Great Lakes Coastal Youth Education

Teachers' Online Resources | Dose of Reality Campaign | Other News (1998 - Present)

Teachers' Online
New York Sea Grant uses hand-on workshops and a “teach the teacher” approach to extend science-based learning through teachers to students throughout New York’s Great Lakes region. Topics include critical environmental issues such as water quality and invasive species. NYSG Great Lakes partners with the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Great Lakes, the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Sea Grant College Program, University at Buffalo, Buffalo Museum of Science and others to make programs possible. More>

"Dose of Reality": Keeping Chemicals Out of Our Waterways
Sea Grant programs in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and Illinois and Indiana are educating people about the problems associated with pharmaceuticals and personal care products. In Fall 2010, these Great Lakes Sea Grant program began distributing a 12-page educational publication, "Dose of Reality: Remedies to keep everyday chemicals out of waterways."

  • Publications ...

    Dose of Reality: Remedies to keep everyday chemicals out of waterways (pdf) [12 pgs]
    A Great Lakes Sea Grant publication

    Dose of Reality (pdf) [4 pgs]
    A New York Sea Grant fact sheet

    Sensible Disposal of Unwanted Medicines (pdf, 1.7 MB; 52 pp.)
    A curriculum developed to help youth understand: (1) Why chemicals from medicines are found in the environment; (2) The harm these chemicals can cause; and (3) What can be done about it

    The Medicine Chest (pdf, 15.4 MB, 257 pp.)
    A collection of safe disposal curriculum activities and service-learning resources

    Disposal of Unwanted Medicines (pdf, 15.8 MB, 255 pp.)
    A resource for action in your community

  • News ...

    Why Take Drugs Back on April 29? New York Sea Grant Guide has Answers (April 2017) More>

    Help Protect New York's Waterways on Drug Take Back Day (October 2016)

    Sea Grant Reminds You to "Take Back" Your Unwanted Medicines (April 2016) More>

    Sea Grant Brings "A Dose of Reality" to USDEA's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days (May 2014) More>
    Since the inception of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network's "Dose of Reality" campaign,  more than 2 million pills have been collected at drug drop-off events in the five states. The National Take Back Days have removed a combined 3.4 million pounds of medication from circulation. The primary reason for collection days and education on proper disposal is because unwanted prescription drugs can pollute local waterways, posing a threat to public health, wildlife, and our natural environment.

    NYSG Specialists and Sea Grant Network Campaigns Lauded for Their Successes (December 2013) More>
    From a Visionary Career Leadership Award to Two Top 100 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Success Stories, New York Sea Grant specialists were acknowledged this year for their work in maintaining seafood safety standards and keeping pharmaceuticals, personal care products and invasive species out of New York's waterways.

    Fact Sheet: Lake Erie (Summer 2013) More>
    This four-page fact sheet addresses invasive species, harmful algal blooms and other concerns for the shallowest, but one of the most productive Great Lakes in the system.

    NYSG Urging Take Back Day Participation to Help Keep Drugs Out of Great Lakes (April 2013) More>
    Learn more on how easy it is to properly dispose of unwanted and unused medicines, including veterinary drugs, to help keep pharmaceuticals out of New York's waterways, including the Great Lakes.

    NYSG's Extension Specialists Honored for Excellence in 2012 (April 2013) More>
    Last Fall, two of New York Sea Grant's own were honored for excellence by the Great Lakes Sea Grant Extension Network. These acknowledged efforts added to that of a handful of other NYSG specialists who received their own recognitions within the year.

    New York Sea Grant to Assist Four Great Lakes Restoration Initiatives (November 2012) More>

    NY Great Lakes Coastal Educators Honored for Excellence (October 2012) More>

    September 29th National Take Back Day (September 2012) More>
    You Can Help Keep Drugs Out of Great Lakes

    Just throw out your unwanted medicines? Great Lakes Sea Grant programs weigh in (June 2012) More>

    NYSG urging April 28, 2012 take-back participation to keep drugs out of Great Lakes (April 2012) More>

    NYSG Coastal Youth Educator on Keeping Pharmaceuticals out of Waterways (April 2012) More>
    A University at Buffalo "Faculty Experts Q&A"

    Dose of Reality Campaign (New York Coastlines, Winter 2012) More>
    NYSG's coastal education specialist has been working with other specialists throughout Sea Grant’s Great Lakes programs for the past year on this education-based the campaign funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

    The 'Do Not Flush Medicine' message goes Big Apple (January 2012) More>

    Lake Erie's harmful algal blooms (HABs) (January 2012) More>
    NYSG's Helen Dosmke talks on Buffalo's National Public Radio News Station WBFO 88.7 FM about HABs as well as how to safely discard of prescription drugs

    Improper Disposal of Pharmaceuticals Can Cause Serious Harm (May 2011More>
    A Your News Now reporter talks with NYSG's Helen Domske on the matter

    April 30 is Take-Back Day Nationally (April 2011More>
    Great Lakes Sea Grant Network educates consumers on proper disposal of unwanted pharmaceuticals

    Dose of Reality: Sea Grant Educates on Unwanted Medicines (New York Coastlines, Spring 2011) More>

    "Dose of Reality": A new Great Lakes Sea Grant network publication on peeping chemicals out of our waterways (November 2010More>

In Other News ...

