NOAA Education Council
The NOAA Education Council is the forum in which representatives from NOAA’s major education programs coordinate activities, increase capacity for NOAA educators, and monitor progress under the framework of the NOAA Education Strategic Plan.
The Council is chaired by the Director of NOAA Education and supported by the Office of Education. Council members represent line offices and staff offices within NOAA’s organizational structure, including special representation for programs whose education activities are specifically authorized by statute.
The Council was formed in January 2003 out of a growing recognition of the need for a formal, internal forum for discussing ideas and proposals for NOAA-wide education and outreach priorities and to make recommendations to NOAA management on all aspects of NOAA’s educational activities. Since the publication of the agency’s Next Generation Strategic Plan in 2010, the Council also coordinates NOAA’s enterprise objective of an engaged and educated public for informed environmental decisions.
Council member seats
The NOAA Climate Communications and Education Program in the Climate Program Office aims to foster a climate-literate public that understands its vulnerabilities to a changing climate and makes informed decisions. In response to public demand, the office provides climate data and information to help build a climate-smart, resilient nation. The program integrates climate data and information from NOAA and its partners into programs, tools, and resources designed to increase students’, educators’, and life-long learners’ climate literacy.
Education activities support meteorologists, students, and educators of remote sensing and atmospheric sciences through cooperative partnerships, partnerships with museums and science centers by providing data and visualizations, and community and location specific public education activities.
The National Ocean Service education team engages formal and informal education audiences to build environmental literacy through products and programs that incorporate applied ocean and coastal science. The team manages NOAA Planet Stewards, providing professional development, grant opportunities and an online learning community for educators. The team also works to develop online resources and learning games that will enhance science education for a wide range of audiences.
The Sea Grant model of integrating research, outreach, and education uniquely positions Sea Grant Educators to bring ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes science literacy to the U.S. population, beginning with preschool students and continuing through lifelong learners. Educators’ backgrounds and expertise in both technical science and education, as well as Sea Grant’s strong affiliation with research universities, results in an education network unequaled in its ability to obtain and deliver current ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes science to students of all ages.
In support of NOAA’s strategic initiative of building a Weather-Ready Nation — community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events — the National Weather Service conducts an extensive education and outreach program. Education and outreach also supports the expansion of NOAA’s recruitment to include the social science competencies needed for building a Weather-Ready Nation. The National Weather Service education team works with internal and external partners to create resources and tools for students, educators, and the general public to enhance both formal and informal science technology education. Education is the key to developing to developing a future workforce able to lead in building a Weather-Ready Nation.
NOAA's Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program funds locally relevant, authentic experiential learning for K-12 audiences through Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs). MWEEs are multi‐stage activities that include learning both outdoors and in the classroom and aim to increase understanding and stewardship of watersheds and related ocean, coastal, riverine, estuarine, and Great Lakes ecosystems.
The NOAA Fisheries education program increases environmental literacy to support 1) productivity and sustainability of fisheries and fishing communities and 2) recovery and conservation of protected marine species. Educators and scientists develop learning tools and promote learning experiences for students, teachers, and families through a variety of internal and external partnerships.
The NOAA Marine Debris Program is the U.S. federal lead to address marine debris, mandated under the Marine Debris Act. The Program places strong emphasis on preventing marine debris through education and outreach, recognizing that preventing debris is the ultimate solution to the problem. The Program works to do so by educating the public, students, and teachers about the issue and involving them in measurable behavior change through its Marine Debris Prevention grant competition, the development and distribution of educational materials and resources, and other associated educational initiatives.
NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program provides authentic research experiences to pre-kindergarten through college level teachers from around the U.S. aboard NOAA ships conducting scientific research. The successful communication of NOAA science is built on the close partnership with the teachers and NOAA scientists. Teachers’ logs, photos, videos, and education products are available for public use and can be found online at teacheratsea.noaa.gov.
NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research is committed to enhancing America’s environmental literacy by bringing the excitement of ocean exploration and discovery to a wide variety of audiences. Educators, students, and the public are essential to our mission. The program offers unique opportunities to engage in ocean exploration with scientists in real time through telepresence whether one is located in a classroom, an aquarium, or simply using a cellphone.
The Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research — or "NOAA Research" — provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. NOAA Research laboratories and field stations are are located across the country and around the world. NOAA Research also coordinates the NOAA Cooperative Institutes, academic and non-profit research institutions, often co-located with laboratories, that foster strong, long-term collaborations between scientists in the Federal laboratories and in the universities.
NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management works to be a unifying force in promoting community resilience. The office provides unbiased data, planning tools, and opportunities for communities to come together and work smarter by working together. In particular, the National Estuarine Research Reserves System provides science-based information and training to help communities becomes actively involved in coastal conservation and help them become more resilient. Through Teachers On The Estuary programs, educators become involved in field research that brings science to life and shows them how to access reserve-based research and monitoring data for their classrooms.
The Office of Education provides scholarships and collaborates with universities to prepare the brightest minds from diverse backgrounds in NOAA mission fields. The Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions works to increase the number of students from underrepresented communities who are trained and graduate with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields directly related to NOAA’s mission. The Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship Program provides successful undergraduate applicants with tuition assistance, a paid summer internship at a NOAA facility, and a NOAA mentor.
The Office of Education offers competitive grants and establishes partnerships to integrate NOAA science into learning that takes place inside and outside of the classroom. NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program includes the Environmental Literacy Grants competition — the longest standing and most comprehensive national funding opportunity focused on environmental literacy. Additionally, the office promotes environmental literacy and increased awareness of NOAA through the education web portal, and through the Outreach Center which provides assistance with event guidance, planning, and material support. The office also helps coordinate educational activities across NOAA and with external partners to ensure that these efforts are effective and are being continually improved.
Since 1972, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has been federally mandated to promote environmental education for a network of underwater parks, including 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments. Through hands-on activities, workshops, classroom curricula, exhibits and innovative technology the National Marine Sanctuary System reaches over 39 million people a year with messages about national marine sanctuaries and ocean conservation. Additionally, the office manages NOAA’s Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program which recognizes outstanding scholarship and encourages independent graduate level research – particularly by female and minority students — in NOAA mission-related sciences of oceanography, marine biology, and maritime archaeology.
Warning Coordination Meteorologists and Service Coordination Hydrologists serve as the National Weather Service’s primary liaisons for interacting with the public across the network of 122 Forecast Offices, 21 Central Weather Service Units, 13 River Forecast Centers, and nine National Centers. Utilizing a mix of formal and informal education and outreach, Weather Service staff engage local communities so that individuals can learn about and prepare for extreme water and weather events. The meteorologists and hydrologists also interface with emergency management organizations and Weather Ready Ambassadors – external organizations that are committed to creating societal response – in order to achieve an integrated response to environmental hazards.