Center For Ocean Sciences Education Excellence COSEE Ocean Systems
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Riding the Waves: Exposing High School Girls to Real Science - 04.12.2011

In partnership with high school science teacher, Sharon Gallant, COSEE-OS hosted an overnight field trip for 10 freshman students from Gardiner Area High School at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center (DMC). The aim was to give high school girls a glimpse of what it’s like to “do” real science and learn about ocean science careers. The event was co-sponsored by the National Girls Collaborative Project (see news item).

 Gardiner Area High School science teacher, Sharon Gallant, and 10 students dig for worms in Lowe's Cove, Walpole, ME
Gardiner Area High School science teacher, Sharon Gallant, and 10 students dig for worms in Lowe's Cove, Walpole, ME. Harvested worms included ribbon, bamboo and blood worms, one Nereid sp., and assorted crabs.
The group arrived just before dinner on Friday, April 8th, and stayed until the next evening. They prepared for Saturday’s activities by reviewing a short primer on ocean sciences and “soft sediment ecology.” Early Saturday morning, UMaine School of Marine Sciences graduate student, Beth Campbell, led the group on an exploration of nearby mudflats. While the students collected samples, Beth taught them about intertidal ecology and mudflat biodiversity. The field activity was followed up in the lab with observations of organisms collected in the samples.

After lunch, the students toured the DMC’s Flowing Seawater Lab and joined graduate student, Phoebe Jekielek, on board the R/V Ira C. for a plankton towing experiment. Samples were collected from the Damariscotta River estuary at surface and at depth, and were brought back to the lab for comparison. Plankton populations were found to consist mainly of zooplankton, in both locations. Nathan Briggs, also a graduate student, gave a presentation about how gliders are used to collect data in ocean research and how he makes large quantities of data easier to interpret using special graphing and visualization software.

The field trip was a success and Sharon Gallant is hoping to return next year with another group of students.

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