I hope the start of the school year has been going well for everyone. We have a lot of opportunities for this month including one I’ve been personally involved in and can’t recommend more; so, we’ll start with that one.

Climate Training


I participated over a year ago in the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) course and can’t say more than enough good things about it. Classroom teachers I’ll stop you right here though so I don’t waste any more of your time; unfortunately, this is a program for informal education institutions, so you may as well skip to the following items which will apply to you.

As for the rest of you that are still with me this program not only gave me great information on climate change research but even more invaluable were the tools it gave to help share this information with others in a way that is easier to understand and accept. These tools, strategic framing, are not just for climate change either and helped me to reevaluate how I present all my programs. Not only do you get all this great information but it is also all expenses paid for travel to the trainings (there are three of them) and even better your institution gets a $3000 stipend just for your participation. The study circle is a cross-disciplinary learning group made up of peers with expertise from fields of professional interpretation, climate and ocean sciences and communications, and cultural sciences.  It is intended for pairs of staff members from informal learning centers such as zoos, aquariums, science centers, National Parks, natural preserves, and other institutions that are or want to incorporate climate education into their facility. If you have any other questions about it don’t hesitate to contact me but let me cut to the chase and tell you how to sign up for this great opportunity. Visit or for more information and to apply. Applications are due by September 19, so don’t delay. Please encourage colleagues to apply and share with your own networks. Contact for more information.

Ag Grant

So now one just for classroom teachers since I left you out of the previous post. Though it might not be directly marine science it can definitely be correlated.
Florida Farm Bureau Federation is offering multiple $250 mini-grants to certified Florida educators who are engaged in classroom instruction at the pre-K to 12th grade levels for the 2014-15 school year. The grants will be awarded for up to $250 for original and creative activities or programs that increase the understanding of agriculture among both students and educators.

“Agriculture has no subject boundaries,” said Florida Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Coordinator Michael Rogalsky. “We encourage teachers to think outside the box when integrating agriculture into their curriculum. Subject areas such as social studies, math, language arts and science are all important to agriculture and teachers that build agriculture into these subjects are encouraged to apply for the grant.”

Grant applications are due Oct. 1. Recipients of the grant will be notified no later than Nov. 15 via email. Educators can apply for the grant by visiting

Joint Regional Outing

Interested in making a trip to the west coast? The North Region has an outing planned that is open to any FMSEA members. Join us on September 13th, 2014 from 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM at 12646 W Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL for a multi-regional outing.

We will be snorkeling in the gin-clear waters of the Gulf through outstanding seagrass meadows, sponge beds, and hardbottom areas. Lunch will be provided. Please bring the following items: bathing suit, towel, sunscreen, hat, reusable water bottle, mask, fin, snorkel (*Snorkel vests will be provided). Sign up today, there are 25 spots!

Check out the Marine Science Station at

Questions? Email Ernie Olsen at

To RSVP use the following link and fill out the Google form here. Also, if you would be interested in a van pool to the outing please email me at and I’ll see about arranging one if we have enough interest.

We hope to see you there!

Fish in Your Classroom

Ever wanted to collect fish to use for education? There are two aquatic species collection workshops coming up that will give you the FWC permit to do just that. There is one in our region in Volusia County on September 10, and one just outside of it in Polk County on October 5, and I’m teaching both of them. The cost is $25 and the certificate is good for 3 years. For more information and to register click the links above.


There are several Florida Master Naturalist Programs going on in our region this fall. Just click on the links below to get more information on each class and to register.

