Shedd Takes Learning about Invasive Species and the Great Lakes Online
CHICAGO, Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Shedd Aquarium, a leader in Great Lakes conservation and education, deepens its commitment to Great Lakes conservation, unveiling two new digital resources: a first-of-its-kind online STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum called Asian Carp Exploration and a series of video vignettes titled "High Stakes of the Great Lakes". Shedd introduces the interactive elements to inform and inspire the Great Lakes community about the complicated issues surrounding the Great Lakes following the release of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) earlier this week.
"Asian carp is not a problem for just one city or state. It's an issue that affects all 140 communities around the lakes, yet after talking with leaders throughout the Great Lakes basin, we learned that a key priority is engaging the 42 million people who are affected by the Asian carp issue," said Roger Germann, executive vice president who oversees the Great Lakes program for Shedd and an appointed member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Advisory Board. "By putting these resources online, people throughout the basin have the opportunity to connect directly with critical information on Asian carp. Through increased awareness and a clearer picture of the problem, we're hopeful people will realize how they're connected to this issue and why they should care."
Designed for seventh through ninth grade level students, the Asian Carp Exploration curriculum shares information about Asian carp through problem-based learning, providing insight into how the waterways are connected and how they relate to native and non-native wildlife. Created to be adapted to any classroom format, teachers and students can select from three different specialties – industry, ecology and technology/engineering. Each specialty area presents tailored content related to the selected area, encouraging students to analyze each situation and propose their own ideas and recommendations to address Asian carp in a YouTube video submitted to Shedd.
In addition, Shedd created three "High Stakes of the Great Lakes" videos to help educate audiences beyond the classroom about the Great Lakes and Asian carp issue. Each video presents an informative overview of timely Great Lakes issues through a series of themes: the beauty and importance of the Great Lakes, the threat of Asian carp and exploring the range of creative options to prevent the spread of invasive species. Hosted on the aquarium's learning YouTube channel, the videos are also featured in the online curriculum. Perspectives from various sectors are highlighted in the videos featuring key Great Lakes stakeholders ranging from David Ullrich, the executive director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to Dirk Fucik of Dirk's Fish and Seafood to Shedd Great Lakes researcher Dr. Solomon David, among others.
"Shedd is committed to creating learning opportunities to understand, explore and solve for environmental issues. Research supports that students remember and understand more information when presented with opportunities to apply the knowledge they've gained," said Melissa Williams, vice president for Learning at Shedd Aquarium. "The videos cultivate awareness by engaging audiences to explore our ecosystems and understand the environmental threats in a visual way, while also encouraging critical thinking skills for realistic situations that affect them and the area they live in. Young minds lend an incredible perspective to each challenge, so we learn from our students too – making a true learning experience for all of us."
The curriculum was created with support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as the latest step by Shedd to create positive change for the lakes – which hold 20 percent of the world's surface fresh water – through research, education and conservation. Shedd is connecting people to the Great Lakes by connecting them to the living world through exhibits such as At Home on the Great Lakes, inspiring guests to keep the lakes great. Stemming from the Great Lakes initiative's three focuses, Shedd seeks to build awareness of the lakes' vulnerabilities, contribute to research to address invasive species, accelerate habitat restoration as well as protect and promote native wildlife. For more information about Shedd's Great Lakes conservation initiative, please visit www.sheddaquarium.org/greatlakesnews.
Shedd Aquarium is dedicated to preserving and protecting Great Lakes wildlife and habitats through conservation science, education and awareness programs generously supported by the following Conservator Partners: ArcelorMittal and Coca-Cola. For more information visit: sheddaquarium.org/greatlakesnews.
SOURCE Shedd Aquarium