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Summer Science in New England: Ocean Education through Informal Science Centers

Funding: 
$342,232
Year: 
2009

The Summer Science in New England project has established a regional network of summer camp programs grounded in ocean science. In year one, six institutions - New England Aquarium, Northeastern University's Marine Science Center, University of Rhode Island's Alton Jones Camp, the University of Connecticut's Project Oceanology, the Seacoast Science Center in NH, and the Marine Environmental Research Institute in Maine - work alongside research scientists to engage campers, ages 14 and up, in near-shore biodiversity monitoring.

The Summer Science in New England project has established a regional network of summer camp programs grounded in ocean science. In year one, six institutions - New England Aquarium, Northeastern University's Marine Science Center, University of Rhode Island's Alton Jones Camp, the University of Connecticut's Project Oceanology, the Seacoast Science Center in NH, and the Marine Environmental Research Institute in Maine - work alongside research scientists to engage campers, ages 14 and up, in near-shore biodiversity monitoring. In years two and three, the number of partners increases to 10, then 12. The project provides a citizen science experience across a wide geographical area, supports and trains informal science center staff to incorporate citizen science while using environmental literacy principles with teens, and offers opportunities for all participants to share findings with peers at annual forums.

Competition: 2009: Ocean Education Grants for AZA Aquariums
Award Number: 
NA09SEC4690039
Grant Dates: 
12/01/2009 to 11/30/2013
PI: 
Dr. William "Billy" Spitzer
State: Massachusetts   County: Suffolk   District: MA08 
Partners:   Sea Research Foundation / Mystic Aquarium, Seacoast Science Center, BOAT CAMP, Inc., Downeast Institute, Marine Environmental Research Institute, Suffolk University, University of Rhode Island (URI) / Environmental Education Center (EEC, Northeastern University (NU) / Marine Science Center (MSC) Project Oceanology

A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating About Climate Change

Funding: 
$507,083
Year: 
2009

This collaboration led by three major national aquariums - Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq) - is developing a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean.

This collaboration led by three major national aquariums - Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq) - is developing a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean. The project increases climate literacy among informal science educators by: 1) creating a national network for training, resource sharing and support; 2) developing climate change activity carts to support exhibit interpretation; 3) providing training for youth interpreters; and 4) hosting regional and national summits to strengthen collaboration and showcase and disseminate model programs. Outcomes for educators include increased knowledge of climate change science; knowledge of strategies, tools and materials for educating about climate change; and confidence in their ability to communicate about climate change.

Competition: 2009: Ocean Education Grants for AZA Aquariums
Award Number: 
NA09SEC4690047
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2009 to 09/30/2013
PI: 
Dr. William "Billy" Spitzer
State: Massachusetts   County: Suffolk   District: MA08 
Partners:   North Carolina Aquarium Society / North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, California Academy of Sciences, Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Aquarium / National Aquarium In Baltimore (NAIB), Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science / Alaska SeaLife Center, Florida Aquarium National Association for Interpretation (NAI)

Visualizing Change: Training and Tools to Support Informal Educators

Funding: 
$518,066
Year: 
2013

A consortium of Aquarium of the Pacific, National Aquarium in Baltimore, New England Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium will build educator capacity in the aquarium community and informal science education field to more effectively communicate about climate change and its impact on coastal zones and marine life. The project will utilize NOAA datasets and visualizations in providing interpreters with training and strategic framing communication tools based on the best available social and cognitive research.

A consortium of Aquarium of the Pacific, National Aquarium in Baltimore, New England Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium will build educator capacity in the aquarium community and informal science education field to more effectively communicate about climate change and its impact on coastal zones and marine life. The project will utilize NOAA datasets and visualizations in providing interpreters with training and strategic framing communication tools based on the best available social and cognitive research. The objectives of the project are to: (1) develop and test four exemplary interpretive “visual narratives” that integrate research-based strategic communication with NOAA data visualization resources; (2) test the application of the visual narratives in a variety of geographic regions and institution types (aquarium, science center, etc.) using multiple technology platforms; (3) build a professional development program for climate change interpretation with data visualization; and (4) leverage existing networks for dissemination and peer support. Other key partners include the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory (VisLab), the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Ocean Explorium in southern Massachusetts, and FrameWorks Institute.

