River Quest: Lessons on the Waters That Feed Lake Superior

Updated: May 14, 2018 07:15 PM

Many teachers hope the lessons they give will last well past the classroom bell. For some students this week, those school bells are being replaced with the sounds of boat whistles and crashing waves.

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About 1,500 sixth-graders are converging on the Duluth Waterfront this week. Setting sail in group of about 100, the kids are cruising around the Duluth-Superior Harbor learning about everything from pollution prevention to stopping aquatic invaders to all while checking out some incredible views from the observation deck.

Maddy, a sixth-grader at Northwestern Middle School, says she didn’t like the sight of jarred invasive species on display aboard the Vista Star.

"That was kind of disgusting. I was kind of grossed out there. I almost lost my appetite," said Maddy.

Water safety and awareness are some of the lessons emphasized during the 60-minutes trips on the water.

Some of the sessions were geared around the dangers of the Lake Superior and the waters that feed her, including hypothermia, rip currents, and the importance and types of life jackets.

Jeff Olson is a sixth-grade math teacher at Northwestern Middle School, and he is glad to see the lessons resonate with the students.

"Kids were joking around earlier that it would be fun to just jump in the lake. They don't realize what they're jumping into until they experience that,” said Olson.

After a tour on the water, the kids were ushered into the DECC for six more sessions.

Founded in 1993, this is the 26th year of the St. Louis River Quest.

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