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Great Minds, Great Lakes


Social Studies

The Journey of the Great Lakes



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Journey of the Lake Guardian

Research is very important to the progress of cleaning up the Great Lakes. It is essential if we are to fully understand the effect of human activity on the environmental quality of the Lakes. Research vessels like the Lake Guardian provide us with more information about the Lakes so we can make better decisions about how to clean them up. The Journey of the Lake Guardian, is a read-along story. The ideas and problems can be adapted for all levels of K-5 students. Each lake is explored and the many environmental concerns facing the Great Lakes are revealed and discussed. Discussion topics and hands-on activities follow each story segment.

Lake Guardian, a very curious and adventuresome research boat, is setting out to explore and learn about the Great Lakes. Lake Guardian loves to travel, and the Great Lakes are her favorite place to go because of their large size, beauty, and exciting history.

Lake Guardian will cruise from shore to shore visiting all five of the Great Lakes. She will stop to study the air, water, land, plants, and animals, along with other creatures that you can only see under microscopes. Learning about all the kinds of pollution in the Lakes is important because it will help make them clean and keep them beautiful. There are some kinds of pollution you can't even see and smell! Where does it come from? How much is there in each Lake? How does it hurt animal, plants, and people that live in the Great Lakes, and she want to take care of and protect them. Many people depend on Lake Guardian and the things she learns about the Great Lakes, because they too are working hard to make the Lakes cleaner and healthier for everyone.

Lake Guardian carries 11 crew members and 31 scientists along with all their special scientific machines. Weighing 182 tons in the water, she is 180 feet long and 40 feet wide, so she has plenty of room to carry all the necessary equipment. Lake Guardian's laboratory contains scientific instruments to measure very low levels of contamination; refrigerators and freezers to store and preserve samples; pure distilled water to make up chemical reagents; and computers to help with the analysis of samples. She even has several winches capable of lifting 5,000 pounds, and has cranes capable of lifting heavier loads up to 30,000 pounds. Storms worry her through, for she is afraid of rocking too much and breaking all the special equipment.

Lake Guardian has a very busy schedule because there are 42 places she is worried about and must visit. These places are called "hot spots" because many of them are so polluted or toxic that some plants, animals, and fish that live there are sick. You can't swim or fish in these areas because you could get sick too. It is sad to think about the hot spots, and Lake Guardian is very proud to be such an important part of helping to clean them up.

Sometimes Lake Guardian's work seems like play because each Lake is so special. Nature provided each Lake with many different trees, flowers, birds, fish and animals, people and other creatures in and around the shorelines. Lake Guardian hopes you begin to love the Lakes as much as she does as you journey with her. She hopes that after hearing her story, you'll learn many ways that you can be friends of the Great Lakes, and help to make them cleaner and healthier.

It was another 10 years before evidence of the Rouse Simmons was discovered. Captain Herman Schunemann's wallet was found among the fish caught in the nets of a Wisconsin Fisherman.


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