HOUGHTON - Pointing to a brown mass of fish innards piled on a table Wednesday morning, Martin Auer, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University explained the origin.
"This is my personal favorite," Auer said, getting a laugh from the room of K-12 teachers from institutes all over the Great Lakes region.
Auer was one of many who is offering his professional services all week for the Great Lakes Watershed Investigations Summer Teacher Institute held at Michigan Tech this week.
Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Martin Auer, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University, motions to fish innards before a group of K-12 teachers Wednesday during the Great Lakes Watershed Investigations Summer Teacher Institute held at Michigan Tech this week.
Wednesday morning, the group, made up of school teachers from Michigan and Ohio, joined Auer for "Data Analysis: Benthic organisms, sediment, zooplankton identification, trout stomach analysis," where they dissected fish and learned about habitats.
"We've still got guts," he said while holding up a bag of red material as the teachers combined into groups for further study.
Joined by Marcel Dykstra, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of civil and environmental engineering, the teachers broke up to further look at the specimen.
Monday and Tuesday, the group, made up of teachers in elementary, middle and high schools, was introduced to Michigan Tech's campus where it toured buildings and is working out of the new Great Lakes Research Center located on the bank of the Portage Canal.
"It's a beautiful building," said Joan Chadde, education/outreach program coordinator for the Center for Science, Math & Environmental Education. "My office has moved over there and we're in transition. They are the first group to use the space."
So far, they've studied with Alex Mayer, professor of civil and environmental engineering during "The Great Lakes Watershed: A Global System," and worked with the Lake Superior floor map and designed a watershed investigation. Tuesday, the group took scientific excursions aboard the research vessel Agassiz where they studied water chemistry and plankton.
"It's been really great," Chadde said. "The teachers are doing all kinds of things."
Chadde said the teachers are responding well to the faculty at Michigan Tech and remaining events this week include a trip to Gratiot Lake today via pontoon boat with Auer and a hike to the Gratiot Lake overlook to view the watershed. Today, the teachers will participate in frog-calling surveys and malformity monitoring, wetland investigation and plant identification.
Friday will be spent in Calumet where they will receive an introduction to school-community collaborations and work with the adopt-a-beach program and invasive plant removal.