Initiative News & Calendar
November 17, 2017
Houghton Middle School wins Lexus Eco Challenge again
HOUGHTON HOUGHTON For the third time, Houghton Middle School students have won the Lexus Eco Challenge in the Land a ... >>more
November 16, 2017
Local educators present at Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative's Place Based Education Conference
The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI) Place Based Education Conference took place at Eastern Michigan Universi ... >>more
October 26, 2017
Students spend day learning at Lake Superior Water Festival
HOUGHTON High school students from five Upper Peninsula counties learned more about the Great Lakes and the research b ... >>more


News & Announcements
Jeffers High School wins Quagga Mussel Award at Great Lakes Bowl!
Jeffers High School is the first western UP school to attend Michigan's statewide Great Lakes Bowl!

The 5-person team consists of freshman Jacob Keranen, and sophomores Eric Coon, Adrianna Coponen, Sarah DeForge, and Noble Rundman, coached by high school science teacher, Cindi Ruotsi, along with Assistant Coach Kyle Oberle, a 1st-year student at MTU and a former Great Lakes Bowl champion.

The team drove down to Ann Arbor on Friday, Feb. 4. After checking into the hotel, dinner, pool and hot tub, it was time to be quizzed again by Assistant Coach Kyle Oberle.

Saturday morning, we arrived at the University of Michigan Natural Resources building around 8 am. The students received t-shirts, bags, hats, and a few other goodies. We then attended the opening ceremony.

The morning was broken up into four round robin tournaments. During each tournament, students had six minutes of toss up questions. Each question was worth four points. The team that answered correctly was also given a bonus question, which was worth an additional six points.
After the six minutes, students were given two team challenge questions, each with a time limit of 3 - 5 minutes. While the judges were scoring the team challenge questions, the science judge presented the correct answers. I felt like we learned a lot during this time.
Once the points were awarded for the team challenge questions, the students had another six minute round of toss up questions.

Although we didn't win any of the round robin tournaments, we were six points shy of beating one team. After the morning tournaments, students were served lunch. The afternoon consisted of single elimination tournaments. We were last place, which meant we had to face of the first place team, which happened to be our assistant
coach's alma mater, Dexter High School. It was a tough round, but the students had fun with it.

Once eliminated, we were able to take a tour of the Marine
Hydrodynamics lab at the University of Michigan. We learned about some of the competitions that U of M students are involved in, as well as some of the labs they conduct as part of their classes. We learned that with some special data-recording buoys, waves about 35 feet high were measured just off shore near Houghton, MI.

After our tour, we returned to the Great Lakes Bowl
tournament. We were able to watch the final four teams, and realized just how much we need to study to make it that far next year. I promised to buy the students ice cream on the condition that when we compete next year, they make it into one of the top four places. If they don't make it into the top four, they'll be owing me some ice cream!

During the Awards Ceremony, Jeffers High School won the Quagga Mussel Award. Sander Robinson, the organizer of the event, explained that the quagga mussel is an invasive species. He compared our school, one of the first Upper Peninsula teams, to the invasive mussel. Although
Sault Ste. Marie schools also attended, I think we may have won the award because of the distance we traveled. He noted that although we hope that real invasive populations don't grow, that the Great Lakes Bowl would like to see our team grow. As our prize, we received a Zeecraft buzzer game system for 8 players. We promised to go home,
practice lots, and return in full force next year.

Overall, the experience was a positive one, full of learning and surprises. Our team was a young one, but all members are hoping to return for a second year. We are hoping to recruit new members throughout this year and into next year, and possibly bring a second team down next year. Now that we have our buzzers and some semblance of an idea of what to expect, we'll be much better prepared for a competitive second season. Assistant Coach Kyle Oberle (a freshman at MTU and member of last year's winning team from Dexter High School in Michigan) has agreed to volunteer his time and knowledge again next year to help us reach our goal.

For more information on the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, visit the NOSB home page ( or the Great Lakes Bowl home page (

Cindy Ruotsi
Jeffers High School science teacher

809 Hecla Street | Hancock, Michigan 49930 | 906.482.0331 |