This week my class took a 20 minute walk to the visit what has to be the most important natural resource of our community–Lake Michigan! Cumberland School is literally 8 blocks away from the lake but this is the first time in my 6 years of teaching that I have taken a class there. When I did some refection about why this is, I think it has to do with taking what is close and near to us, (local) for granted. A major takeaway that I learned from my course on global education this fall is the importance of helping my students to make connections between local issues within a community and broader global issues and themes. (Asia Society). When we were at the lake we enjoyed its beauty, we threw rocks in the water, we surveyed the plant and animal life that we saw. But my real goal for our walk was to apply some of my new learning and help them to understand the global impact and importance of this natural resource. We talked about how the Great Lakes supply 1/5 of the world’s fresh water. The Great Lakes ecosystem is under strain and my students will need to understand and care for it in the future. According to the United Nations, 11% of the world’s population lacks access to clean drinking water. A TGC fellow, Brielle Carlson is in Senegal right now and has been writing in her blog Grand Rapids Goes Global about the water scarcity and how precious clean water is there. In Milwaukee, local organizations such as Milwaukee Water Commons are working to help educate our community about the importance of protecting our lake. Organizations such as Kids Go Global provide resources to empower kids to take action in response to the global water crisis. In my own class we are learning how our actions effect the environment, specifically ways that we can keep plastics out of our rivers, lakes and waterways. Our walk to the lake may not have been a long one, but it feels it was the start of a very big journey!
Question for kids: What was your favorite part of our walk to Lake Michigan? What new questions do you have about the lake that we can add to our Padlet?