Virtual Learning

Even as schools close due COVID-19, we remain committed more than ever to our mission to develop and share science-based knowledge to benefit the environment and economies of the Lake Champlain Basin. Lake Champlain Sea Grant is currently working to transition workshops and educational resources to virtual formats to promote scientific investigation, and the education of tomorrow's scientists, in the Lake Champlain Basin.

Please check back often as this page will be updated as new material becomes available and shared. Past, recorded webinars are further down the page.

LIVE Webinars

Zoom (Or Youtube Live) a Scientist Series

The Lake Champlain Sea Grant team is hosting "Zoom a Scientist," focused on watershed and aquatic science. This virtual webinar series features scientists from the University of Vermont Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, SUNY Plattsburgh, the Lake Champlain Research Institute, and our partner organizations. Sessions are open to all participants from school age to adults, some sessions that are more technical may be marked as more suitable for middle and high school students.

The programs are free although registration is requested. Sessions are recorded and archived for future viewing at the bottom of this page. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, please send an email to watershd [at]

Teachers: If your school does not support the use of Zoom join us via YouTube Live. Please reach out to our education staff, watershd [at], we will be working to live stream each webinar to YouTube and can provide your class with that information. 


Upcoming Sessions:

Having trouble logging into a session? Contact us at watershd [at] (subject: Zoom%20Issue%20for%20Session%20)  

  • Aquatic Invasive Species in the Lake Champlain Basin​ with the Lake Champlain Basin Program (Tuesday, June 2, 12-1pm): We will review the difference between aquatic invasive, nonnative, native, and nuisance species and review the primary vectors of aquatic invasive species introduction and spread in the Northeast region. Lake Champlain is connected to significant sources of AIS by manmade canals and we will review how that pathway is being addressed. We will also review the role that overland transport of watercraft and trailers plays in the spread of aquatic hitchhikers and what steps the public can take to reduce the introduction and spread of all species. Register Online 
  • Learning More about Lake Champlain’s Ancient Fish: Finding and Following Young Lake Sturgeon with Lisa Izzo - UVM PhD Candidate (Friday, June 5, 12-1pm): Lake sturgeon was listed as an endangered species in Vermont in 1972, but over the past 20 years there has been increased sightings of adult lake sturgeon in Lake Champlain. Currently, we don’t know much about where they are or what they are doing as juveniles! Lisa Izzo will discuss how her research uses acoustic tagging to answer questions about what habitats juvenile lake sturgeon are using in Lake Champlain at different times of the year.​ Register Online 
  • Friends of Our World’s Streams: Why People Volunteer to Monitor Streams​ with Rachel Pierson - UVM Master of Science Candidate (Tuesday, June 9, 12-1pm): How do we know if our streams are healthy? Volunteer stream monitors collect data to help scientists and local decision makers determine the health of rivers and what factors may be impacting their conditions. Learn what motivates stream monitors in parts of the United States, Canada, and New Zealand through a research study that considers if an attachment to place affects reasons why people volunteer and outcomes of participating in stream monitoring programs.​ Registration link coming soon!
  • Small but Powerful: Understanding the Daily Vertical Migrations of Mysid Shrimp in Lake Champlain​ with Rosie Chapina - PhD candidate at UVM (Friday, June 12, 12-1pm): When you think of animal migration, what comes to mind? Many animals including monarch butterflies, fish, and birds migrate every year for different reasons. Mysids are shrimp like organisms that remain at the very bottom of Lake Champlain during the day and migrate up to the water column at night. Mysids can grow up to 1 inch and migrate more than 200 feet in one night. Join Rosie Chapina to learn more about mysids, the role these critters play in lake ecosystems and why understanding their migration patterns in Lake Champlain important.​..Registration link coming soon!
  • Title TBD with Jeff Whipple - Vermont Game Warden (Tuesday, June 16, 12-1pm): Topic TBD...Registration link coming soon!
  • Title TBD with Sydney Diamond - Master of Science degree candidate (Friday, June 19, 12-1pm): How diatoms are archives of environmental pasts. Learn about the importance of paleolimnology and how we can use microscopic organisms to determine what the environment was like 150-300 years ago. ​Registration link coming soon!


Data Science: Using Long-Term Data Sets in the Classroom (recorded)

Completed on May 21st, 2020

K-12 teachers explore a new tool, CODAP, to engage students with “big data,” using local long-term monitoring data. The (free) online program makes data manipulation and visualization easy and fun for students. This program is suitable for elementary through high school students. During this session Lake Champlain Basin Program technical staff will provide context to data collection and analysis followed by a Lake Champlain Sea Grant education staff demo and exploration of CODAP with a curated Lake Champlain Long Term monitoring dataset. This program provides ready to use tools for your classroom!  