Setpember 18, Uplands in Indian River County

October 10, Conservation Science in Brevard County

November 10, Wetlands in Brevard County

Budding Film Makers


The aim of the Beneath the Waves Youth Making Ripples film festival and competition is to engage K-12 students in marine science education, and to highlight the importance of scientific research related to ocean and coastal communities.  Educators and students are challenged to incorporate film into their curriculum by adopting a hands-on approach to marine science education using 21st century technology.  This years festival is open for submissions. Last year’s winners received cash prizes (up to $200) and this year we are excited to announce our partnership with Scuba Pro who has generously donated snorkel gear for the winners. Students should submit short films (< 5 minutes) on any marine science topic of their choice.  The deadline for submission is December 5, 2014. Guidelines and rules can be found at or email us at

Focus on Water

The Barrier Island Center has many programs focusing on their topic this month “Restoring Our Waters’ Quality“. Check out the whole list of events for September here.

International Coastal Cleanup

The annual International Coastal Cleanup is September 20, 2014, but events are scheduled at different times in many locations.  It is the largest volunteer effort for the ocean and waterways.  Sign up, search for a cleanup near you, download debris reports, and more. For the ones in Brevard County check out the flyer here.

Get Kids Outside,

For those teachers who are having trouble getting funding for field trips, or informal institutions who have seen your programs attendance dropping for the same reason, check out the following grant to help fund field trips.

The Target Field Trip Grants Program allows teachers to offer valuable experiential learning gained from field trips to enhance students’ classroom studies.  Funds may be used to cover cost of transportation, entry fees, supplies and equipment, and resource materials. The deadline for application is September 30, 2014.

Art with Wyland

The theme of the 2014 Wyland National Mural and Art Challenge is Ocean.  Wyland Foundation and partners will provide grants of art supplies to K-12 schools in 100 cities for the challenge, so register early.  The deadline for entry is November 25, 2014.

Wild About Whales

The University of Florida hosts a fourth grade cetacean/right whale curriculum, developed in cooperation with NOAA Fisheries and Sea Grant.  Be sure to check out the rest of the education resource links, including a manatee curriculum and more.

Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014

From August 9-August 30, 2014, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted a mapping expedition in the North Atlantic in Veatch Canyon and along the New England Seamount chain.   From September 4-October 7, 2014, scientists aboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will explore the diversity of benthic habitats and features in this region.  Read about the August mission and check back for upcoming details about the upcoming expedition.

What’s that Bird

Have you been in the field and wondered what bird you were looking at. Cornell Lab is now here to help. The Merlin Bird ID app for iOS7 and Android OS4 devices is available for free from the Cornell Lab.  It asks five simple questions about the bird seen and then gives a short list of the most likely possibilities.  The app currently covers 400 species, and has 2,000 photos and 1,000 songs and calls to help you confirm your ID. Just one warning though, it is a 605 MB app so make sure you have room on your device before installing.

Water Water Everywhere

World Water Monitoring Day is September 18, 2014.  Join Philippe Cousteau Jr. and EarthEcho as they  kick off the World Water Monitoring Challenge.  Students can interact with Philippe and youth from South America as they demonstrate how to conduct water testing and discuss the importance of water around the globe through a World Water Monitoring Day Hangout.  Order low-cost monitoring kits, check out the educator resources, sign up for the hangout, and more.

I know it has been a while since I’ve been able to get you a regional update but the information I have for you is worth the wait.

Love is in the Air

First and foremost, mark your calendars, February 15, is our next Regional Outing entitled “Love is in the Air.” In the morning we will be touring our nation’s first National Wildlife Refuge, Pelican Island aboard their e-tram. Refuge Ranger, Kevin Lowery, will be presenting information on the various resident and migratory birds that utilize Pelican Island for resting and breeding. We will then have lunch provided by FMSEA. After lunch we will travel seven miles north of Pelican Island to explore the Barrier Island Center & Sanctuary. We will take a comprehensive look at the ecology of the barrier island from the ocean to the lagoon. Our hike will take us through several ecosystems including rare maritime hammock habitat. I hope you will be able to join us for this exciting day of information and exploration. More details will be available as the date approaches.

