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GLIN==> Conference on Lake Michigan mollusks

Posted on behalf of Wendy W. Smith <Wendy_W_Smith@nps.gov>

                            FEBRUARY 9-10, 2004
                              PORTER, INDIANA


Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary, Great Lakes Research and Education Center,
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Lake Michigan Federation and the Indiana
Dunes Environmental Learning Center are pleased to invite you to a

The purpose of this mini-conference is to bring together malacologists,
lake ecologists, fisheries biologists, environmental educators, creative
thinkers, practical planners, database/website designers and Great Lakes
specialists.  Together we will explore the existing knowledge of Great
Lakes mollusks, their role in the ecosystem of the Lakes, the research
needs that exist and how a citizen-science project might be designed to
meet some of those needs.

      Great Lakes ClamWatchers is proposed as a new citizen-science project
   focusing on native mollusks of Lake Michigan.  We propose counting the
   dead shells that wash up on the beach as an indicator of the presence
   and relative abundance of each species.

      The ultimate goal of Great Lakes ClamWatchers is to increase positive
   personal connections between people and the Great Lakes so that people
   will make decisions and act in ways to preserve and protect the quality
   and biodiversity of the entire Great Lakes ecosystem.

The 1.5-day mini-conference will employ presentations, open space
technology, and
a short field trip to meet the following goals:
   (1)  Share current knowledge about and research efforts regarding
      mollusks of the Great Lakes, especially Lake Michigan.
   (2)  Form a network of institutions (nature centers, environmental
      learning centers, science museums, universities, lakeshore
      associations, etc.) that can collaborate on citizen science projects
      benefiting the Great Lakes basin.
   (3)  Identify existing networks, strategies, and technologies that would
      be helpful in the design of Great Lakes ClamWatchers.
   (4)  Evaluate and refine draft protocol of Great Lakes ClamWatchers.
   (5)  Refine a lay person's key to the mollusks of Lake Michigan.
   (6)  Enhance communication among scientists and citizen scientists,
      formal and non-formal educators.

Tangible outcomes of the conference will include a map of participating
institutions and research facilities, a revised ClamWatchers protocol and
key, a plan for development of the necessary digital support, and a
listserv or other communication tool to facilitate ongoing partnerships and

The overnight conference will be held at the beautiful Indiana Dunes
Environmental Learning Center within Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  The
Learning Center offers comfortable cabin accommodations.  Other options at
nearby campgrounds and hotels are available.

We are submitting grants for this conference, which, if successful, will
provide funds to pay for a portion of participant costs, some travel
expenses, funds for planning, honoraria for major presenters, etc.

Request for response:  In order to facilitate appropriate requests for
funding and to assist with our conference planning, we are putting together
a preliminary list of conference participants and presenters.  We will be
doing a formal registration for the conference at a later date.  At this
time we would appreciate some feedback as we plan and develop the
conference.  If you could take the time to respond to this announcement,
please let us know:

   (1)  if you (or another representative of your organization) would be
      interested in attending the conference,
   (2)  if you would be willing to give a short (15-30 minute) presentation
      relating to Great Lakes native species or citizen science,
   (3) the topic of your presentation (such as an overview of mollusk
      research at your institution, a demonstration of pertinent
      technology, or strategies for involving citizens in data collection
      at your site), and
   (4)  ideas for open space discussions at the conference.  The open space
      discussions will be an opportunity for focused, open discussions on
      specific topics that are related to the success of Great Lakes

We would sincerely like to consider your ideas as we plan for this
conference.  Please reply by 22 October 2003.

For more information on this conference and for registration materials,
Elma Thiele, ecologist and event coordinator at:
Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary
64 West Road, Dune Acres,
Chesterton, IN  46304;
Phone:  219-787-8983
Fax:  219-787-1341
Email:  rwsa@myvine.com

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