Great Lakes Region

For 50 years, the National Sea Grant College Program has worked to create and maintain a healthy coastal environment and economy. The Sea Grant network – which includes 33 programs based at top universities in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Puerto Rico, and Guam – strives to help citizens understand, conserve and better utilize America’s coastal, ocean and Great Lakes resources.  A partnership between universities and NOAA, Sea Grant directs federal resources to pressing problems in local communities. By drawing on the experience of more than 3,000 scientists, engineers, public outreach experts, educators and students from more than 300 institutions, Sea Grant is able to make an impact at local and state levels, and serve as a powerful national force for change.

This image depicts the homepage of the Center for Great Lakes Literacy.

The CGLL website offers a wealth of resources for scientists, educators and partners. Image credit: Center for Great Lakes Literacy.

Sea Grant recently partnered with the Center for Great Lakes Literacy (CGLL) on three endeavors to further Great Lakes awareness across the region.  CGLL is a collaborative effort led by Sea Grant educators throughout the Great Lakes watershed. The Center fosters informed and responsible decisions that advance basin-wide stewardship by providing hands-on experiences, educational resources and networking opportunities that promote Great Lakes literacy among an engaged community of educators, scientists and citizens.

Led by Sea Grant educators throughout the region, CGLL coalesced around a vision of developing a Great Lakes-literate public capable of effectively contributing to the environmental, economic and social well-being of the Great Lakes. Toward this end, the CGLL website advances basin-wide stewardship by providing educational resources and networking opportunities that promote Great Lakes literacy among educators, scientists and citizens.

Thanks to a partnership with the U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office, the Annual Shipboard Science Workshop will soon be taking place.  This signature program of CGLL has been connecting educators and scientists aboard the EPA’s R/V Lake Guardian since 2006. In July 2017, the Shipboard Science Workshop will take 15 educators to study sites on Lake Huron where they will work with scientists to collect data.

This photo depicts educators wearing hard hats and life vests, on board a Great Lakes research vessel.

Educators gather data on a research cruise in the Great Lakes. Photo credit: Chris J. Benson.

Last year, educators joined Sea Grant, EPA scientists and others on a Lake Superior research voyage. There they studied Diporeia, zooplankton and water quality while gaining an appreciation for around-the-clock science and extreme weather. One teacher commented, “A lot of workshops are kind of fluff … this one was gritty, and hands on, and get in there and learn, which was excellent.” Read about the research cruises through the CGLL blog.

This image depicts the watershed game and the various game pieces and cards that are used when playing it.

The Watershed Game is an example of the type of engaging learning tools that the CGLL provides to educators in the Great Lakes basin. Photo credit: Center for Great Lakes Literacy.

For educators and curriculum developers, CGLL offers almost 100 lesson ideas supporting Great Lakes literacy principles. Through these materials and other tools Sea Grant has helped to develop, students across the region have efficient and effective ways to learn about concepts such as lake physics, controlling stormwater in urban areas, escaping Great Lakes rip currents and managing land within a watershed to improve water quality.

For more information about Sea Grant’s partnership with CGGL, please contact Jill Jentes Banicki, Assistant Director of Ohio Sea Grant, at


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