But I Can’t Wait That Long

Whether you just can’t wait to get to Pelican Island or you won’t be able to join us on the February 15, you can still see what Pelican Island has to offer. Back by popular demand, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge’s FREE Wildlife Tours are scheduled every Wednesday from November to March at 8 a.m.  Space is limited.  Reservations will only be taken on a month by month basis this year. Reservations for January’s tours begin on December 1, etc.   For more information call 772-581-5557, and follow them on Facebook for upcoming special events at:

Insert ‘The Who’ Song Here

Also, don’t forget that the FMSEA 2014 Conference is April 24-27 in Panama City Beach. The theme this year is PCSI: PANAMA CITY BEACH, SCIENCE AND INVESTIGATION. More information can be found at the website and registration will begin in January. Also, remember that FMSEA members are eligible for scholarships to attend professional development, like this conference. Just be sure to apply at least 60 days before the event date so February 21, will be the deadline for conference scholarships.

Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Hopefully you can join this adventure to paddle the length of the Indian River Lagoon with tipping your canoe. The mission of the Indian River Lagoon Paddle Adventure is to generate more excitement, passion and awareness for our nation’s greatest estuary. Participation in this adventure will help increase levels of IRL awareness, stewardship, and education; it will also create the building blocks needed to better secure the foundation of the IRL’s conservation community. Join one or all the legs of this journey from the north to the south of the Indian River Lagoon, November 30-December 18. Visit for more information and an itinerary of events.

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Fishmas

The Barrier Island Center in Melbourne Beach has lots of exciting events planned for holiday season. Visit for more information.

  • “Sea Stars” Touch Tank – Wednesday, November 27th @ 11 a.m. Enjoy the day off from school by feeling a sea squirt squirt as our invertebrate friends literally change trash to treasure, filtering seawater. Also enjoy a hands-on experience with our charismatic crabs, sea stars, and urchins.
  • Mermaid’s Purse Gift Shop Open House and Sale – Friday, November 29th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Shop for gifts with a special meaning… saving sea turtles! Enjoy refreshments, 10% off one regular priced item (through December 1st) receive a free gift while supplies last with a sea turtle adoption and free eco-gift wrap!
  • Trot off the Turkey” Hike – Saturday, November 30th @ 10 a.m. Join Vince Lamb, Florida Master Naturalist, for a guided 1 mile, ocean to lagoon, walk through the habitats of the barrier island seeking sea purslane, goldenrod, and other terrestrial treasures! Please call to make a reservation.

Check out this flyer for all their exciting December events.

I’m Starting to Feel Like Bartholomew Cubbins

I’ve added another hat to the many that I wear but this one will benefit you as well. I am pleased to announce that I have been asked to serve as the regional leader for the National Network for Oceans and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI). NNOCCI’s goal is to establish a national network of professionals who are skilled in communicating climate science to the American public. I will be bringing one day climate change workshops to our area as well as keeping you informed of the latest NNOCCI news. Applications for participating in the NNOCCI Study Circles will open in February.

Things Are Heating Up

Speaking of climate change, I’m also involved with NOAA’s Climate Steward Education Project and now you can be too. Do you want to:

  • Learn more about climate science
  • investigate innovative teaching methods
  • become part of a vibrant learning community?

Then you should be a NOAA Climate Steward!

NOAA’s Climate StewardsEducation Project (CSEP) provides formal and informal educators working with elementary through university age students with sustained professional development, collaborative tools, and support to build a climate-literate public that is actively engaged in climate stewardship.

Find more about CSEP and find out how to apply online, Watch the introduction to CSEP video on the CSEP homepage, the link to the online application is at the end of the video.

Would You Like a GIFT?

And if you still haven’t had your fill of climate change opportunities how about a trip to Austria?

The 2014 GIFT (Geosciences Information for Teachers) workshop will take place on April 28 – 30, 2014 during the General Assembly of EGU in Vienna, Austria. The general theme of the workshop is: Our Changing Planet and it will explore some of the recent complex changes of our environment, particularly in the framework of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Again this year, the generous William Goree Award will support the participation of a teacher from the United States in the 2014 GIFT Symposium at the 2014 European Geosciences Union General Assembly. The selected teacher will receive a travel /hotel stipend and free registration to the meeting.

