Over the course of four Saturdays, from January 25th – February 15th, Center for Limnology graduate students are instructing a group of middle school
students on the fundamentals of how limnologists do their research on frozen waters.
The program is part of the larger University of Wisconsin’s Saturday Enrichment Program. The program gives Madison-area middle and high school students the chance to come to campus and explore a wide range of interests and academic areas, hopefully empowering them to learn about academic options, career choices, and personal interests.
Students who chose the “winter limnology” track learn what happens to Lake Mendota in during its ice-covered state and also get some insight into what winter life is like for a lot of different organisms. Students first learn about topics ranging from physical processes, to invertebrates, to algae, to fish, to food webs before heading out to peer into Lake Mendota’s frigid depths for themselves. While students are, indeed, exposed to a possible science career path, truth be told, most CFL scientists are working in our heated labs analyzing the data they collected during Wisconsin’s warmer months!
“The first day we went out, it was like a white dust storm with -20 windchills,” recalls instructor and CFL grad student, Luke Loken. It made for a quick outing, he says, and they’re hoping for better conditions this Saturday with collecting aquatic insects and plankton on the agenda.
Luke Loken contributed all images (and a lot of the words) to this post.