Laura Grimm: Happy World Hydrography Day! June 21, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Laura Grimm

Aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

July 4 – July 22, 2022

Mission: Hydrographic Survey of Lake Erie

Geographic Area of Cruise: Lake Erie

Date: June 21, 2022

Current Location: Dalton, Ohio

Latitude: 40ᵒ 47’57” N
Longitude: 81ᵒ 41’49”” W
Elevation: 1102 ft.

Weather in Dalton, Ohio – Finally Summer!  Hot, humid, and a chance of afternoon thundershowers.

Personal Log

Did you know that every year on June 21 people across the world celebrate World Hydrography Day?  So just what is hydrography and why am I excited about it?

Greetings from Dalton, Ohio!  My name is Laura Grimm, and I am the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) teacher for all the wonderful, enthusiastic students in kindergarten through 8th grade at Dalton Local Elementary and Middle School. Dalton is a rural village in Wayne County in Northeast Ohio.  Our school district is small (less than 900 students), yet mighty!  We serve the Dalton and Kidron communities and are fiercely proud of our students. Bulldog Pride district wide! 

I have always “yearned to learn”. So, in the fall 2019, I applied to be a Teacher at Sea (TAS) with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA has been sending teachers to sea for 30 years! 

Why does NOAA send teachers to sea?

I was accepted to be a TAS and was assigned to a fisheries expedition in the Gulf of Maine in April 2020.  Do we all remember what happened in the spring of 2020?  Yes, COVID caused this plan to be postponed . . . twice.  I was very disappointed, yet I remained optimistic for the future.

In late April this year, I got the news that I would be sailing on NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson to help scientists do a hydrographic survey of Lake Erie! 

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson with the Statue of Liberty in the background
NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

Go to this link if you would like to learn more about NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson.

I will be helping scientists (hydrographers) map the floor of Lake Erie in the vicinity of Cleveland, South Bass Island and Presque Isle, PA.  The survey will identify hazards and changes to the lake floor and provide data for updating NOAA’s nautical charts to make it safe for maritime travel.  

Watch this video to learn more about the science of hydrography.

I grew up only 20 miles from the Port of Cleveland.  As a child, my family spent a week each summer on Middle Bass Island where I learned to swim and fish for walleye and perch.  My daughter and I vacationed on Kelleys Island for many summers.  I even took an oceanography class on Gibraltar Island.  These islands are in Lake Erie and are close to South Bass Island which will be included in this summer’s hydrographic survey.  I am very excited to learn more about the Lake of my childhood. 

While I am “at sea” – actually, on the lake – I will post 2 to 4 blogs per week.  My blogs will include information about the science and technology I am learning and what it is like to live on a NOAA research vessel.  I will pose questions, define new terms, and give you things to think about.  I encourage you to communicate with me via email (lgrimm@daltonlocal.org).  I will be very busy on the ship and the internet may be spotty, so be patient with me; I will try my best to post answers to your questions on my next blog.

I couldn’t be more excited!  I have so much to learn.  It looks like I will be more of a student this summer than a teacher! Connecting children with nature, promoting STEAM education, and being a lifelong learner are three of my life goals.  This research opportunity will check all three boxes.  I am more than ready to board NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson!  May the learning begin!

P.S. Happy World Hydrography Day!