Education and Outreach

Education and Outreach

Superior Rivers Watershed Association’s mission is to engage citizens to become stewards of their watershed. We accomplish this through outreach and education for people of all ages so that our members and citizens can become informed stewards.

While 2020 has proved difficult for our traditional outreach and education, we look forward to developing virtual education in the coming months and look forward to being able to form groups to learn about and share our love of the watershed.

Rivers2Lake Program

Our primary educational program in 2020 is the Rivers2Lake Program.

SRWA partnered with the University of Wisconsin Superior Extension Office and the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve in 2019 to implement the Rivers2Lake place based education program. Melissa Kjelvik servs as our Rivers2Lake Education Mentor in the Chequamegon Bay Area.

In the 2019-2020 school year, the South Shore Rivers2Lake program is working with five local teachers from Ashland, Bayfield, Northwestern (School District of Maple), Our Lady of the Lake, and Washburn. The teachers are working with students in a broad range of grades (2nd-8th grade) and teach diverse topics, including English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. We wanted to reflect back on all their accomplishments and share just a few examples of Rivers2Lake activities from this fall! That way we can all celebrate our educators’ efforts to get students outside and learning about local topics!

Field trips – Near and Far!

We’ve had many fun field trips this fall and I’ve been lucky enough to join in on the fun! Northwestern Middle School 8th graders visited Amnicon Falls for a lesson on creative writing and how we can use descriptive words to
write about dramatically different settings. Students used their senses to compare a calm, slow-moving stream to the roar and energetic vibe at the base of waterfalls. Bayfield 4th grade classes have been connecting with the National Park Service for local field trips – students took a trip to Little Sand Bay and also had the opportunity to board a boat traveling to Stockton Island. Although the island itself was a unique place to visit, students were especially excited to be on a boat!

Exploring School Forests

All of the Rivers2Lake teachers ventured outside this year to teach lessons and discover what is out their back door. Washburn 6th graders went on a nice hike to explore their school forest and also learned about orienteering skills in their forested outdoor classroom. The course was set up like “The Amazing Race” – several flags were placed around the schoolyard for the students to find. They had to use a compass to take bearings from one flag to the next. Two Ashland 2nd grade classes have taken the lead on prioritizing outdoor learning, using their school forest and all the connecting trails for math, writing, and science lessons. We’ve focused on connecting concepts learned in the classroom, such as math story problems, and different types of nouns, to their environment. They even bundled up after the epic December snowstorms for a fun activity modeling the effect of limited resources on deer populations.

Water Quality

Of course, we love teaching students about water quality and what they can do to help improve various water-related issues. Our Lady of the Lake 5th-8th graders conducted a beach clean-up at Kreher Park as part of an investigation into the most common types of litter. Students tallied different types of trash as they picked it up and found that cigarette butts and food wrappers were the most abundant. During their visit to the beach they collected beach sand, and later analyzed the samples for microplastics following a scientific protocol used around the Great Lakes. Additionally, teachers from the Ashland-based schools conducted water quality tests at two points along the Bay City Creek that are close to their schools. Second graders were so excited to see what macroinvertebrates live in the creek!

Thank you to Melissa Kjelvik for the write-up regarding the 2019-2020 program!