The participating teacher will be selected based on their teaching experience and the supporting statement from their school administration. The selected teacher will be expected to attend the entire workshop and submit a report within 1 year after the workshop on their impression of the workshop and how they plan to use this experience in their future teaching activities.

Application Deadline: December 6th. The selected teacher will be notified by December 15th.
Click here for the application.
Direct any questions to Missy Holzer, NESTA President, at

Cool it with all the Climate Change

Another great resource on climate change education is Climate Change LIVE. They not only have great resource on their site but are also hosting a six part webinar with lots of great information on climate change and teaching resources. Even though they have already completed three of the webinars you can still catch up as they have all been archived. You can also sign up for the next one using the information below.

To register for webinar 4 go to:

December 11, 2013 – 7:30-9 p.m. EST: Climate Change LIVE Education Resources Highlights – Part 2. Presenters: National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Climate Change LIVE distance learning adventure, brings you a wealth of climate change education resources and programs from 17 federal agencies and non-profit organizations!  We offer educators, a source of trusted, science-based materials, which are correlated to science education standards.

This webinar highlights climate change education resources from three of our partners.  Eco-Schools USA is a free K12 program of the National Wildlife Federation and a part of the International Eco-Schools network of over 50 countries world-wide.  Eco-Schools USA works to address sustainability on K12 campuses around the nation and focuses on 10 pathways guided by a 7 Step Framework.  The program is student driven and contains a 3-tiered awards system.  The U.S. Forest Service will highlight the Natural Inquirer science education journal’s Climate Collection which takes real-life Forest Service research, and engages students in the science inquiry method, along with activities tied to the research.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will highlight their Student Climate & Conservation Congress (SC3), held yearly in Shepherdstown WV.  SC3 brings together a diverse network of students and teachers from all over the country that are engaging in climate change education and solutions.

To sign up your class to participate in the Climate Change LIVE program:

For a link to all of our educational resources available through Climate Change LIVE:

Get Money and Help the IRL

In anticipation of fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015) funding from the IRL NEP, please find the request for project proposals for the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program’s annual work plan.  The work plan objectives are to:

  • To fund projects that effectively implement the Action Plans identified within the updated 2008 Indian River Lagoon Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). CCMP Action Plans may be viewed at
  • To form partnerships with governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and other entities to improve the lagoon’s water quality; conserve, protect, restore and enhance the lagoon’s resources and natural habitats; and educate and inform residents and visitors about the fragile balance of the ecosystem and actions they can adopt to lessen negative personal impacts.
  • To comply with the intent of the Indian River Lagoon License Plate enabling legislation. A copy of this statute is available from the Indian River Lagoon Project Office.

The IRLNEP seeks projects identified as high priority by local stakeholders and as outlined in the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) and primarily funds three types of projects:

  • Restoration/water quality projects that implement changes designed to improve or protect water quality and habitat, reduce freshwater discharges and nutrient loadings.
  • Scientific projects that deliver technical information for use by managers throughout the lagoon region.
  • Outreach and education projects that raise awareness, improve understanding, and foster sustainable behaviors among a variety of stakeholder groups and target audiences.

Available funding is subject to Congressional appropriation to the U.S. EPA under Section 320 of the Clean Water Act for the National Estuary Program.  If appropriated funds are not sufficient, selected proposals will not be funded.

Project Proposal Applications must be received by 5:00 P.M. January 15, 2014.  Project Proposal Applications must be submitted in the format provided via email to:

The IRL NEP has scheduled a non-mandatory conference call on December 17, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. to facilitate proposal discussions.

To participate in the conference call DIAL 1-888-670-3525 CODE: 4084219682# on the date and time.

Pre-proposal discussions are encouraged.

If you wish to request additional funds for a currently-funded project, the same information requested in the attached application form is required.