Recorded Webinars

Zoom a Scientist Resources and Take Home Activities 

  • Environmental Law and the Lake Champlain Watershed with Jody Prescott - Lecturer at UVM: When people think about the Lake Champlain Watershed and the laws, regulations and policies that are in place to reduce pollution and keep the watershed natural and productive, they probably think about water pollution laws mainly. It is true, federal and state water pollution laws are very important. However, there are many different kinds of environmental laws that complement water pollution laws, and this presentation will talk about examples of these laws, primarily from the federal level. ​
  • Salting Our Waters​ with Dr. Kris Stepenuck - UVM Professor: Deicing salts – most often sodium chloride - used during winter road maintenance can contribute to increasing chloride concentrations in local water bodies. This can impact fish and other aquatic life, and pollute our drinking water. After an introduction to this problem, Dr. Kris Stepenuck will share information on how people can monitor a local stream to watch for impacts over time, and what UVM students and volunteers in the Lake Champlain Basin have found as they monitored small streams this winter and in previous years.​​​
  • Green Stormwater infrastructure - Incorporating Natural Systems into the Developed Landscape​ with Justin Geibel - the Conservation Water Quality Project Manager at Vermont Youth Conservation Corp: Infrastructure is the basic equipment and structures that are essential for functional, healthy, and vibrant communities. The natural infrastructure we rely on to mitigate the impacts of human development are often overwhelmed, and this is the case in managing stormwater and water pollution. GSI allows us to incorporate analogs of natural systems into our developed landscape to help mitigate the impacts of our development. Let's explore the concepts of GSI technology and take a look at a real-life installation that is a small piece of a larger effort to support healthy communities and a healthy Lake Champlain.​ 
  • Cisco Science: Conservation and Restoration of Native Species in the Great Lakes​ with Hannah Lachance - John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow​: Native fish are critical to maintaining healthy ecosystems and healthy economies. In the Great Lakes ciscoes, a group of native prey fish, have been identified as a top priority for conservation and restoration efforts. Hannah Lachance will talk about some of the research efforts designed to help inform conservation and restoration efforts for ciscoes in Lake Superior and Lake Ontario. The research focuses on the early life stages (eggs and larvae) and uses a range of field and laboratory methods.
  • What Does the VT Agency of Natural Resources Do Anyway?​ with Tami Wuestenberg - an employee with the Department of Environmental Conservation. Tami is going to guide us through the Agency of Natural Resources’ Departments and Divisions all the way from the Governor down to her specific role within the Agency. She will touch on many of the important ways people within the Agency are protecting Vermont’s Natural Resources. ​

  • Mapping our Streams and Lakes With Drones​ with Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne​ - the Director of the University of Vermont’s SAL-Spatial Analysis Laboratory​ (Tuesday, May 12, 12-1pm): Drones. You have undoubtedly seen a drone fly and maybe you even own one to take pictures or shoot video but did you know we can also use drone technology for mapping and monitoring our streams and lakes. Learn how the SAL use drones to map invasive species, respond to floods, and track changes in streams.

  • Squeezing the Middle of Lake Champlain's Food Web with Dr. Jason Stockwell - UVM Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory's Director: The recent surge in natural reproduction by lake trout is a success story, but can too much success be a bad thing? Our research is exploring the interaction of lake trout natural reproduction and lake trout stocking strategies to evaluate if too many lake trout mouths will be too much for prey fish populations, especially in light of the potential for a quagga mussel invasion which may shunt food web energy and production to the bottom of the lake.

  • But How Do We Know? Sampling Fish to Understand What's Happening with Populations​ with Dr. Ellen Marsden - UVM Fisheries Biologist: Water is an alien habitat for humans; most information about fish is collected by remotely sampling (bringing fish to the surface to study). How do scientists use those samples of fish to understand whether fish populations are healthy? Are they increasing or decreasing in abundance? How do we interpret the data from a few fish to a whole lake? What new methods are being developed for observing fish?​

  • Sensing What is in the Water: Next-generation Sensor Technologies for Water Quality Monitoring with Dr. Breck Bowden - Lake Champlain Sea Grant's Director, UVM Patrick Professor and Stream Ecologist: Learn how researchers measure water quality, traditional sampling methods, and how new technologies are giving us new insights. Includes examples from the NEWRnet project focusing on land-use impacts on nitrate and dissolved organic carbon loading. 

  • Long-term Effects of Climate Change on Lakes and the Importance of Winter Sampling with Dr. Jennifer Brentrup - Limnologist at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory: Some research summarizing the effects of climate change and extreme events on lakes and the importance of sampling lakes year-round. In a recent study, we sampled dissolved oxygen levels to estimate lake metabolism under-ice and compared the winter to summer and year-round estimates.           

  • Microplastics in Freshwater Systems with Dr. Danielle Garneau from SUNY Plattsburgh. Microplastics pose a serious threat to ecological systems, Dr. Garneau will share findings from her research on microplastics in Lake Champlain.

