North Lakeland Elementary School Water Education Project - Fall Lakes Week Project
Watras, Janice B.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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North Lakeland Elementary School (N.L.E.S.) is located in the heart of the Northern Highlands Lake District of Wisconsin. Many of Vilas County's 1300+ lakes lie within the four townships (Boulder Junction, Manitowish Waters, Presque Isle, Winchester) in the North Lakeland Elementary School district. The North Lakeland Elementary School district covers 260 square miles with a student population of about 280 students in grades K-8. The region is sparsely populated, and the lakes are generally considered pristine. Since northern lakes are an integral part of the lives of North Lakeland Elementary School students and the economic base of their communities, it is appropriate for the school to integrate lake studies into the general curriculum. Since these northern lakes are also under increased human pressures from development and tourism, it is important that young citizens develop solid and effective stewardship skills based on sound knowledge and personal experience. This will be a key element in preserving and protecting the resources for future generations. The purpose of this project is to develop an integrated K-8 Lakes Curriculum that will enhance the current Outdoor Education Curriculum while preparing students to make sound decisions about their natural resource conservation as adults, specifically with respect to lake protection in Northern Wisconsin. In an interdisciplinary program extending from grade K-8, students will learn about the ecology and societal value of northern lakes and they will translate this knowledge into positive lake protection measures for their community. This project will be implemented three times a year during the regularly scheduled Outdoor Education week. Three days will be spent in the classroom studying lakes while two days will be spent out on the lakes collecting data and observing changes on the lake. Community members will be asked to participate by sharing their expertise with students and by helping to provide boats, bathrooms, lab space and meeting places. The Lakes project at North Lakeland Elementary School will serve as a pro-active model for other school districts in Wisconsin who would like to develop and implement a Lake Studies Project in their School System.