Competition: 2013: ELG for Building Capacity of Informal and Formal Educators
Award Number: 
NA13SEC0080010
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2013 to 09/30/2017
PI: 
Dr. William "Billy" Spitzer
State: Massachusetts   County: Suffolk   District: MA08 
Partners:   Aquarium of the Pacific, Exploratorium, Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Aquarium / National Aquarium In Baltimore (NAIB), Science Museum of Minnesota, Seattle Aquarium, Buttonwood Park Zoological Society, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)

Community Partnership for Resilience

Funding: 
$481,110
Year: 
2017

The New England Aquarium will work with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to establish Community Partnerships for Resilience (CPR), which will create community partnerships in three Boston-area communities that face severe risk from a changing climate – Chelsea, Hull, and Lynn, Massachusetts. CPR will facilitate ‘Community Teams’ of local professionals with diverse and relevant expertise in climate science, engineering, community planning and community action, and representatives from local schools or school-based educational programs serving youth in grades 4 through 8.

The New England Aquarium will work with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to establish Community Partnerships for Resilience (CPR), which will create community partnerships in three Boston-area communities that face severe risk from a changing climate – Chelsea, Hull, and Lynn, Massachusetts. CPR will facilitate ‘Community Teams’ of local professionals with diverse and relevant expertise in climate science, engineering, community planning and community action, and representatives from local schools or school-based educational programs serving youth in grades 4 through 8. Each team will identify the most critical, climate-related issues for their area that would benefit from public involvement and understanding. Then they will inform the design of learning activities and youth-focused climate resilience toolkits; serve as resources for teachers and students; and facilitate student-led projects to engage parents, peers, and other community members. Students themselves represent a key constituency – they will be most directly impacted by future changes and they will need civic capacity to foster positive change. Project evaluation will assess student learning and indicators of community engagement to provide both formative feedback and summative assessment of the project impacts.

Competition: 2016: ELG for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Hazards
Award Number: 
NA17SEC0080001
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2017 to 09/30/2020
PI: 
Ms. Rebekah Stendahl
State: Massachusetts   County: Suffolk   District: MA08 
Partners:   Girls Incorporated of Lynn, Museum of Science Boston, NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO), Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Harwood Institute, City of Chelsea / Planning & Development Department, Chelsea Public Schools, Hull Public Schools, Town of Hull / Community Development & Planning Department, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) / Greater Atlantic, Barr Foundation, University of Massachusetts Boston / School for the Environment, City of Lynn / Public Health Division, Lynn Public Schools, GreenRoots, Hull Lifesaving Museum (HLM) Neighbor to Neighbor (Lynn)

Measuring the Effectiveness of North American Environmental Education Programs with Respect to the Parameters of Environmental Literacy

Funding: 
$288,417
Year: 
2008

The North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) will assess environmental literacy levels of middle school students and compare the results to baseline data collected nationwide in 2007. In this study the research team will solicit and select a purposeful sample of schools and other program sites that represent the following categories: (1) Networks, e.g., Lieberman schools, Earth Force/Green Schools, Blue Ribbon School, etc.; (2) Programs, e.g. WET, WILD, PLT, IEEIA, etc.); (3) environmentally focused Charter and Magnet Schools; and (4) Independent Schools.

The North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) will assess environmental literacy levels of middle school students and compare the results to baseline data collected nationwide in 2007. In this study the research team will solicit and select a purposeful sample of schools and other program sites that represent the following categories: (1) Networks, e.g., Lieberman schools, Earth Force/Green Schools, Blue Ribbon School, etc.; (2) Programs, e.g. WET, WILD, PLT, IEEIA, etc.); (3) environmentally focused Charter and Magnet Schools; and (4) Independent Schools. By comparing 2008 programmatic assessments to the established 2007 base-line levels of environmental literacy (while investigating the variables that may contribute to school wide or classroom levels of literacy), the field of environmental education and NOAA may make future curricular and program decisions that are grounded in sound scientific data. The Research Team will review these results and generate a report to be submitted to NOAA and NAAEE (and other partners as needed). These results comprise a presentation at the annual NAAEE Conference and other venues. Articles will be submitted to professional newsletters and journals.

