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Science On Deck

Every summer, the Large Lakes Observatory hosts tours on the deck of the Research Vessel (R/V) Blue Heron docked near Duluth's Great Lakes Aquarium. See below for more details.

We are committed to inspiring a love for STEM and connecting with our community in meaningful ways.

Connecting with Our Community

We do outreach at Swenson College in a big way. Our students, faculty and staff engage with local students in the surrounding Minnesota and Wisconsin communities to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Upcoming Events

UMD Cybergames Youth League (UMDCYL) Game Programming Contest

Join in the FREE programming fun for the 3rd Annual UMDCYL Game Programming Contest starting May 7 - June 3


  • Free online competition for middle and high school students
  • Teams or individuals write programs to play simple video games
  • Programs can be ranked against other schools
  • Champion will be the team with highest aggregate score at end of all challenges
  • Can use as teaching tool or for fun without competing


  • New challenge each Monday starting May 7
  • Work on own time during each of 4 weekly competitions
  • Sign up by May 7 to compete
  • Join anytime for fun
  • Ends Sunday, June 3


  • Anywhere you have browser and internet access

Check out the intro video and demo.

Contact Dr. Peter Peterson (pahp@d.umn.edu, 218-726-7988) to sign up or with any questions.

Science On Deck- Free Vessel Tours and Presentations

Every summer, the Large Lakes Observatory (LLO) hosts Science On Deck events on the research vessel (R/V) Blue Heron. The Blue Heron is part of the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), and is chartered by research scientists to explore the Great Lakes. Tours are offered on a monthly basis during the summer sailing season (about five times a year) and LLO has been hosting them since the spring of 2013.

2018 event dates are: 

  • May 25, 2018 - Special event for school groups, contact Amy Kireta at scsek12@d.umn.edu or 218-726-7409
  • June 29, 2018 - Open to the public from noon to 4:00 p.m.
  • July 20, 2018 - Open to the public from noon to 4:00 p.m.
  • August, 2018 - Discovery World docked in Milwaukee, WI
  • August 31, 2018 - Special event for UMD faculty and students (click the link for more details)