Marine Research & Education, Inc. is a non-profit corporation founded in 1999 by the Dean Lockwood Family of Zephyr Cove, NV and the John Shearer Family of South Lake Tahoe, CA. Mr. Shearer, a local business man, operates Tahoe Sport Fishing. Mr. Shearer provides in-kind services to support the program and allows us to use one of the Tahoe Sport Fishing boats at cost. Marine Research & Education is governed by a four-member Board of Directors who do not receive any compensation.
The primary mission of Marine Research & Education is to promote environmental awareness and the conservation of the Lake Tahoe Basin using simple, easy-to-understand methods and language. Marine Research & Education is the only placed-based educational opportunity of its kind in the Lake Tahoe Basin and has hosted more than 13,500 students in the past 13 years. We believe that educating our youth is the starting point for protecting our environment, for not only do the children take home information to share with their families, they are the future stewards of the land. Education is a key component for developing our community’s environmental awareness and ecological values.
This program is designed to achieve the grade-specific, science-based standards for California and Nevada. Many students in the Lake Tahoe basin have never been out on the Lake. The anticipation level of being on a large boat, on their Lake, conducting scientist-level experiments, coupled with an on-shore lesson provides a greater opportunity for the subject matter to be meaningful for these students. All of the third-grade classes in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District are exposed to this program during the Spring semester.
The program consists of two segments: an “on-shore” portion and an “on-the-water” portion aboard the vessel “Prophet.” The “Prophet” is a 45-foot U.S Coast Guard Certified vessel which provides ample room for students to conduct scientific work. While on the “Prophet” students collect and analyze water samples using techniques used by scientists to monitor Lake Tahoe’s famed clarity and other water quality parameters. The students determine the depth in the Lake that they can see the secchi disk, the method used since the 1960s to measure Lake clarity. This test provides great opportunities to talk about the variability of scientific testing and the need to document both the results and methodology. The students compare the results they obtain to current and historic values while learning about the reasons for the loss of clarity and actions being taken to improve clarity. Additionally, the students collect and view the plankton living in the Lake waters and learn where plankton fits in the food-web and its effect on Lake clarity. They also receive information about native and invasive species and what they can do to prevent the introduction of invasive species to Lake Tahoe. On-shore, students learn about the Lake Tahoe ecosystem through lessons taught by Marine Research and Education instructors on local geology, biology and hydrology. The lessons describe how both natural and human activities can affect the ecosystem of the Lake. Through this understanding, the lessons emphasize the importance of stewardship that minimizes the adverse effects to the ecosystem of the Lake.
PROGRAM FUNDING / SUPPORTERS
This program is highly dependent on grant funds. We have received funds from EpicPromise Foundation (a Vail Resort Foundation), the El Dorado Community Foundation, the Bessie Minor Smith Foundation and the Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation. In addition to grant funds, we derive financial support from direct donations (Tahoe Blue Vodka) and from the sale of boat and vehicle donations.
Marine Research & Education is a 501(3)(c) organization; tax ID no. 88-0416067.