Project presentations will be held in February 2014.

Please share this information with any other organizations whom you know may be interested in submitting a proposal.


There are two new phone apps. that just went “live” as part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. One app helps identify marine mammals and gives information about viewing them responsibly.

The other app is targeted at the public (but is also useful for stranding responders and friends) to help report a stranded marine mammal.

Features include:

– GPS coordinates in decimal degrees are displayed on the “Call to Report” page of the app (can be used in lieu of a handheld GPS to report stranding locations in your 24-hour or Level A reports).

– The “take a photo” function of the app takes a time/date/GPS coordinate stamped photo and saves it to your phone’s camera roll. This photo can be e-mailed/texted.

– The app contains a full field ID guide (adapted from the “Marine Mammals & Turtles of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico” by Wynne and Schwartz – SeaGrant publication) with images to aid in identification of stranded animals.

The SEE & ID Dolphins & Whales app is an electronic field guide that assists the public in identifying marine mammals in the Southeast U.S. and provide species information, such as physical description, biology, habitat, conservation/status and photos. The app also informs that public of appropriate ways to enjoy viewing marine mammals in the wild without harming or harassing them.

The apps are currently available for download on iTunes and in the Google Play store. They can be found by searching for them by name or at:

See & ID Dolphins & Whales– Google Play: and iTunes:

Dolphin & Whale 911– Google Play: and iTunes:

For more information, visit:

What’s up with the IRL?

The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) Symposium is the result of a multi-institutional, multiagency effort to provide a forum for discussing IRL science and its application to management of the lagoon. The symposium is open to scientists, decision makers, students, education and outreach professionals, and the interested public. The intent is to help facilitate better communication among these groups so that the gaps between research and its application can be narrowed. The theme for the 2014 symposium is Lagoon Biodiversity, although oral presentations and posters on all aspects of science relating to the IRL are encouraged. (8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) Register to attend here. Only $20/person ($10/student).
February 6, 2014
Although this meeting is open to anyone interested in sharing their knowledge, activities and ideas, contributions by university students and early-career professionals are encouraged. Technical sessions will be held on February 6 followed by a poster session (5:30 to 7:00 p.m.).

February 7, 2014
A Forum on Lagoon Health, open to all, will be held on February 7 (1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.). In the 2013 forum, there was a strong consensus that local communities need to come together and apply scientific approaches to address Lagoon issues. Much has happened in the ensuing year, including the formation of Indian River Lagoon Counties Collaborative, comprised of county commissioners from each of the six counties that border the Indian River Lagoon. At this year’s forum, the Collaborative will discuss their progress to date and plans for the future with all interested parties.

Explore the Underwater World Without Getting Wet

Check out the folks at OpenROV, a do-it-yourself, open-source underwater robot building program. After successfully raising money through an Internet campaign, they’ve developed a “low cost” kit that anyone can order to build a remotely operated vehicle. They just announced an new initiative for PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL teachers to receive an OpenROV kit at a greatly reduced price.

I’m a little bit Cameron, and I’m a little bit Jacques Cousteau

Weather you identify more with James Cameron or Jacques Cousteau, Florida Tech has the film festival for you. The inaugural Beneath the Waves – Youth Making Ripples Film Festival and Competition for K-12 students will take place January 18th from 6-8:15 on Florida Institute of Technologies main campus in the Gleason Performing Arts center. K-12 students have been working all semester on creating short (5 mins or less) marine science related films in preparation for the competition. The winning films will be chosen by viewer choice votes, and from a panel of scientific judges. The winning student films will have the chance to have their film debut to international audiences in film festivals around Europe. The event is being co-sponsored by Blue Life Foundation and the Brevard Zoo. Please come and vote for your favorite film! Prizes will be awarded to the winning student films and the event is FREE to the public. RSVP your seat at If you are an educator that has students entering films….Submission information and guidelines can be found at

But the kids don’t get to have all the fun. Beneath the Waves(TM) Film Festival is launching its 2014 call for submissions. Beneath the Waves is a unique film festival and communication platform run by scientists with a global reach. Our mission is to give the oceans a voice through digital media and storytelling. Over the past four years, we have reached thousands of people across 6 continents at our screening events. Whether you are an undergad, graduate student, scientist, or a professional filmmaker, if you have a story to tell, we want to hear it, and we want to help you amplify your message!

