Special Topics in Lake Champlain Natural History, Lee, Summer 2019

Course Number: 

EDU 5627 C18a (1 credit)
EDU 5627 C18b (2 credit)
EDU 5627 C18c (3 credit)

Instructor: Elizabeth Lee

Kamp Kill Kare State Park, Burton Island, St. Albans Bay, Mississquoi River and nearby sites.

Dates and Times:

July 15-19, 2019 from 8:00- 4:30

Credits: 1, 2 or 3 graduate credits

 2 days ($550 with 1 credit), 3 days ($725 with 1 credit), 4 days ($1050 with 2 credits), 5 days ($1400 with 3 credits)

Note: Please register directly with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM). LCMM will give you the link to Castleton's online registration form. All payments are payable and due to LCMM.

Course Description

This is a hands-on science course focusing on the natural history and ecology of Lake Champlain, its watershed, and other similar freshwater ecosystems. The course is presented in modular fashion, i.e. each day is a stand-alone course if so desired. The suite of modules offers a unique overview of freshwater ecology of the region and also offers an exciting variety of field-science activities and research to pursue with students. Day 1: Natural communities; Day 2: water chemistry; Day 3: phytoplankton, zooplankton and their evolving status in the lake; Day 4: freshwater mussels, vulnerable life histories and endangered species; Day 5: identifying and understanding Lake Champlain fish (with attention to Atlantic salmon for 2019 International Year of the Salmon).

This course is being taught through a partnership with St. Albans Museum and Kamp Kill Kare State Park, and has been supported in part by funds from the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

Audience: Teachers with science and outdoor education interests, grades 3-12.

Course Goals:

Special Topics in Lake Champlain Natural History equips educators with the scientific knowledge and field-sampling techniques that will enable them to engage students in stimulating observations, projects and research based in local waterways.

 Course Objectives:

  1. Learn from leading experts and researchers about specific topics (i.e., natural communities, water chemistry, plankton, mussels and fish) highly relevant to Lake Champlain and its tributaries.
  2. Delve into these specialized topics using techniques that are both accessible to students and exciting to research.
  3. Engage in the creative process of adapting and constructing lesson plans based on freshwater ecology projects that are either close to home or far afield.
  4. Discuss how science proficiencies can be met when students pursue personalized and project-based empirical studies of freshwater ecology.

 Required Texts

The readings below are recommended. Please contact the instructor directly for more detailed information. 

Lake Champlain Basin Program. 2018 State of the Lake and Ecosystem Indicators Report. (2018 State of the Lake and Ecosytem Indicators report available June, 2018)

Winslow, Mike. Lake Champlain: A Natural History

Stapp, William B. and Mitchell, Mark K. Field Manual for Water Quality Monitoring: an Environmental Education Program for Schools. 1996. GREEN Project, Ann Arbor, MI. 

 Lake Champlain Maritime Museum 2009 Quadricentennial Curriculum

 Lake Champlain Basin Program Aquatic Invasives Guide

 Lake Champlain Maritime Museum On-water lesson plans

 Demarest, Amy B. This Lake Alive! An Interdisciplinary Handbook for Teaching and Learning about the Lake Champlain Basin. 1997. Shelburne Farms.

Day 1: Natural Communities

Thompson, Elizabeth Hathaway, and Eric R. Sorenson. Wetland, woodland, wildland. Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy, 2000.

Day2: Phytoplankton with focus on Diatoms

Prescott, G. W. (1964). How to know the freshwater algae. How to know the freshwater algae.

Vinyard, William, C. Diatoms of North America, Mad River Press, 1979.

Day 3:  Zooplankton

Prophet, Carl   Freshwater Zooplankton (pdf)

Revised Key to the Zooplankton of Lake Champlain

Mark LaMay, Erin Hayes-Pontius, Ian M. Ater, Timothy B. Mihuc (faculty) Lake Champlain Research Institute, SUNY Plattsburgh, 2013.

Day 4: Freshwater Mussels

 Pearly Mussels of New York, Strayer, David

The Freshwater Mussels of Vermont, Fichtel, Christopher and Smith, Douglas. G., Vermont Fish and Wildlife, 1995.   

The Freshwater Mussels of Maine, Nedeau, Ethan, McCollough, Mark and Swartz, Beth, 2000, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife


Day 5: Fish

Marsden, J. Ellen, and Richard W. Langdon. "The history and future of Lake Champlain's fishes and fisheries." Journal of Great Lakes Research 38 (2012): 19-34.

Bosanko, Dave,  Fish of New York Field Guide, Adventure Publications, 2008.

Langdon, Richard W., Ferguson and Cox. Fishes of Vermont. 2006.

Werner, Robert G. Freshwater Fishes of NY State, Syracuse University Press, 1980.

Witten, Matthew. Dichotomous Key to the Common Fishes of Lake Champlain. 1996.

US Fish and Wildlife Salmon Restoration Blogs

For additional course information

Elizabeth Lee
(802) 475-2022

For additional registration information

Elizabeth Lee
(802) 475-2022

Register online now!