|New England Ocean Science Education Notes|
Senate and House Pass Major Science, Math/Innovation Bills Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed bills last week which authorize a number of programs for K-12 science and math education. The bills are legislative responses to recommendations contained in the National Academies' Rising Above the Gathering Storm report, which seeks to improve the competitiveness of the United States in the global economy by strengthening science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and by providing support and incentives for increased research and development. The House approved H.R. 362, the 10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds Science and Math Scholarship Act, and by a vote of 88 to 8 the Senate passed the America Competes Act. The House Committee on Science & Technology also approved their bill to reauthorize programs at the National Science Foundation. This bill is expected to go to the full House next week.
Senate Approves Competitiveness Bill with NOAA Amendments The full Senate approved a bill this week intended to improve federal scientific research in various federal departments and programs, including the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, and the Department of Education. The bill also includes provisions related to ongoing National and Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research. The America COMPETES Act, S. 761, directs NOAA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to establish a program aimed at developing "advanced technologies and analytical methods" to ensure U.S. leadership in basic and applied oceanic and atmospheric research. The bill also directs NOAA to increase educational and other outreach efforts to improve public understanding of oceanic, atmospheric and coastal science. Under unanimous consent, the Senate approved an amendment by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and George Voinovich (R-OH) that explicitly includes the Great Lakes in the research and education programs outlined in the bill. The chamber also voted 82-14 in favor of an amendment from Senator Tom Coburn (R- OK) that would require the Commerce Department's inspector general to conduct "routine, independent" reviews of NOAA grant process
New Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents, Life Form Discovered A new "black smoker" - an undersea mineral chimney emitting hot springs of iron-darkened water - has been discovered at 8,500-foot depths by an expedition funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to explore the Pacific Ocean floor off Costa Rica. Scientists from Duke University, the Universities of New Hampshire and South Carolina, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts have named their discovery the Medusa Hydrothermal Vent Field. The researchers chose that name to highlight the presence there of a unique pink form of the jelly order stauromedusae (pictured left). Read the report summary for more information
Biennial Report to Congress on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering The level of dedicated funding by NSF to minority-serving institutions has grown 58 percent over the last 6 years. Read the full report online.
Ocean's "Twilight Zone" May Be a Key to Understanding Climate Change A major study sheds new light on the role of carbon dioxide once it's transported to the oceans' depths. The research indicates that instead of sinking, carbon dioxide is often consumed by animals and bacteria and recycled in the "twilight zone," a dimly lit area 100 to 1,000 meters below the surface. Because the carbon often never reaches the deep ocean, where it can be stored and prevented from re-entering the atmosphere as a green-house gas, the oceans may have little impact on changes in the atmosphere or climate. The research is the result of two international expeditions to the Pacific Ocean, and is published in the April 27, 2007, issue of Science. Read the report summary online.
The Failure of Environmental Education (and How We Can Fix It) In this article, published in PLoS Biology, a peer-reviewed open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science, authors Daniel T. Blumstein, Associate Professor at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, and Charlie Saylan, Executive Director at the Ocean Conservation Society, argue that it is time for the environmental education community to take stock of itself. They suggest ways that an "evidence-based" approach can improve environmental education and that to create environmentally aware citizens, some difficult lessons must be taught. View the article online.
SIMOR: Cooperative Conservation Lessons Learned The Subcommittee on Integrated Management of Ocean Resources (SIMOR) has released in a mid-report titled "Top 10 Marine and Coastal Cooperative Conservation Lessons Learned." Part of the President's Ocean Action Plan, SIMOR was formed in March 2005 to identify and promote opportunities for collaboration and cooperation among federal agencies and to build partnerships among federal, state, tribal and local authorities, the private sector, international partners, and other interested parties. These cooperative efforts will help develop and implement management strategies that ensure continued conservation of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes habitats and resources while also ensuring that the American public enjoys and benefits from those same resources. SIMOR sought to advance existing efforts to promote cooperative conservation and partnerships by highlighting examples of successful collaboration in its new report. More information is available online about SIMOR and this report.
