Sanctuary prepares for Earth Day

ALPENA – As Earth Day – April 22 – approaches, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is preparing to have over 400 students taking part in hands-on exhibits within its building. Students from Alpena and the surrounding area schools will participate in two hour sessions exploring a range of environmental and educational exhibits.

“The sanctuary will have a booth on marine debris this year,” Harriet Smith, education specialist and lead for the event, said. “Debris is a growing issue … we’ll show how it effects the Great Lakes, and also give students an idea on how long it takes for debris to decompose.”

Some of the 17 visiting exhibits will be displayed by other students from area middle and high schools.

“It’s great watching the students present to younger students,” Smith said.

The students setting up their exhibit booths have been involved in the B-WET and Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative programs offered in conjunction with the sanctuary. These programs promote meaningful watershed education experiences. Students are taught about the local watershed through hands-on learning opportunities. All B-WET projects have sustained, environmental activities that are aligned with state-wide academic learning standards, with the goal of leaving the Great Lakes better for the next generation. The program also aligns with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan and the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative to promote quality place and community-based education opportunities for the benefit of youth, the community, and the environment.

Other visiting exhibitors for Earth Day at the Sanctuary include:

* Alcona Middle School

* Alpena Farmers Market

* Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary

* Besser Museum and Lafarge

* Heritage Route 23

* Huron Pines

* Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

* Natureology with Maureen Stine

* Onaway High School

* Resource Recovery

* Sanborn Elementary School

* Sea Grant/ 4-H

* Stone Soup Garden

* Thunder Bay Audubon Society

* U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.