College Students Tough out Choppy Waters Research Boat Gives Classmates Hands-On Experience

By Larson, Kristin | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 29, 2000 | Go to article overview

College Students Tough out Choppy Waters Research Boat Gives Classmates Hands-On Experience


Larson, Kristin, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Studying plankton and taking water samples of Lake Michigan were planned for Monday's three-hour boat tour. But choppy waters and seasickness were not.

So the W.G. Jackson Research Ship from Grand Valley State University in Muskegon, Mich., headed back into the calmer Waukegan Harbor for Lake County college students aboard to conduct their lab experiments.

The floating classroom - which includes science instructors and laboratory assistants from Grand Valley State's Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute - is making its stop in the northern Lake County harbor through Wednesday.

The stop is part of the research ship's tour around Lake Michigan this summer. Its purpose is to spread the word about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's goal to clean up the lake.

On Monday, a group of about 30 biology students from Lake Forest's Barat College started the new school year by attending class at sea - analyzing sediment samples from the bottom of the lake, collecting plankton and discussing topics like pollution prevention.

But after braving rough waters to reach a point about 3 miles from shore, the instructors decided the boat would return early for the class to study the samples they gathered in a much calmer state.

"Ideally, we would have added a little sleet so that would make this experience much more typical," said host science instructor Roger Tharp.

Even without sleet and other challenging weather conditions, the constant rocking of the boat and inevitable seasickness was a little much for some students - who spent much of their time leaning over the edge of the boat. …

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