NOAA Fisheries' Outreach Plan Available Online The National Outreach Plan for NOAA Fisheries was developed to help in the execution of a strategy identified in NOAA's Strategic Plan. Specifically, the strategy is to "develop coordinated regional and national outreach and education efforts to improve public understanding and involvement in stewardship of coastal and marine ecosystems." In support of this strategy, NOAA Fisheries is currently conducting outreach at the national and regional levels at six regional offices and science centers as well as at their headquarters. The primary purpose of the plan is to create a more unified and strategic approach to outreach for the agency. As such, the plan was recently entered into the Policy Directive System to help guide the agency's policy on external communication. The National Outreach Plan is designed for the agency's outreach professionals and their managers. Specific national goals, objectives, strategies and action items are clearly identified in the plan. The plan notes that activities related to the identified strategies will be tied to available resources and not all the strategies will be implemented each year. In addition, the plan is considered a "living document" that will be reviewed and updated annually. For more information, contact Christopher Moore or call the Partnerships andCommunications Division within the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, at (301) 713-2379.
New Report Evaluates Health of Marine Life in Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program has released the first-ever status report evaluating the health of Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. This report examines the status and trends of four resource categories: water, habitat, living resources and maritime archaeological resources. The list of concerns for the sanctuary includes damage from fishing gear to seafloor habitat and archaeological sites, depletion of some key species, and ship collisions with whales.The completion of the Stellwagen Bank condition report is the first step in the sanctuary program's efforts to compile similar evaluations of every site in the National Marine Sanctuary System. With several more condition reports slated for completion in 2007, NOAA will continue to work toward the goal of creating a sound baseline for scientific monitoring throughout every marine sanctuary in the nation. Evaluations will be repeated at each site every five years. Go online for more information.
Advisory Describes Ecosystem Conditions Across the Northeast Continental Shelf NOAA Fisheries' Northeast Fisheries Science Center has issued its Spring 2007 advisory describing ecosystem conditions across the U.S. Northeast Continental Shelf during Fall 2006. The advisories are issued twice yearly, providing information on trends in primary productivity and sea surface temperatures on the shelf (e.g., timing of the fall plankton bloom, and trends in sea surface temperature, zooplankton biomass and chlorophyll.) Visit the Office of Marine Ecosystem Studies Website for more information.
Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence- California Communicating Ocean Sciences Summer Workshop is a two-day workshop (June 11-12), sponsored by COSEE- CA at the University of California, Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science. The workshop is designed for college professors who are looking to train future marine scientists; learn how to communicate difficult ocean science concepts; who want to contribute to improving ocean literacy; and/or are seeking a way to partner with schools or aquaria. The workshop will teach education-theory-grounded methodology and provide the materials needed to teach the award-winning Communicating Ocean Sciences (COS, focus on K-12 pedagogy and learning theory) and Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences (COSIA, focus on pedagogy and learning theory for free choice environments) courses, which are now being taught at 20-plus universities that have marine science programs. The goals of the COS/COSIA courses are:
- to introduce diverse future ocean scientists to the importance of formal (K-12) and informal (aquarium, etc.) education and public outreach;
- to provide future ocean scientists with tools to communicate effectively the "Broader Impact" of their work to non-ocean scientists;
- to introduce diverse undergrad students in science degree programs to possible careers in K-12 teaching or to possible careers in informal learning environments;
- to promote thoughtful, mutually beneficial collaborations between ocean scientists, educators and informal learning specialists co-teaching the course that will lead to effective educational outreach;
- to provide significant ocean science instruction and college-age role models for underrepresented learners.
The American Museum of Natural History offers Seminars on Science, two summer sessions of award-winning online graduate courses in the life, earth and physical sciences. Designed for K-12 educators, each six-week course is led by an experienced classroom teacher and a scientist affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History. In-depth readings and assignments paired with rich web-based discussions assure that educators come away from each class with a deeper understanding of both the science and the tools of scientific inquiry. Graduate credit is available and each participant receives a CD of course resources suitable for classroom use. This summer's offerings include The Ocean System. This seminar explores how oceanographers investigate the role that symbiotic relationships and other biological adaptations have in the dynamics of oceans, a dynamic that is being threatened by human activities and consumption. See the website for the full course listing and registration information.