December 2014
On YouTube: Making a "Splash" With Great Lakes Education More>
This year, 109 teachers took part in five workshops that focused on Great Lakes watersheds, the Buffalo River, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.  Those teachers agreed to conduct stewardship activities with over 11,325 students from 4th grade through high school. "By using the 'Teach-the-Teacher' approach, we engage teachers in experiential learning and provide them with information and classroom-tested curriculum developed by Sea Grant and NOAA," says NYSG's Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske.

August 2014
On Air: Local Waters Not At Risk More>
NYSG's Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske spoke with WBEN 930 AM Radio in early August about recent water quality concerns for Lake Erie residents on both ends—in New York and Ohio.

June 2014
On YouTube: Two NY Sea Grant Educators Receive Awards at Great Lakes Network Meeting More>
New York Sea Grant's Coastal Community Development Specialist, Mary Penney, and Coastal Education Specialist, Helen Domske, are recipients of awards voted on by Sea Grant-ers from programs in the nine Great Lakes states. Also shared at this June 2014 Sea Grant conference was the latest regional news on invasive species partnerships as well as impacts from the harmful algae blooms that have been cropping up around the Great Lakes. 

May 2014
On Air: Microplastics in Our Waters Takes Center Stage at 2014 State of Lake Erie Meeting More>
"For years people have worried about the environmental impacts from plastics left behind in the oceans and Great Lakes," writes NYSG Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske in a recently-produced two-page "Microbeads" fact sheet. "Some plastic particles result from the breakdown of larger plastic items, but others are small plastic spheres known as microbeads." In April, Domske hosted the 21st State of Lake Erie meeting, which focused on the sources and impacts of microplastics via featured speaker Dr. Sherri A. Mason, who also recently discussed the topic on National Public Radio and will, in late May, will address teachers and students through a New York State Marine Education Association-hosted webinar. Additionally, recent anti-microplastics legislation in New York State is highlighted.
  • Fact Sheet: Plastic Microbeads in the Great Lakes (pdf)
January 2014
On YouTube: Life Beneath the Surface - Spring Outlook for NY's Great Lakes More>
NYSG Specialist Helen Domske talks on WGRZ-TV Buffalo about how the cold winter has impacted New York's Great Lakes - from ice cover, evaporation and lake levels to invasive species control.

December 2013
On YouTube, On Blog: Teachers Participate in Research on Great Lakes More>
Nearly 9,000 sets of eyes on Facebook alone saw social media posts related to the blog entries New York Sea Grant's Web Content Manager wrote while on-board the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 180-foot R/V Peter L. Wise Lake Guardian this past July for the week-long NYSG-led "Lake Ontario Shipboard and Shoreline Science Workshop." This marked the first time in five years that the R/V Guardian has been out on Lake Ontario for this week-long event and it'll be another five before it comes around again.

November 2013
On YouTube: Comment Sought On Invasive Species Proposals More>
As NYSG's Recreation/Tourism Specialist Dave White tells the newscasters at Watertown's WWNY-TV 7 News This Morning studios, New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing regulations to help control invasive species.

On Air: Asian Carp Could Pose Real Threat to Great Lakes Ecosystem More>
As NYSG specialists shared with WRVO Radio recently, bighead and silver carp have been detected very close to the Great Lakes, so the risk of a flood introducing them into the lakes is always present.

August 2013
Teaching the Teachers Via NOAA BWET: Lake Ontario Lessons More>
Just a few weeks after the R/V Lake Guardian docked back in Youngstown, NY and the educators wrapped up their week-long learning, another dozen science teachers, two special education teachers and one high school librarian from across New York State embarked on a separate NYSG-led week-long hands-on teaching on the ecology of Lake Ontario.

June 2013
Educators to Explore Lake Ontario from Land and Water During Two Workshops More>
In July 2013, NYSG Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske will welcome teachers in New York and several other Great Lakes states on two separate experience-through-learning tours of Lake Ontario.

May 2013
Great Lakes-Lake Oneida Shoreline Field Experience Workshop More>
Watershed teachers and youth educators can apply  for this free workshop set for July 22-25, 2013. Participating teachers will receive a $400 stipend to help them develop a locally-relevant Community Stewardship Project with their students.

April 2013
Lake Ontario Lake Guardian Workshop 2013  More>
Fifteen 4th-10th grade teachers and non-formal educators will be selected from around the Great Lakes basin for the cruise aboard the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's 180-foot research vessel R/V Lake Guardian for this week-long Shipboard and Shoreline Science workshop.

April 2013
State of Lake Erie Meeting More>
New York Sea Grant unveils its new Lake Erie fact sheet at the 2013 State of Lake Erie meeting, which the program is co-hosting on Thursday, April 11. The event, which includes fisheries updates from NYSDEC, USFWS and other partners, is free to attend.

