On May 11, Joyce McGarry, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension nutrition and food safety educator, was invited to visit Bath Elementary School in recognition of the school’s two new water-refilling stations donated by Delta Dental. She was asked to talk with 178 fourth- and fifth-graders on the important health benefits of water.
Joyce added visual demonstrations. With the help of student volunteers, she counted the number of teaspoons of sugar present in popular sports and flavored water drinks, and compared the results with water, which has no sugar.
Students also had the opportunity to share their knowledge of water and some of their own water practices. For example, one student said that as a treat, his grandmother allows him to drink pop at her house; otherwise, he only drinks milk and water at home. Having students reflect on their own experiences helps them to connect with what they learn.
At the end of the presentation, students were given water bottles that can be refilled throughout their school day. Joyce shared the importance of properly washing the water bottles on a regular basis to get rid of harmful bacteria buildup.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), providing drinking water to students helps to increase their overall water consumption, maintain hydration, reduce intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and may help improve cognitive function. One important way that schools can make a difference is increasing students’ access to water, and allowing them to bring bottles of water to class. Bath Elementary School took it one step further, adding in water and nutrition education by partnering with Joyce and MSU Extension.
Joyce felt that this was an excellent opportunity to engage with the students.
“What a great day to share with great kids!” Joyce said.
You might be interested in reading a blog entry I came across this week, written by Helen Taylor, director of The Nature Conservancy in Michigan and an appointee to the Great Lakes Commission. The title is “Time to Be Thankful for Farmers’ Husbandry of Michigan Water.”
Many times, farmers get blamed for using too much water for irrigation or polluting water with fertilizer runoff. Ms. Taylor’s blog highlights the efforts expended by Michigan farmers to protect groundwater resources – their quality AND quantity – and their efforts to use just the right amount of fertilizer so they minimize waste and loss to surface waters. AND she highlights the efforts of Michigan State University faculty and staff to develop solutions that help farmers to be good stewards of our unique water resources.
For a holiday that draws a lot of attention to food, it’s fitting to have our agricultural partners recognized for producing food in a way that ensures future generations access to our aquatic bounty.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of all things water-related. So it’s probably no surprise that I’m especially concerned about protecting our lakes, both large and small.
That’s why I’m pleased to report that the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP) recently graduated its inaugural class of Certified Natural Shoreline Professionals. Though their backgrounds are varied—some are landscape contractors, others are marine contractors—all 56 graduates understand the importance of protecting inland lakes.
Jane Herbert, MSU Extension district water quality educator, was one of driving forces behind the project. She and the MNSP—which includes Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE), Michigan State University Extension, industry representatives, trade associations, academic institutions and non-profit organizations—targeted the curriculum to contractors working on inland lakes.
As a result of this great class, Jane and John Skubinna, DNRE compliance assistance specialist, were featured on WGVSU public radio during their weekly environmental program. You can hear their interviews here and here.
The partnership is already making plans to offer CNSP in 2011 (locations to be determined). Keep checking the partnership’s Web site for more information. And check that same site if you, or someone you know, is interested in hiring a certified natural shoreline professional.
For some, turning 40 can be a dreaded event. For Michigan Sea Grant, it’s a reason to celebrate!
The Michigan Sea Grant program has shaped life—both human and aquatic—in the great lakes since its inception. And while it’s had many successes, perhaps the most notable is that it is one of the few truly cooperative efforts between Michigan’s two largest universities.
The program was established at the University of Michigan in 1969 as a research entity charged with supporting restoration and sustainability of Great Lakes fisheries. Since then, its mission has grown to include Extension and education at the K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels. In 1977, it became a cooperative program between UM and Michigan State University Extension. We’ve been helping educate people about its importance ever since.
You can read more about the evolution of this great program in the recent issue of Upwellings.
The best place to spend a warm summer day or evening is on the water. Michigan residents and visitors will have an opportunity to not only cruise the Great Lakes, but to learn a little something while they do it.
Summer Discovery Cruises are sponsored by MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, and the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and DTE Energy. They are a great opportunity to explore myriad topics, including sturgeon, eagles, islands, rum-runners, lighthouses, shipping, shipwrecks, wetlands, and Bob-lo Island.
The cruises are open to the public, and both individual (ages 6 and up) and group reservations are accepted. Cost for adults is $15, and $10 for children under 18. Last year, more than 1,200 people from 12 Michigan counties, 7 states and two foreign countries cruised and learned. This summer’s season sets sail June 20 and runs through August 9, with cruises leaving from Lake Erie Metropark and Metro Beach Metropark.
So take a cruise this summer. And don’t forget to thank Steve Stewart, district MSU Extension Sea Grant educator and director of Summer Discovery Cruises, for making the opportunity possible.
The Lake and Stream Leaders Institute is a great opportunity for people from numerous walks of life to learn about water management. The learning series begins May 16 at the McMullen Conference Center in near Grayling and features five sessions at locations throughout the state. The institute wraps up Oct. 2 at the Bengel Wildlife Center in Bath.
Please pass the information along to others who may be interested in watershed management, lake and stream ecology, environmental education, leadership and working with local and state government. And hurry! The application deadline is April 30. Learn more.