A biology education major at Temple University (PA), Dana Russell spent her summer at Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, developing online modules about estuarine ecosystems for teacher professional development. Dana’s modules include exercises using live datasets, food web dynamics, and local wildlife including sharks and birds. Dana incorporated feedback from educators and the 28 NERRS education coordinators into her workshop.
She held the on-site workshop at nearby Rookery Bay NERR at the end of July. Eight middle school teachers participated in the two-day training. Dana was impressed with the dedication of the teachers, and encouraged that many of them were already familiar with their local estuarine ecosystems. Next, Rookery Bay NERR will follow up with the teachers who participated to see if they have implemented what they learned, and Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR will hold a similar workshop.
Dana is passionate about equipping teachers with better tools to teach hands-on science and interested in the e-learning environment. Her ultimate goal is to become a science educator at a high school with a focus on promoting project-based science. Having lived most of her life in a landlocked state, she gained a deeper appreciation for estuaries during her summer at Guana Tolomato Matanzas.