April 2013
Sea Grant Educates on Key Steps in the Fight Against Great Lakes Type E Botulism More>
A recently-released manual by the Great Lakes Sea Grant network (NYSG is a member) has generated awareness and provides information to both beach managers and the general public regarding Type E botulism and how to control its spread throughout the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes basin has undergone a resurgence of Type E (or avian) botulism in recent years, characterized by dead birds and fish along the shores of the Great Lakes. The number of deaths and areas affected appear to be increasing to levels that induce concern about the ecological health of the Great Lakes nearshore waters.

November 2012
New York Sea Grant to Assist Four Great Lakes Restoration Initiatives More>
NYSG will collaborate on four Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects. Award-winning educators David B. MacNeill, a fisheries specialist, and coastal education specialist Helen M. Domske will be key partners in efforts.

October 2012
NY Great Lakes Coastal Educators Honored for Excellence More>
NYSG Coastal Education Specialist Helen M. Domske, Buffalo, received an Outstanding Outreach Award for public education programming related to the “Dose of Reality” campaign on the proper disposal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products to prevent the release of toxins into the Great Lakes.

September 2012
On YouTube: Hydrilla Plants Invade Western NY; Invasive Species Found in North Tonawanda Waterways More>
What has helped Hydrilla, an aquatic plant native to Asia, proliferate in Western New York's waterways? Banned in some parts of the U.S., this Federally-designated noxious weed is still popular with aquarium owners who use is it until it overgrows fish tanks. NYSG's Helen Domske shares her thoughts in this YNN spotlight story and video clip.

August 2012
On YouTube: NYSG Educator on Danger of Invasive Asian Carp in Great Lakes (Currents, Late Summer 2012) More>
As seen in a Your News Now clip from mid-July, there is concern over an invasive fish species that could have a strong impact the Great Lakes ecosystems. Earlier this year, NYSG's Helen Domske and Dave MacNeill produced the fact sheet "Asian carp: Threats to the lower Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River?"

June 2012
July 23-26 Lake Ontario Workshop More>
Event offers field experience learning opportunity for teachers

February 2012
New Fact Sheet on Asian Carp (New York Coastlines, Winter 2012) More>
A possible invasion into the Great Lakes of several of the seven species of carp found in North America, but not in the Great Lakes – the silver and bighead carp (known collectively as Asian carp) – has raised concerns.

January 2012

Lake Erie's algal blooms and how to safely discard of prescription drugs More>
NYSG's Helen Dosmke talks with Buffalo's National Public Radio News Station WBFO 88.7 FM

November/December 2011
Devastation from zebra and quagga mussels holds lessons for Asian carp More>
NYSG Coastal Youth Educator on Great Lakes invasive species
Plus: Related fact sheet - "Asian Carp - Threats to the Lower Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River?"

May 2011
New York Sea Grant presents 2011 State of Lake Erie Meeting May 12 in Hamburg, NY More>
NYSG encourages it's various stakeholders to "Get Social with Sea Grant" with informative postcards featuring species in Long Island Bays (click here) and throughout New York's Great Lakes ecosystem (click here)

October 2010
A WWWeb of Lake Ontario Learning More>

July 2010
COSEE Lake Ontario Exploration Workshop More>
Check out blog entries from our week-long one-the-water experiences in late-July 2010

June 2010
Western New York News: ‘State of the Lake' and an Award-Winning Educator More> 

April 2010
NYSG Award-Winning Great Lakes Educator Announces Spring and Summer '10 Programs More >

February 2010
Lake Ontario Exploration Teachers’ Workshop July 25-30, 2010 More>

Nab the Aquatic Invader! now featured at the Smithsonian  More>

December 2009
Upcoming Events for COSEE (Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence) More>

October 2009
Lake Erie Teachers' Workshop More >

August 2009
Teachers' Workshop: Exploring the Link between Invasive Species & the Erie Canal More >

May 2009
Great Lakes educator Helen Domske shares love of water with diverse audiences More >

June 2009
Nab the Aquatic Invader! Web Site Featured in Year of Science 2009 More >

January 2009
"Greatest of the Great Lakes" CD More >
COSEE Great Lakes has developed a collection of innovative classroom activities to provide teachers and students with insights into the uniqueness of the Great Lakes and their influence on aquatic life and human populations.

July 2008
Lake Guardian Tour: Lake Ontario More >
COSEE cruise for teachers and researchers studying Lake Ontario aboard the USEPA's Lake Guardian

Fall 2006
Smooth Sailing for Great Lakes Education (pdf)
Great Lakes Student Summit / Lake Guardian: Lake Erie

Winter 2006
Invaders in the Classroom (pdf)

Summer 2004
Great Lakes Student Summit (pdf)

Fall 2003
"Guarding" the Lake (pdf)
Lake Guardian Tour: Lake Ontario

Summer 2003
Environmental Citizen of the Year (pdf)

Winter 2001
Great Lakes Student Summit (pdf)

Summer 2000
Domske Receives Dual Recognition (pdf)

Fall 1999
Great Lakes Student Summit (pdf)

Fall 1998
Exotic Species Day Camp (pdf)

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