Making Ocean Life Count Seminar Series The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration is hosting a series of seminars on the Census of Marine Life, Making Ocean Life Count. These seminars are being held through June, 2007 at a variety of locations around NOAA's Silver Spring, Maryland campus, with live video webcast feed and phone-in available for remote users. Presentations will also be posted on the website when available. Visit the seminar website for complete schedule and information.
The U.S. Department of Education will again host its annual summer regional workshops series for teachers. This is the fourth summer that the Department has provided these free workshops to teachers. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis; registration for the workshops is free, but participants are responsible for their own transportation and lodging. Visit online for more information.
Summer Marine Science Courses This summer, the Shoals Marine Laboratory will offer more than two dozen college-credit courses on Appledore Island, Maine. For 40 years, Shoals Marine Laboratory has specialized in undergraduate education in marine science and sustainability. Over the last two years they have expanded SML's curriculum to better serve students from all over the country. See the online listing for details.
Call for Papers: The Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative will hold its second bi-annual Biodiversity Conference on September 22, 2007 on Nantucket Island. They are seeking abstracts for both oral and poster presentations. Contact Ernie Steinauer or Emily Molden with questions or for additional information.
PKAL Summer Institute Focusing on student learning is a hallmark of 21st century education, within and beyond STEM fields. Leaders intent on making the case for why change? can base their arguments on the prevalence of attention to student learning evident in contemporary reports from many and diverse sources. Sessions at the 2007 PKAL Summer Institute will offer significant opportunities for participants (as individuals or institutional teams) to explore the substance of such reports.
Call for Papers: Oceans 2007 is calling for papers in the area of marine education, among many other topics. The abstract deadline has been extended to May14, 2007. Oceans 07, the annual Marine Technology Society / Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)-Oceanic Engineering Society Conference, is being held in Vancouver, with the theme of "Edge of Tomorrow." Learn about BC's Neptune and Venus projects, which will usher in a new era in gathering data to understand the oceans. This conference features a partnership of engineers / technologists, scientific researchers, and marine educators. Visit online for more information, including the on- line abstract form, or contact Jill Zande, Marine Education Topic Chair.
Marine Bioinvasions Conference On May 21- 24, the MIT Sea Grant Program will host the Fifth International Marine Bioinvasions Conference in Cambridge. This gathering will examine marine bioinvasion vectors, patterns, distribution, ecological and evolutionary consequences, economic impacts, biosecurity approaches, and natural and invasion impacts on biodiversity.
Braitmayer Foundation Education Grants The Braitmayer Foundation offers grants to fund a broad range of K-12 education programs with curricular reform initiatives and professional development opportunities for teachers. The grants can be used as seed money, challenge grants, or to match other grants to the recipient organizations. Grant applications are accepted twice each year; the deadline for the summer grant cycle is June 1, 2007. Visit online for details.
Mia J. Tegner Memorial Research Grants in Marine Historical Ecology and Environmental History Marine Conservation Biology Institute offers the Mia J. Tegner Memorial Research Grants in Marine Environmental History and Historical Ecology. The program focuses on projects from both natural and social scientists that seek to uncover interactions between natural and human history in the marine and estuarine environments worldwide. MCBI is particularly interested in studies that seek to describe systems prior to large-scale human impacts and industrialization. The deadline for application is June 1, 2007. Visit online for details.
Gulf of Maine Action Grants The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment is seeking applications from non-government organizations for grants that forward the goals of its new Action Plan. For more information, see the Council's website. Applications are due by May 15.
Summer Intern Opportunity Northeastern University's Marine Science Center has two summer college intern positions available in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Interns work with the Outreach Program conducting programs aboard the research vessel Mysis, on-site at the marine science center, and in various local coastal habitats. Responsibilities include leading K-12 outreach programs, summer science academies, and summer teacher workshops. Housing and a small stipend are available. Contact Emily Blume for more information or to apply for this position.
