Spring is Here: Time to Prepare for Paddling

pdf Student Response Worksheet (Upper)

pdf Student Response Worksheet (Lower)

The snow is melting in Ely, Minnesota. The sled dogs are warm. Soon they will start shedding their thick winter coats. Lakes and rivers will be thawing soon. It is time for us to switch from dogsledding to paddling! Before we can climb into our kayaks and paddle away from Grand Portage, Dave and I have a lot of work to do. We will spend the next two months giving presentations at schools, training to get in shape, and preparing our equipment and food.  Great_Lakes_from_space

One of the most important things we have to do is learn about the area we will be paddling through. Our journey will begin on Lake Superior. Lake Superior is the biggest of the Great Lakes. The other Great Lakes are Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie. I found out some interesting information about the Great Lakes from Environment Canada and the Great Lakes Information Network:

  1. The Great Lakes are the largest system of fresh surface water on earth.

  2. The Great Lakes contain about 18% of the world’s fresh surface water.

  3. The volume of water in all the Great Lakes adds up to 6 quadrillion gallons.

  4. The surface area of the Great Lakes is more than 94,000 square miles. That is as big as the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire combined!


Great_Lakes_1 Based on the size of the Great Lakes, you can see why they are such important sources of freshwater. People, plants, and animals need freshwater to live. A lot of the earth is covered in water. Think about how big the oceans are!  That water is saltwater, which we can’t drink. Only 2.5% of the water on earth is freshwater. Lake_Superior_North_Shore Where do you think the freshwater can be found? A lot of the freshwater is frozen, in glaciers and icecaps. Some of the freshwater is deep underground. That is called groundwater. About 10% of the world’s freshwater can be found on the earth’s surface in lakes and rivers. The Great Lakes are an important source of freshwater.

Dave and I hope that you will join us in May, as we begin paddling on the Great Lakes. We will learn even more about freshwater, the Great Lakes watershed, and all the plants and animals that live near the Great Lakes.


Food for Thought:

How Kids Can Protect the Great Lakes:


Interactive Water Cycle Diagram:


Information about the Great Lakes by Environment Canada:


Great Lakes Quick Facts:


National Geographic’s Freshwater Story:


National Geographic’s Freshwater 101 Quiz:




Fennel’s Field Notes

I have been thinking about my plans for the spring and summer. Dave and Amy read your emails and comments to me. Thank you for sharing your opinions. Some of you want me to go with Dave and Amy. Some think I should stay home. The ideas you shared have helped me make my decision.

This winter has been great. I can still run around, but I cannot run as far as I used to. In the evening, I get kind of stiff. I think that climbing in and out of the canoe would be tough. I would be uncomfortable sitting in the canoe all day. Plus, Dave tells me that they will be traveling past more towns. I would be stuck on a leash when they camp in town.

I think that I will stay with my friend Chris Maher. He told me that I can spend the summer napping on his porch. That sounds pretty good to me. Plus, Chris is the owner of Sage, Domino, and Porky. I could spend some time hanging out with my three buddies. Well, Porky is kind of afraid of me. I really like Sage! I like naps on porches too.

I will miss Dave and Amy while they are gone, but Chris will take really good care of me. I will stay in touch with Dave and Amy. I will still write a few Field Notes from time to time for you. That way, you will still know what I am up to!



Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>