Learning at Lakeside Laboratory goes year-round
Historically, studying and research at Lakeside Laboratory have been limited to summers, with students enrolling for the course offerings through regent university and consortium partners. But this winter, events at Lakeside Lab began a new chapter in its legacy of study, research and natural preservation – and a turn toward ecotourism.
“We have a business plan in place that will open Lakeside Laboratory to learning opportunities 12 months a year with a fuller range of educational activities for youth and adult learners,” said Stan Johnson, vice provost for Iowa State University Extension and ISU administrative contact for the Lakeside Coordinating Committee.
More than 100 people came to Lakeside Laboratory on a January weekend to profile the physical and chemical characteristics of life under the ice as part of the Iowa Great Lake’s Winter Games. Sarah Spaulding, from University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, came to Iowa to lead the study.
“Iowa is where all the action is when it comes to studying diatoms,” Spaulding said. “January is the most interesting time to study them because the water is incredibly clear and the algae can be seen photosynthesizing on the bottom.”
Diane Borcherding, Bettendorf High School biology instructor, made a six-hour drive to Okoboji on Feb. 11 for a weekend class being offered at the lab. The topic interested Borcherding — learning how to incorporate GPS and GIS technology for data collection, management and interpretation into her science curriculum.
“It was worth the long trip,” Borcherding said. “I’ve taken a summer course at Lakeside and done a week of research there, but this was the first time I’d taken a weekend course. What I learned will help me create some excitement for my environmental biology course.”
Todd Louwagie, Algona Middle School science instructor, was at the same training. “It was an inspiring setting for learning and developing GPS curriculum,” Louwagie said.
More year-round noncredit programs for the public and K-12 students are planned for Lakeside. Those programs will use the modern facilities, on-site housing and the surrounding resort community of the Iowa Great Lakes. The tranquil lakeshore environment that includes wetlands, prairie, lakes and forest makes it possible to become fully immersed in the study of the natural sciences either through university course offerings or casual study. For current study opportunities see www.lakesidelab.org.
Lakeside offers a variety of nature-related learning opportunities for adults and families, in addition to the traditional college natural science summer research and studies.
The Extension Connection is a quarterly publication of Iowa State University Extension.
Laura Sternweis, editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last update:April 2005