Discover magazine is holding a nationwide contest among third through eighth graders to design an image for the cover of its October issue, "The State of Science in America." The winning entry, to be selected by Discover's editorial team, will be the design that best captures the wonderment and possibilities of science. In addition to the winning entry, six finalists will be profiled in that issue and on the magazine's home page. The deadline for submission is Wednesday, June 20, 2007. Visit online for additional details on the competition, including the contest rules.
Summer Sea, Science, and Sailing Programs This summer, the Sea Education Association (SEA) will offer several three-week programs for high school students interested in the sea, science, and sailing. Modeled after SEA's college program, SEA Semester, the high school summer seminars consist of both shore and sea components. Time on shore is spent studying coastal ecology, general oceanography, navigation, and maritime history. The sea component is spent aboard one of SEA's 134-foot brigantine sailing vessels in either the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. Students are immersed in all operations of a modern sailing research vessel: collecting scientific data, setting and striking sails, operating the ship's diesel engine, and helping in the ship's galley. Check out the SEA website for more information.
WhaleSail Scholarships The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies invites Cape and Islands students to WhaleSail aboard Spirit of Massachusetts, a 125-foot schooner. The WhaleSail program is open to students aged 13-17 who are interested in studying marine science for a week in July. Twelve $450 scholarships (50% of tuition) are currently available for the program through the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies' educational endowment. For more information, see the Center for Coastal Studies website. Applications including a 500- word essay on the marine environment, and a scholastic letter of recommendation, are due May 15.
Marine Art Contest Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary is partnering with the Massachusetts Marine Educators and the New England Aquarium to sponsor a marine art contest for grades K-12. For details, see the Stellwagen website. Entries are due by May 15.
Why We Love the Ocean Survey The Ocean Conservancy is putting together an inspirational web page in honor of World Ocean Day, June 8, 2007, about why people love the ocean. Participate by completing their World Ocean Day survey.
Seabird & Whale Tales Excursion The New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance (NECWA) is sponsoring a marine excursion, Seabird & Whale Tales. All proceeds from this trip go to support marine wildlife educational outreach and research activities. The trip will be held on Sunday, June 10th aboard the Tails of the Sea, a luxury 110' whale-watching vessel operated by Captain John Boats out of Plymouth Harbor. Leave from the Town Wharf at 8:00 AM sharp and return to port by 6:00 PM. Wildlife experts Wayne Petersen and David Clapp (both from Massachusetts Audubon) and Dr. John Jahoda (from Bridgewater State College) will provide commentary on the seabirds, seals, whales and coastal pelagic fish (ex.basking sharks and ocean sunfish) that may be sighted offshore. For additional information, call 508- 946-4345 before 9 PM.
Save the Date: New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative (NEOSEC) Meeting Plan to join NEOSEC (host of the November 2006 Ocean Science Literacy Summit) for a Summit follow-up meeting on July 22, 2007 at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland Maine from 12 to 3pm (lunch provided). We will identify joint actions for the coming year, based on presentations from subcommittees currently considering options including:
-Establishing an online resource-oriented compilation of programs implemented and offered each year around New England, which could then form the basis of an annual "show & tell" conference.
-Establishing a distinctive voice/name/brand, and using media and events wisely to make ocean awareness a regional priority.
-Identifying new audiences for Ocean Literacy, and means for reaching them (e.g., much as the existing OL brochure is targeted to formal educators).
Invasive Species Coordinator Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is seeking an Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator to administer CZM's Aquatic Invasive Species Program. The Program Coordinator will work with an interagency team to develop an annual work plan and oversee projects related to aquatic invasive species management. In particular, the Program Coordinator will lead an interagency effort to develop and implement early detection and rapid response protocols for aquatic invasive species in Massachusetts and will work with CZM, the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (WBNERR), Salem Sound Coastwatch, and other partners to implement a marine invasive species monitoring program. Applications are due by May 24.
