Columbus, OH Earlier this year, Stone Lab Education & Outreach Associate Angela Greene was selected as one of less than 30 teachers to join NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program, a highly selective professional development program that allows teachers to work side by side with NOAA scientists. Greene, who teaches science at Tecumseh Middle School in New Carlisle, Ohio, recently spent 10 days sailing on the NOAA ship Gordon Gunter, and participated in a survey of northern right whale populations in the North Atlantic.
Northern right whales are a federally endangered species, and populations are closely monitored through observation and through biopsy samples that help to create a catalog of individual whales. Led by NOAA Fisheries Service scientist Allison Henry, the research team aboard the Gordon Gunter spent 12 hours a day (divided into 90-minute shifts) observing the ocean through high-powered binoculars, called “big eyes”? to record any sign of aquatic life, particularly marine mammals.
Being surrounded by researchers in the close confines of a former navy vessel is always an experience, even for someone as experienced in fieldwork as Greene. “A field scientist gets a particular look on their face when they are going after their data. I know that look. It’s amazing to witness. I’ve seen that look on the faces of many of our Stone Lab scientists. That look is what a teacher wants to cultivate in their students”? she says.
The NOAA Teacher at Sea Program was established in 1990 to give teachers an opportunity for interdisciplinary research experience that fosters greater understanding of NOAA’s field work and increases their environmental literacy. In addition to sailing aboard a research vessel and participating in hands-on work on the ship, Teachers at Sea take their experience back to the classroom through blogging, presentations, and lesson plans. Greene’s work will be featuring an updated lesson from Ohio Sea Grant’s Great Lakes Curriculum on the Teacher at Sea blog site.
Greene’s students will not only benefit from her experience when they come back to school in the fall, they actually helped her prepare for the trip. In a research session called “Teach Your Teacher”? students researched everything from northern right whales to seafaring terminology, and completed information sheets for Greene to take on her journey to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where she met up with the NOAA crew.
Read more about Greene’s trip at her Teacher at Sea blog, teacheratsea.noaa.gov/2013/greene.html, or in the Spring/Summer issue of Ohio Sea Grant’s Twine Line, available at ohioseagrant.osu.edu/publications.
Angela Greene, Stone Lab Education & Outreach Associate, firstname.lastname@example.org