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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)

Here to the Ocean, a nationally traveling museum exhibition

Funding: 
$750,000
Year: 
2008

The Sciencenter seeks to develop a 1,500-square-foot traveling exhibition, called "Here to the Ocean," on how activity in inland watersheds affects the health of the ocean, and therefore the planet. The unifying theme of the exhibition is "What we do here, has an impact there," and the key take-home message for museum visitors is that ocean water quality is not just a coastal issue.

The Sciencenter seeks to develop a 1,500-square-foot traveling exhibition, called "Here to the Ocean," on how activity in inland watersheds affects the health of the ocean, and therefore the planet. The unifying theme of the exhibition is "What we do here, has an impact there," and the key take-home message for museum visitors is that ocean water quality is not just a coastal issue. This exhibition will travel to museums throughout the United States, reaching an estimated 200,000+ visitors annually for at least seven years, resulting in an estimated total impact of 1.5 million visitors in at least 20 U.S. cities. The core audience of this exhibition will be families with children ages 6-12, and children visiting museums in school groups. "Here to the Ocean" will feature interactive open-ended exhibits that bring watershed science to life, including an immersive experience allowing visitors to conduct their own virtual underwater tours of watersheds by stepping inside and operating a submersible research vehicle on an expedition from a backyard creek all the way to the ocean. This and other exhibits will feature stunning high-definition video footage depicting fauna from various water ecosystems, as well as human activities that affect watershed health. Additional hands-on exhibits will help visitors to understand how watersheds are connected to the ocean, basic concepts in hydrology, the impact of pollution, and what science offers in the way of solutions to watershed problems. Exhibits will be designed to inspire visitors to adopt behaviors that protect their local watersheds. Visitors experiencing this exhibition will: 1) leave with an increased understanding of watershed science that will help them make informed, data-driven decisions on issues relating to watersheds; 2) have an increased awareness of the importance of watershed health and positive attitudes about the need to protect local watersheds; 3) have an increased understanding of the value of science in solving environmental problems and will be inspired to stay involved in science through school and/or career; and 4) feel an increased sense of personal watershed stewardship which they will share with others.

Competition: 2007: ELG for Free-choice Learning
Award Number: 
NA08SEC4690025
Grant Dates: 
06/01/2008 to 09/30/2012
PI: 
Mr. Charles Trautmann
State: New York   County: Tompkins   District: NY23 
Partners:   Cornell University / Cornell Lab of Ornithology

U.S. Virgin Islands Storm Strong Program

Funding: 
$499,998
Year: 
2018

Under leadership from the University of the Virgin Islands, the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, and local, non-profit, long-term, 2017 storm recovery groups, this 5-year project will create the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Storm Strong Program. To date, minimal efforts have been made to engage the USVI community in hurricane education and preparation. As a result, USVI communities face significant, but often preventable, storm risks. This is the Territory’s first sustained, community-based, hurricane hazard preparedness, and community leadership building program.

Under leadership from the University of the Virgin Islands, the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, and local, non-profit, long-term, 2017 storm recovery groups, this 5-year project will create the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Storm Strong Program. To date, minimal efforts have been made to engage the USVI community in hurricane education and preparation. As a result, USVI communities face significant, but often preventable, storm risks. This is the Territory’s first sustained, community-based, hurricane hazard preparedness, and community leadership building program. The USVI Storm Strong Program will engage underserved and underrepresented middle- and high-school youth and their families on all of the Territory’s main islands - St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix - in a program modelled after the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit framework. Youth and their families will: (1) explore the science and hazards associated with hurricanes, (2) assess their communities’ vulnerabilities and associated risks, (3) evaluate personal and community assets and options to increase resilience, (4) prioritize and plan for events occurring before, during, and after a storm, and (5) take action, in this case, through Community Transfer Projects, which will turn the information gained through the Program into local actions to increase individual and community resilience, sharing knowledge and actions with the broader USVI community and beyond. Through this training, ~400 USVI youth and their families will be empowered as environmental leaders and change agents within their communities and important insights will be learned as to how best to engage underrepresented and underserved groups in hazard preparedness. Creation of the USVI Storm Strong Program is timely, given the significant impacts resulting from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category 5 hurricanes that devastated the USVI in September 2017. These storms provide a window of opportunity to bring together partners from federal, territorial, non-governmental, academic, and the private sector, to develop a strategic, cohesive, long-term, high-impact, community-based program to improve environmental literacy and extreme weather hazard preparedness in the Territory, goals that align with the mission of NOAA’s Office of Education.

Competition: 2018: ELG for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Hazards
Award Number: 
NA18SEC0080010
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2018 to 09/30/2023
PI: 
Dr. Kristin Wilson Grimes
State: U.S. Virgin Islands   County: Saint Thomas   District: VI00 
Partners:   Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) / Region II, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NOAA OR&R's Marine Debris Program, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Human Services, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Natural Resources, University of the Virgin Islands / Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR), University of the Virgin Islands / Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS) at St. Croix, University of the Virgin Islands / Office of the Provost, St. Croix Christian Church, St. John Community Foundation, St. Thomas Recovery Team, Catalyst Miami, The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands University of the Virgin Islands / Center for Excellence in Leadership and Learning / Safety In Paradise