The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), a nonprofit scientific organization, seeks an education program associate to join its education and outreach office. Will work on developing outreach programs such as student chapters and diversity initiatives, creating education and outreach materials, preparing grant proposals with other staff, and promoting AIBS at conferences and events. Requires a knowledge of communication and marketing strategies, as well as prior experience in educational programs. Demonstrated written and verbal communication skills and computer skills necessary. Must be reliable, detail oriented, and able to work to deadline. A bachelor's degree in the biological sciences, science education, science communication or related field is required. Candidate must have a strong interest in education and the role that professional scientific organizations play in promoting science. This is a full-time salaried position in Washington DC. Benefits include medical/dental/retirement. Send cover letter, salary history and requirements, resume, names and contact information for three professional references, and a short writing sample to AIBS, Dr. Samantha Katz, Director of Education and Outreach, attn: EO Search, 1444 I St. NW, Suite 200, Washington DC 20005, or e-mail email@example.com, fax 202-628-1509.
WHOI Expedition to the North Pole WHOI is conducting a web expedition to the North Pole. Researchers are on their way to a North Pole ice camp to deploy instruments that will make year-round observations of the water beneath the Arctic ice cap to learn more about the changing global climate. The ice camp team is meeting up with a photographer and writer, who are filing daily dispatches and conducting live teleconferences with students and museum visitors across the U.S. as part of an education effort known as Live from the Poles.
Atlas of Science Literacy The Atlas of Science Literacy is a two-volume collection of conceptual strand maps, and commentary on those maps, that show how students' understanding of the ideas and skills that lead to literacy in science, mathematics, and technology might develop from kindergarten through 12th grade. The atlas is part of a coordinated set of tools developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Project 2061, to help educators understand and use specific goals for student learning. Volume 1, published in 2001, is joined now by a new, second volume. Together, the volumes map all of the goals that are recommended in the Benchmarks for Science Literacy. The website includes sample maps from both volumes.
Cities and Oceans The World Ocean Observatory offers Cities and Oceans, the latest website in their series of events exploring ocean issues. This site offers multimedia presentations, interviews, and a wide array of information and images.
Dial-A-Buoy gives mariners an easy way to obtain weather reports through a telephone. Large numbers of boaters use the observations, in combination with forecasts, to make decisions on whether it is safe to venture out. Buoy reports include wind direction, speed, gust, significant wave height, swell and wind-wave heights and periods, air temperature, water temperature, and sea level pressure. Some buoys report wave directions. Coastal weather stations report the winds, air temperature, and pressure; some also report wave information, water temperature, visibility, and dew point.
For Sea marine science curriculum and teacher training program offers materials and teaching strategies with middle school/junior high school curriculum, a career awareness in science curriculum, and environmental education curriculum. The website offers tables of contents and examples of available materials.
Oceans for Life Lesson Plans The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program in collaboration with National Geographic Society has launched a new series of marine education lesson plans highlighting cutting-edge research, maritime heritage, cultural resources and environmental issues in our national marine sanctuaries. Designed for K-12 teachers and marine educators, the multi-media Oceans for Life series of lessons and videos gives students an opportunity to explore the history, biology, and ecology of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The lesson plans are directly aligned with National Science Education Standards, National Geography Standards, and the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts.
Polar Regions Workshop and Resources The International Polar Year Online Workshop from COSEE West and the College of Exploration took place online April 16-28, 2007. The website offers archived lectures, PowerPoint shows, and educational materials related to both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. In addition, the Resources section offers an extensive list of websites with educational resources and activities.
Marine Biology Website MarineBio.org is a nonprofit volunteer organization of marine biologists, students, professors, and conservation advocates working to share the wonders of the ocean realm to inspire education, research, and a sea ethic. The website includes links to the marine biology news, research, games, species information, photo galleries, and more.
Ocean Currents Radio Show Ocean Currents, with host Jennifer Stock of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, dives into the depths and reveals the amazing science and mysteries that marine biologists are discovering out on, and in the big blue, especially in our national marine sanctuaries. Check out upcoming shows or find out how to subscibe to the podcast.
The next issue of Notes will be sent on May 17, 2007. If you have news or announcements of interest to members of the New England ocean science education community, please send to Catherine Cramer.