NOAA's Knauss Marine Policy Fellows share their knowledge of marine science with visitors to the National Museum of Natural History.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s offsite link Expert Is In Program gives some of the seven million annual visitors a chance to talk with a specialist while they explore the museum. NOAA’s Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship brings early-career scientists to Washington, D.C., for a year to work with Congress or a federal agency and, in the process, provides a ready supply of “experts” for this program.
“The Expert Is In Program gives museum visitors the opportunity to connect personally with an expert — from marine biologists and oceanographers to policy and law specialists,” said Megan Chen, Ocean Education Specialist at the Smithsonian. These expert volunteers, including Knauss Fellows, help visitors interpret the Museum’s exhibits by explaining the coastal and marine ecosystems and resources on display at the Sant Ocean Hall offsite link, providing a window to a part of the planet most people only see from shore.
In 2017, the program hosted 12 fellows who, in total, participated in 18 programs and reached around 1,400 visitors.
Many of the species highlighted in the Sant Ocean Hall also show up on our dinner plates. NOAA Fisheries is responsible for managing these living marine resources, by protecting ocean ecosystems and providing productive and safe seafood.
Ocean habitats, such as coral reefs and seagrasses, are all part of a single, global ocean. NOAA research and science helps protect this system.
Under the Endangered Species Act, NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are responsible for the protection, conservation, and recovery of endangered and threatened species. Working with the Smithsonian, NOAA helps educate the public on the importance of protecting the 161 endangered and threatened marine species.
What's going on in the planet's ocean impacts all of us, even those of us who live far from the coast. The ocean, atmosphere, weather, and climate are interconnected. NOAA's Science On a Sphere® (SOS), an animated globe installed at the Smithsonian and over 130 other institutions worldwide, helps the public learn about these connections.
The 2018 Knauss Fellowship class began their year-long placements on February 1, 2018, and many new experts plan to participate in this valuable experience in the summer and fall. Check the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s calendar offsite link to see when the next ‘Expert Is In’.