1999 GREAT LAKES WATER QUALITY FORUM
SEPTEMBER 24-26, 1999
LIGHTLY EDITED, VERBATIM TRANSCRIPT
SUNDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 26
Andrew Slade, Director of Education, Great Lakes Aquarium, Lake Superior Center
Good Morning, honourable Commissioners. Great Lakes Aquarium, the world's first all-freshwater aquarium, we're opening next summer. I encourage you to come visit us.
I visited you four years ago. I have been there two or three times since.
Good, come back again. As an educator, but also as a father, I am obviously concerned about the Great Lakes ecosystem as a whole. I look at ecosystems as both environment and economy. I spend many fine early morning hours with my children looking out the window, watching the oar boats leave the Duluth Harbor and head down for the lower Great Lakes. It really seems like a symbol. This big, beautiful boat full of natural resources heading across this incredibly clean lake headed down to help engine the economy of the Great Lakes. It is part of my life. I am very interested in seeing it through.
What we are seeing more and more is that, in order to maintain this ecosystem, the role of education is obviously critical. I think the Commissioners have agreed upon that in the past as well. As a quick reminder of the history, as I am sure you aware, the Commissioners required or requested an educator's advisory council which met very carefully over a couple of years and delivered a final report about how education is going to help support the Great Lakes ecosystem. That report contained an element that said that there should actually be a center created for a repository for Great Lakes education materials, and also provide resources for teachers and for those people in the field delivering this message. The IJC did great work. They published this beautiful green book with all the Great Lakes educational materials that are out there. I have distributed hundreds, if not a thousand copies of that book to teachers and educators who are pleased to get it and use it to further their work on behalf of the Great Lakes ecosystem.
Now in Buffalo, New York, there is the Center for Great Lakes Environmental Education. They've received most of the IJC's educational materials that were gathered over the years. They are ready to start serving the education community very broadly. Our aquarium will probably one of the regional subcenters, but they will be the organization in charge of maintaining this on a basinwide effort. My main point today is to encourage the Commission and the staffers to continue the process the Commission began, and to support the center in Buffalo. It's going to be an incredible resource for the ecosystem as a whole. Whether through maintaining the partnerships, recommending support from the governments, whatever the Commission and the staff people can do, to maintain support for the center would be much appreciated, not only by the teachers and educators in the Buffalo region but around the Great Lakes as a whole. Thank you.
Thank you very much. Any other speakers? Come forward. Don't hesitate.