a night of hands-on activities for families to participate in the program, ??Learn How Scientists Study the Great Lakes.??
??It??s much easier to do than to just read about something, or just hear about it,?? said Director of Science and Environmental Outreach, Joan Chadde. ??So, we really like to make these things hands-on. You can use multiple senses, so they get to see, they get to hear. That??s the stuff that kids will remember.??
Kids like Houghton fifth grader, Madison Golde, who tried her hand steering an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle, or ROV.
??I was driving it around underneath the water with the camera, and I saw a fish and we found a big paper,?? she said.
The ROV was created and constructed by Dollar Bay High School students, who were on hand to teach how to guide it through the water. But their machine isn??t just for showing off; it??s being put to real-life use in Lake Superior.
??Currently, we??re associating with the rangers at Isle Royale, and they??re using them to look for zebra mussels, which are an invasive species underneath ships,?? explained Dollar Bay senior, Alexander Provoast.
??When you go down there, you could see shipwrecks, if there??s anything down there, or neat rocks, fish that you wouldn??t originally catch or anything,?? added Golde.
Kids also had the chance to take a trip on Michigan Tech??s research vessel, The Agassiz, to learn about Great Lakes aquatic species, and even learned about what makes a boat float by building one of their own. It??s all in the name of science and teaching kids at a young age how to explore the ecosystems around them.
??Our goal is to have them be responsible citizens and also to enjoy, appreciate, and understand the Great Lakes,?? said Chadde.