Films are due by February 1, 2014. All films must be less than 10 minutes in length and must relate to a marine science or conservation topic. Please see for more details on submission criteria and to view some of our past films and events.

Sorry it has been awhile since my last post. I wanted to get information out to you earlier this month but internet issues have kept me away. That just means more great information to share with you.

The Conference is Coming!fmsea-2014-pcsi2

Doesn’t it seem like we just finished the last FMSEA Conference? Well we’ve been hard at work since then planning the next conference and we are ahead of schedule. We already have information on the website regarding dates and costs, so for those who need to get approval to attend you can start now. And don’t forget you can apply for a scholarship to attend as well, the deadline is February 21.

Unleash Your Inner Spielberg

Florida Tech is hosing the Beneath the Waves Film Festival this Oct 10 and 11th in the Gleason Performing Arts Center on the main campus.  The festival is Oct 10th and 11th from 6-9 both nights.

The format for the nights will be similar but geared toward different audiences.

Oct 10th will be more of an adult venue:

6-7 pre-reception with graduate student posters

7-8 Films

8-9 Panel discussion where the audience can ask scientists and film makers questions

The Oct 11th venue will be geared toward a K-12 audience:

6-7 pre-reception with activities and demos

7-8 Films

8-9 Panel discussion where the audience can ask scientists and film makers questions

Seats for both nights can be reserved by emailing

They are also hosting the first ever Beneath the Waves – Youth Making Ripples Film Competition for students under the age of 18. They are challenging students throughout Florida to make their own marine science film (< 5 mins).  Films are due Dec 1.  Submission information can be found at

We will host the Youth Making Ripples Competition on Jan 18th (6-8pm).  Student films will debut and the audience will vote for the winners.  Prizes will be awarded.

Count on Getting Wild

How do you determine how many animals are in an area? How are those numbers used to make management decisions? Learn this and more as we explore the techniques and reasoning behind wildlife monitoring. Get hands on experience counting sea turtles eggs. Use high tech gear to see for yourself what other animals live in a gopher tortoise burrow. Identify and count bats using just the sounds they make. Help band scrub jays for population research. Sign up now to experience all these amazing things on October 11, 12, 18, & 19 at Riverwalk Nature Center as part of the Florida Master Naturalist Program Wildlife Monitoring Course.

Other FMNP courses in our region include:

Freshwater Wetlands:

Coastal Systems:

Upland Habitats:

Its Not Just Baking Soda Volcanoes and Potato Batteries

Do your students in grades 5-8 need assistance with the science fair? Would they like the chance to talk to experts in their area of study? Would they like to hear tips from the judges themselves? Would they like to get all this information for FREE? Then see below:


Have Your Fish and Eat it Too.

While not in our region, I thought it was close enough that some may be interested. A one day workshop on Aquaponics – the cultivation of fish and plants in one eco-system – will be offered by the Florida Aquaculture Association on October 25, 2013 at the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Nora Mayo Hall Building in Winter Haven.

This one-day training seminar designed to teach the basics of raising fish and aquaponic plants in a naturally balanced, integrated culture system. Participants will learn about the basic needs of food and/or aquarium fish and how they should be cared for and raised. Participants will also learn how to use the wastewater from the fish to raise pesticide-free, nutritious healthy vegetables without soil. A (self-drive) field trip to MorningStar Farms in Dade City – an innovative aquaponics installation and teaching facility- will allow participants to see firsthand a working aquaponics facility.

