A “Day in the Life” Student Experience Debuts in Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Watershed
Publications: Success Stories - Extension (2023)

The Day in the Life Student Summit event in Mexico, NY engaged middle school students in water quality monitoring along Lake Ontario. Credit: Betsy Ukeritis/NYSDEC


Megan Kocher, NYSG Great Lakes Outreach Coordinator, E: mk2236@cornell.edu, P: (716) 645-3011

NYSG, in partnership with NYS DEC, engaged middle schools with “A Day in the Life” experiential learning focused on the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River watershed 

Buffalo, NY, March 23, 2023 - “Day in the Life” programs exist throughout New York State, including in the Niagara River/Lake Erie, Genesee River, and Hudson River watershed regions. These programs provide hands-on opportunities for youth to develop a better understanding of environmental science and water quality during a one-day Student Summit event. Until 2022, students in the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River (LOSLR) areas were lacking this opportunity to connect with, and learn about, their local watershed.

To foster environmental literacy with students in the LOSLR region, New York Sea Grant (NYSG) collaborated with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and other partners to implement the debut of the “Day in the Life of the Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Watershed” program.

At a training workshop, NYSG and DEC staff provided four teachers and eight environmental educators with teaching resources and activities to prepare their classes for the 2022 Day in the Life Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River watershed Student Summits. Concurrent events were held on October 4, 2022, at four locations in the LOSLR watershed: Hamlin, Henderson, Mexico, and Webster. Middle school students engaged in learning about their watershed through classroom and field-based activities to increase student awareness around larger scientific monitoring and planning efforts in the Great Lakes, such as the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI) and Lakewide Action Management Plans (LAMPs). Three hundred and five students from four schools participated in localized environmental monitoring activities and data collection. In a post-workshop survey, teachers strongly agreed that they had increased their knowledge of Great Lakes educational resources opportunities, CSMI, and LAMPs, as well as gaining confidence in performing and demonstrating the environmental monitoring activities.

Four teachers and more than 300 students from middle schools throughout New York’s Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence region participated in the first “Day in the Life of the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Watershed” program that engages students in environmental monitoring activities at sampling locations along the shore to foster connections between their local watershed and the water quality of the Great Lakes. 


• New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 
• New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation 

Funding: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly.

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