There is a great deal of diversity in the programs Clear Lake Education Center is able to provide. While the majority of our spring and fall residential school groups are comprised of 5th to 7th grade students, we have hosted groups of young people ranging from kindergarten to high school age. As such, much of our educational programming is tailored to meet late elementary and middle school science standards, but is able to be adapted to suit the needs of younger, older, or differently abled students. Oftentimes, programs are scheduled for the visiting schools, but if you have a specific topic you would like us to address, we can accommodate most requests.
Most of the classes we offer are also able to be adapted to travel programing wherein Clear Lake staff bring the program to the classroom. For more information or to schedule your visit, contact us.
- Aquatic Ecology: Students will learn about the importance of water quality to the overall health of an ecosystem, explore watersheds and aquifers, and learn about bioindicator species by capturing and identifying aquatic inhabitants, including invertebrates, amphibians, and fish.
- Archaeology: Students will learn the importance of investigating the past through the careful examination and piecing together of evidence found at a dig site. They will learn about the tools and techniques used in this process and have the opportunity to practice piecing together a puzzle to represent a story.
- Bats: A study of Michigan bats with an emphasis of U.P. species, why bats are important, what threats there are to bats, and how we can help bats. Students will identify model bats captured in a mist net. They will also be able to explain how White Nose Syndrome affects bat populations.
- Bears: Students will learn about the different species of bears in the United States and their ecological importance. Students will explore adaptations and behavior of our local black bears, their diet, and interactions with humans.
- Bird Life: Clear Lake is host to an assortment of birds, both resident and migratory. In this class, students will discover the diverse world of Avians. Students will learn about bird adaptations and characteristics, and discuss why birds play a vital role in an ecosystem. Students will also cover survival issues and learn the proper use of binoculars while spending time in the field locating and identifying birds.
- Climate Change & the Carbon Cycle (4C): Students will learn the components of the carbon cycle and climate change. They will learn about carbon sources and sinks, how a system works, what climate is, and how its changing affects humans and nature. They will be able to describe how a system works and how changes to the system create imbalances that may not be corrected.
- Compass: Basic, practical use of a compass is important in wilderness navigation. Students will become familiar with a typical compass and its function.
- COPS (CLEC Observations Patrol Squad): Students use many senses in scientific observation of natural phenomena and report their findings to the rest of the group. They also learn that accuracy and completeness are important in scientific reporting. Students will examine a site, collect evidence, and explain their conclusions.
- Fire Ecology: Students will learn about the ingredients of fire, weather and environmental conditions which make a location susceptible to fire, positive and negative effects of fire, and reasons and methods for prescribed burns. They will learn about native species that have adapted to coexist with and even depend upon wildland fire.
- Forest Ecology: Students are guided along one of Clear Lake's nature trails to learn about the inner workings of a forest ecosystem. Emphasis is placed on the interrelationships between plants and animals as students study the surrounding forest for signs of habitats. Students will also take part in various activities that illustrate ecological concepts.
- Forestry: Students will learn about Michigan forests and the trees that compose them. Students will learn how a tree works, characteristics of specific trees, aging and identification, forest types, and what constitutes a healthy forest. Students will also learn forest management practices, use of forestry tools, and effects of people on forests.
- GPS (Global Positioning System)/Geocaching: GPS units are becoming very common for navigation in many different professions and hobbies. Students will learn navigational skills, the use of new technology, practice mathematical reasoning and learn the basic principles and hands-on use of a GPS. Topics covered will include satellite positioning, triangulation, and basic GPS navigation techniques.
- Michigan Rocks: Geology and mining have shaped Michigan's history in a huge way - both ecologically and economically. In this class students take a look at the state's topography, mineral and rock distributions, and some of the ore deposits and mining practices that have figured so importantly in the lives of its residents - human, plant, and animal. Emphasis is placed on the dynamism of the different components of ecosystems - and there's some good old-fashioned mineral ID too.
- Raptors: Students will learn what classifies a raptor, which raptors are found in the Upper Peninsula's ecosystems, how raptors hunt, what they eat, and why raptors are an important part of the food chain. Students will study what dangers raptors face and learn about current management strategies.
- Voyageur Life: In this class students will learn about the local history of the Voyageurs, discuss the importance of the Voyageur's travel and trade (especially that of furs) to the region, experience paddling a voyageur canoe, and learn how to use flint and steel and make cordage.
- Wildlife Ecology: Students will learn about the animals that inhabit Michigan's great outdoors. They will discuss how these creatures have adapted to the northern climate and learn about how behavioral and physiological adaptations help them to survive.