By: Meaghan Gass, Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member at NE MI GLSI and Brandon Schroeder, Michigan Sea Grant
The Guide - August/September 2015
Did you know Lake Sturgeon coexisted with dinosaurs and have lived in the Great Lakes for thousands of years? Cheboygan and Onaway School students, along with other students across northeast Michigan, have been learning about this prehistoric fish through an opportunity to host living sturgeon in their classrooms. This unique project teaches students about this state threatened fish while allowing them to actively participate with scientists in sturgeon research and restoration efforts locally on Black Lake and the Cheboygan River Watershed.
Partnering with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State University, and Sturgeon for Tomorrow, this Sturgeon in the Classroom project allows students learn about the fish biology, connect fish with aquatic habitat needs, and explore conservation issues of threat to this rare species. At the beginning of the school year, participating classrooms receive a fingerling lake sturgeon to care for during the school year. Students are responsible for maintaining the tank, testing the water quality, and feeding bloodworms to the lake sturgeon. Through a variety of hands-on activities, students are applying science, technology, engineering (STEM) curriculum and connecting to their local watershed.
Coordinating with the local Sturgeon for Tomorrow chapter, teachers and students are also helping to share this information with other students in the school and across their community. Cheboygan Middle School students developed outreach materials for the 2015 Black Lake Sturgeon Shivaree, a fundraiser for the lake sturgeon hatchery, habitat conservation, research, and outreach. Onaway high-schoolers also mentored and taught younger grades about the fish’s anatomy, habitat, and needs...