Competition: 2008: National Environmental Literacy Assessment
Award Number: 
NA08SEC4690026
Grant Dates: 
01/01/2008 to 12/31/2010
PI: 
Ms. Darlene Dorsey
State: District of Columbia   County: District of Columbia   District: DC00 
Partners:   Florida Institute of Technology, University of Arkansas at Fort Smith University of Wisconsin (UW–Platteville)

Secondary Analyses of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment: Phase I & II Students, Teachers, Programs and School Survey

Funding: 
$151,699
Year: 
2012

Phase Three of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) will analyze the relationship between middle school students' scores on the MSELS and other measured variables that may have critically impacted the development of environmental literacy in these students. Phases One and Two of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) relied on four data collection instruments: The Middle School Environmental Literacy Survey (MSELS), the School Information Form, the Program Information Form, and the Teacher Information Form.

Phase Three of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) will analyze the relationship between middle school students' scores on the MSELS and other measured variables that may have critically impacted the development of environmental literacy in these students. Phases One and Two of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) relied on four data collection instruments: The Middle School Environmental Literacy Survey (MSELS), the School Information Form, the Program Information Form, and the Teacher Information Form. The primary outcomes of these phases were to identify general levels of environmental literacy (measured by the MSELS) and to compare these levels both within and across the studies. Through the comparison of these data sets, we could identify schools in which grade level cohorts of students displayed markedly higher levels of environmental literacy variables than their peer cohorts at other schools. However, questions remain concerning the magnitude and influence of variables that were reported on those survey forms, as well as the relationships among variables measured by the MSELS scales. The major research questions that will guide this Phase are: 1) To what extent do the variables measured by these Forms during Phase One and Two appear to have contributed to or influenced students' environmental literacy scores; 2) How do these variables appear to interact with each other; and 3) What are the relative contributions of knowledge, affect, and skill variables to actual commitment or behavior. The resulting analyses of this study will be shared both through peer-reviewed publications as well as appropriate professional conferences.

Competition: 2010: NOAA Broad Agency Announcement for FY 2010 - 2011
Award Number: 
NA12SEC0080018
Grant Dates: 
05/01/2012 to 04/30/2014
PI: 
Dr. William McBeth Ph.D
State: District of Columbia   County: District of Columbia   District: DC00 
Partners:   University of Wisconsin (UW–Platteville)

Interpretation of Real-Time Weather and Climate Data for Spherical Displays

Funding: 
$158,250
Year: 
2010

The Interpretation of Real-time Weather and Climate for Spherical Displays (EarthNow) project utilizes the Science on a Sphere (SOS) Network to enable meaningful interpretation of real-time weather and climate data by museum docents and visitors viewing SOS exhibits nationwide. The project will generate and provide real-time NOAA weather, climate and ocean data to the SOS Network along with appropriate training for docents. It will also provide data interpretation summaries, data discussions and concise talking points on a regularly updated blog.

The Interpretation of Real-time Weather and Climate for Spherical Displays (EarthNow) project utilizes the Science on a Sphere (SOS) Network to enable meaningful interpretation of real-time weather and climate data by museum docents and visitors viewing SOS exhibits nationwide. The project will generate and provide real-time NOAA weather, climate and ocean data to the SOS Network along with appropriate training for docents. It will also provide data interpretation summaries, data discussions and concise talking points on a regularly updated blog. This project is being implemented by a collaborative team of two weather and climate centers of NOAA/NESDIS: the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) and Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS), in association with the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory, the I.M. Systems Group, and the Maryland Science Center.

Competition: 2010: ELG for Informal/Nonformal Education
Award Number: 
NA10SEC0080013
Grant Dates: 
11/01/2010 to 10/31/2015
PI: 
Dr. Phillip Arkin
State: Maryland   County: Prince George's   District: MD05 
Partners:   Maryland Academy of Sciences / Maryland Science Center, Museum of Science and Industry, University of Wisconsin-Madison / Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), National Maritime Center (TNMC) Nauticus Museum, Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Space Foundation NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory