Aqua Kids, Emmy award-winning TV show, focuses on Lake Superior science

Contact Erika Washburn, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, Erika.Washburn@uwex.edu, (715) 919-2154

SUPERIOR, WI—The cast and crew of the Aqua Kids television series arrives July 17 at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the University of Wisconsin-Superior to interview scientists and learn about Lake Superior and the St. Louis River estuary as they film several episodes for their next season airing this fall.

An educational children’s program, Aqua Kids informs young people ages 13–6 about the importance of protecting aquatic environments and the animals that live there. The show—currently filming its new season—is broadcast weekly on more than 130 stations across the United States.

This is the show’s first visit to Lake Superior, following a week with the Lake Superior Reserve’s sister program, Old Woman Creek Reserve, in Lake Erie.

“This is a great opportunity to bring the Aqua Kids to the Research Reserves in our region, building off of years of partnerships with our mid-Atlantic counterparts and introducing this show’s audience to Great Lakes science,” said Erika Washburn, Reserve Manager.

The Aqua Kids’ cast and crew will spend a full week in the Twin Ports getting their feet wet in the Lake Superior watershed with researchers and resource management staff from the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, the University of Wisconsin-Extension, the University of Wisconsin-Superior, the City of Superior, the City of Duluth, Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Natural Resources Department, Fond du Lac Reservation Cultural Center and Museum, MN Department of Natural Resources’ MinnAqua Program, the EPA, the Natural Resources Research Institute, Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, Northland College, and Minnesota Sea Grant.

Their week in the region will include research and monitoring of invasive species like emerald ash borer and purple loosestrife, snorkeling through fish habitat near Clough Island, sampling fish and invertebrates, looking for microplastics in Superior Bay, sailboat racing on Lake Superior with the Duluth Keel Club, and touring wild rice restoration projects in the St. Louis River estuary.

In Duluth, they’ll accompany city stormwater experts to an urban trout stream as they go underneath the city in a stormwater tunnel.

In Superior, they’ll assist with stormwater pond inspection and maintenance with survey equipment, stencil storm drains, and help manage invasive plants near the newly designed Poplar Avenue Wetland basin. They will also do field and lab work related to marine debris, wetland habitats, and climate change.

“Reserve staff look forward to an opportunity to give the Aqua Kids hands-on experience working on the complex ecosystem we call an estuary, where a river mixes and meets with Lake Superior,” said Gail Epping Overholt, Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the Lake Superior Reserve. “As a Lake Superior coastal community, we have the responsibility to educate kids about the important role they play in taking care of their own freshwater.”

Aqua Kids has been honored with a number of prestigious awards, including 2 Emmy Awards, 15 Telly Awards, and 2 Videographer Awards.

More information can be found about the Lake Superior Reserve, NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System, the University of Wisconsin-Extension Environmental Resources Center, and the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

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