Advance registration is required. Attendees can register for this educational course by visiting the FAA website at – Individuals can save $30 by registering at the early-bird rate of $95 prior to September 30th .

See Oh Too?

No it isn’t an droid from Star Wars. We are talking carbon. You can now talk about it with your class too while participating in International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge. Have your students calculate their carbon footprint and then discuss results and perspectives with other students around the world. Sign up soon though because the registration deadline is September 21.

It Is All in How You Frame It


While we are on the topic of carbon, I would highly encourage any informal educators to take advantage of this opportunity. I did it earlier this year and found it very beneficial. The National Network of Ocean Climate Change Interpretation has opened their application period for the spring 2014 Study Circles. These trainings teach you to properly frame and integrate climate change education into your programs. Best of all, all expenses are paid and there is a $3,000 stipend for your institution. Visit for the application and dates. Applications are due October 18, 2013

Earn Green for Your Input

Middle and high school teachers are needed to partner in Next Generation Science Standards Climate Change Curricular Units. Thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation, the Center for Essential Science is seeking middle and high school teachers for the 2013-2014 academic year who might be willing to implement part or all of our middle school and high school climate change curricular units during this academic year.  The units were developed over the past three years to specifically foster the kind of science knowledge that is emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards (e.g., knowledge that uses science practices to deepen students’ understandings of disciplinary core ideas about climate change).

Participating teachers would receive:

a. Online and face-to-face professional development support as needed and desired,

b.  All of the materials and supplies needed to implement the units, including infrared thermometers and other laboratory materials, all written and online resources, and pre and post-tests,

c. $500. compensation for full participation in either a middle school or high school module implementation,  and

d. A graduate student support person who would visit (if local) or provide classroom support once a week or more (as needed) to help with any questions or logistics.

Interested individuals should do any of the following:

1. Sign up for our Online Webinar to be held Thursday, October 3rd, from 6-8 pm eastern that provides an interactive overview of the curricular units. Click here to sign up

2. Send email inquiries or questions to

3. Visit the project Web page for more information:

For more information, contact Nancy Songer and the entire Center for Essential Science research team.

Are Your Students Aware?

From the Bow Seat announces its contest for 2014, which will appeal to all learners!

The contest invites high school students to tackle the issue of Plastic Pollution in the Ocean, individually or collaboratively, through ART, ADVOCACY or ESSAY options.

The 2014 Ocean Awareness Student Contest is an outgrowth of From the Bow Seat, a 64-minute documentary about environmental issues impacting the world’s oceans. The contest and the film provide opportunities for high school teachers and home school instructors to challenge their students to explore real-world threats to marine life. Contest information can be found at The contest extends from September 15, 2013to June 15, 2014.

Once again, the focus of this year’s contest is creating next-generation ocean stewardship and encouraging students to think critically and cross disciplinarily about the ocean.  However, some exciting changes in the contest rules will broaden its appeal to students and expand its applicability to more areas of the curriculum:

1. This year’s theme is Plastics Pollution in Ocean, a timely topic that is increasingly in the news, as we see evidence of growing plastics gyres in both the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, and as debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami arrives on our shores. The topic aligns with both Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards for Human Impact.

2. Students may submit entries in the form of a 5-8 page essay, an art project, or 5-10 minute video highlighting their advocacy campaign.

3. Students may work independently or collaborate in groups.

4. More awards will be given to students, teachers, and school science and art departments. This year, the number of cash awards has been increased dramatically. There are now cash prizes for all three categories of Art, Essay, and Advocacy: $1,500 for First Prize, $1,000 for Second Place, $500 for Third Place, plus $250 for 10 Honorable Mentions.

In addition, the First-place winners’ high schools will receive $1,500, and three Teachers Recognition Awards of $750 each will be presented. See contest site for all rules and submission requirements.

Not a Spielberg? How about a Pulitzer?

Student Reporters Invited to Participate in Environmental Journalism Program

This month, Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) USA launches Year 2 of the program. Like Eco-Schools, YRE is an international program hosted in the U.S. by the National Wildlife Federation. Students aged 13-18 investigate an environmental issue in their community and report on it in writing, photos, or video. Entries are due to the national competition on March 15, 2014 for a chance to win recognition, prizes, and advancement to the international level. Now is the perfect time to begin!

The YRE USA program is a natural fit with Eco-Schools, providing an excellent opportunity for students to:
* Delve deeper into issues raised by their Eco-Schools work.
* Develop valuable communication skills.
* Share important information with their community.

Visit for full details.

Sailing into STEM

Calling all educators! Are you interested in implementing REACH – US Sailing’s STEM Education Program at your school or sailing center? REACH combines science, technology, engineering, and math with the sport of sailing. US Sailing’s STEM Educator Course: Middle School I, a one-day eight hour professional development/training opportunity for teachers and sailing instructors to learn how to implement US Sailing’s STEM program and curriculum called REACH. The REACH modules feature inquiry-based learning and engineering by design processes to provide youth with hands-on integrated learning opportunities that inspire interest in fields of study including physics, marine biology, robotics, technology and more. Modules include on the water and classroom based activities, for easy implementation in multiple settings.

“After attending the STEM Educator Course, a full day training on US Sailing’s science, technology, engineering and math curriculum, I was highly impressed with the level of professionalism of Jessica Servis, who is the program coordinator, and her ability to meet all of the participant’s needs, abilities, and questions. The modules in the curriculum provide hands-on experiences for students to learn about the science and engineering behind sailing, an abundant list of web resources that tie in with each lesson, and an effective sequence of lessons, so that they each build on each other. I would highly recommend this program for any classroom or program that is looking to incorporate hands-on experiences when learning about math, technology, and science!” – Meghan Dutton

REACH Educator Course Dates and Locations

Saturday, September 21st at Community Boating Center in Providence, Rhode Island – Register

Sunday, October 25th at Shake-A-Leg in Miami, Florida – Register

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 at Sailing Leadership Forum in San Diego, California – Register

Scholarship Applications for the REACH Educator Course

Scholarships will be awarded to formal and informal educators to attend US Sailing’s STEM Educator Course in the fall/winter of 2013 at one of the following locations:

  •          Community Boating Center – Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday, September 21st 8:30-4:30
  •          Shake-A-Leg – Miami, Florida on Sunday, October 27th 8:30-4:30
  •          US Sailing Leadership Forum – San Diego, California on Wednesday, February 5th 8:30-4:30

The Reach Program scholarship applications will be reviewed in the order that they are received. The 2013 Fall Scholarships Cycle will be filled on a first come first serve basis.

2013 Reach Program Scholarship Application – Click to download. Email completed applications to

The REACH modules are a great teaching resource to your classroom, sailing center, yacht club, summer camp, or after school program. People who are implementing REACH include:

  • Middle School Teachers
  • Sailing Instructors
  • Camp Counselors
  • Scout Leaders
  • Youth Program Instructors
  • Environmental Educators
  • Parents
  • Home Schoolers

Flexible, the REACH program’s STEM education curriculum can be implemented in a 40 minute lesson, half day workshops or seasonal program: summer, after school, during school.

The STEM Educator Course: Middle School I is $150 and includes an 8 hour professional development/training, materials, and a personal copy of the 132 page REACH Educator Guide for Middle School Modules 1-10 (retail $59.95). Educators should bring a bagged lunch. Upon completion attendees will receive a US Sailing STEM Educator Course certificate and formal educators will receive a certificate for professional development hours.


East Central Regional Update January 2013

by Brandon 2013/01/25 East Central

I know it has been a few weeks since you last heard from me. I hope you all enjoyed the Fishmas installments. Things have been busy for me and I’m excited to have been accepted into both New England Aquarium’s National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation and NOAA’s Climate Stewards. I’ll be attending […]

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