This blog provides commentary on interesting geological events occurring around the world in the context of my own work. This work is, broadly, geological fluid dynamics. The events that I highlight here are those that resonate with my professional life and ideas, and my goal is to interpret them in the context of ideas I've developed in my research. The blog does not represent any particular research agenda. It is written on a personal basis and does not seek to represent the University of Illinois, where I am a professor of geology and physics. Enjoy Geology in Motion! I would be glad to be alerted to geologic events of interest to post here! I hope that this blog can provide current event materials that will make geology come alive.

Banner image is by Ludie Cochrane..

Susan Kieffer can be contacted at s1kieffer at gmail.com

Monday, April 25, 2011

Great Lakes Literacy Principles

The Great Lakes, NOAA
From left to right: Superior, Michigan, Huron,
Erie and Ontario.
The Great Lakes, a fragile resource created at the end of the last glaciation, contain 20% of the world's fresh surface water. 20% of the U.S. population, and a significant fraction of the Canadian population, live near these lakes. They support $4 billion fishing industry, $16 billion in boating, 1.5 million U.S. jobs, and $62 billion annual wages (reference here). Yet, in many textbooks, the lakes are not even mentioned (including, in hindsight, the one that I used for two years teaching a sustainability course!!)

In an effort to educate the public, to preserve the resource, and to provide educational materials, several groups have worked together to gather materials for education.  The principles are modeled after the Ocean Literacy movement.

These groups developed "The Great Lakes Literacy Principles":

1. The Great Lakes, bodies of fresh water with many features, are connected to each other and to the world ocean.
2. Natural forces formed the Great Lakes; the lakes continue to shape the features of their watershed.
3. The Great Lakes influence local and regional weather and climate.
4. Water makes Earth habitable; fresh water sustains life on land.
5. The Great Lakes support a broad diversity of life and ecosystems.
6. The Great Lakes and humans in their watersheds are inextricably interconnected.
7. Much remains to be learned about the Great Lakes.
8. The Great Lakes are socially, economically, and environmentally significant to the region, the nation, and the planet.

Material, including a direct comparison with the Ocean Literacy principles and K-12 teacher materials, can be found here.

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