  • A Fish's Story: Following Lake Trout Movement around Lake Champlain with Matt Futia UVM PhD candidate. Studying aquatic organisms can have additional challenges from limited direct observation. However, recent advances in technology have allowed for tracking individual fish to understand their movement across time. These tracking techniques are being used to help understand behaviors and resource use fish in Lake Champlain.

  • Climate Change in the Lake Champlain Basin: What's Already Happened and Where We're Headed with Dr. Eric Leibensperger - Climatologist SUNY Plattsburgh. Climate change is here. We often think about climate change as a distant consequence of today's action, but we are already experiencing the impacts. This discussion will highlight changes that we have already observed and the changes that are projected to occur in the Champlain Valley.

  • What Do Fish Eat in the Wintertime? with Ben Block - UVM Master of Science Candidate. Winter in Vermont is cold and dark. Unfortunately, unlike humans, fish in Vermont lakes can't migrate to Florida and wait for spring. Rather, fish have to adapt to the conditions of lakes in winter: cold, dark, and not much food. 

  • Photogrammetry 101 with Chris Sabick the Director of Research and Archeology at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum discusses 3-D models of shipwrecks, based on field research, with examples from Lake Champlain and beyond!

  • Oil Spill! with Jason Scott - U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander. Jason's current graduate research at UVM focuses on oil spill preparedness in the Lake Champlain Basin. Learn how oil spills occur and the environmental impacts and what efforts can be taken to clean them up. 

  • Watershed Science 101 with Ashley Eaton, Nate Trachte & Caroline Blake from the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Education Team. The team will explain the complex interactions that play a role in the health of a watershed, explore monitoring techniques for lakes and streams and discuss what individuals can do to protect their local watershed. 

  • QuaranTeen Science Cafe: Benthic Basics: A big aspect of this is biological monitoring, collecting benthic macroinvertebrates, which are very small organisms that live on the bottom of streams. This presentation will walk you through how to sample for biological indicators, how to identify different organisms, and what they mean for water quality and stream health. 

  • Basin Basics: Watersheds and the “State” of Lake Champlainwith Lake Champlain Basin Program's Director - Eric Howe and Colleen HickeyThis video highlights on the “State” of Lake Champlain from invasive species to stormwater runoff - get the facts here! 


  • Benthic Sampling with a Kicknet - this video by LCSG education staff walks you through what it is like to gather a benthic macroinvertebrate sample with a kicknet. 
  • Lake Champlain Basin Program Clean Water Videos: Explore animations and videos to learn why phosphorus is a problem, what the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is, and how people working on the landscape in a variety ways are helping to achieve the goals of the Lake Champlain phosphorus TMDL plan.
  • Dive In Series: This page on the Lake Champlain Basin Program website has a variety of videos of people participating in activities varying from aquatic invasive species removal to water quality sampling. 
  • Bringing Back Salmon: This is a three-part, short series on the history, current research, and restoration activities related to the land-locked Lake Champlain Atlantic Salmon.

Virtual Resources List

  • Sea Grant Learning at Home Resources by Region 
  • NOAA Live! Webinar Series for children in grades 2nd-8th. Webinars are live-streamed via GoToMeeting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11 am EDT until June 12th. 
  • The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) is offering a 30-day free membership.
  • Center for Great Lakes Literacy has several lessons and activities on freshwater fish. This is relevant here, as many of the species that inhabit the Great Lakes also live in Lake Champlain. 
    • Fish Identification Lesson: Each family of fishes in the Great Lakes region has physical traits that set it apart from others, called distinguishing characteristics. These characteristics help fish survive in their environment. By observing and comparing these features, students learn that fish, like other living organisms, can be organized and classified into meaningful groups for identification and further study.
    • Fashion-a-Fish: Younger students might enjoy this lesson to create a fish and explore adaptations for survival in various fish species. 
  • Skype a Scientist: This program matches classes/families with a scientist to meet on Skype for a question and answer session.

Get Outside

  • Virtual Canoe Race: Free 3-week learning game for upper elementary and middle school students (starts April 6) 
  • 50 Environmental Activities (kids can do at home): This is a great article that outlines specific actions students can take on a host of environmental challenges, from waterways to climate change and healthier communities. 
  • Story Walk: Though Audubon Vermont programming is canceled in response to COVID-19, their nature trails remain open. 
  • Sit spots:  Find a quiet spot in your yard and try to count how many animals you see, what kinds of birds you hear, what you observe, etc. You may be surprised. Try at different times of the day, too.
  • Nature Walks: Project Learning Tree has some great ideas on ways to engage with nature during a walk in your place.
  • Phenology: Start tracking the seasonal cycles of plants and animals to become more in tune with the rhythm of the Champlain Valley while collecting data for the greater good. 

Looking for something specific or need help regarding virtual watershed science activities? Reach out to our team at watershd [at]