A group of middle school students are taking a summertunity to solve Lake Erie’s problems. An interactive program put on by the Lake County Educational Service Center has given sixty eight middle school students the opportunity to have a “summertunity” – that is a chance to engage in project based learning that focuses on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math). 

Now in its second year, the week long program is partnering with Lake Metroparks, Lake Health, Lake County Health District, Lake County YMCA, and Leadership Lake County, according to Jovette Hiltunen, P-16/STEM director for Lake County Educational Service Center.

A Summertunity to Solve Lake Erie's Problems“We ask the Leadership Lake County kids to tell us what they think are the top problems in the county,” Hiltunen said. “Last year — our first year — we discussed teenage and youth obesity.”

Fairport students Victoria Palmer, eighth grade, and her sister, Gabby Palmer, seventh grade, signed up to participate before school let out for the summer.

“I didn’t realize how many fish were in the lake that weren’t supposed to be there,” Gabby said about the invasive species that clog the lake.

Lake Metroparks Chief of Outdoor Education Brian Fowler took the students out on the lake in canoes and kayaks to talk about the different types of contaminants and pollution that can harm the lake.A Summertunity to Solve Lake Erie's Problems

Nick Fazekas, an eighth-grader at Fairport, said going out on the lake and talking really brought home the message of why taking care of the lake is needed.

“It really showed how we all need to work together to get the lake clean,” he said.

Brian Bontempo, superintendent of the Lake County Educational Service Center, said the Summertunity program was designed to give kids real world experiences.

“This is our home, how do we preserve it? We try to incorporate these things for the kids,” he said.

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