Center For Ocean Sciences Education Excellence COSEE Ocean Systems
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Mini-grants Support Scientist-Educator Partnerships for Ocean Literacy - 01.13.2012

COSEE-OS and its partners in the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative (NEOSEC) are working to increase involvement of scientists in NEOSEC programs. Through a new “mini grant” program, they will fund three projects that involve scientists in advancing ocean literacy, achieve broader impacts of their research, and expand scientist-educator partnerships.

Silent Spring Revisited: Rachel Carson’s Legacy and Ocean Health Today

The Marine Environmental Research Institute (MERI) and Cornerstones of Science (CoS) will bring a rich, multidisciplinary, place-based program to audiences throughout Maine in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s seminal work, Silent Spring. The program will: connect ocean scientists, informal educators and audiences; increase understanding of the critical link between science, science literacy, and public policy; and develop a new collaborative model between local community libraries and centers for ocean science research. MERI will host a lecture series to discuss the impact of Rachel Carson's book and current issues facing the Gulf of Maine and beyond. In Fall 2012, the Portland Public Library will host a Rachel Carson Legacy Event that includes a multidisciplinary panel discussion. A “Resource Guide on Rachel Carson” to be developed by CoS will also be made available local libraries and the larger network of ocean educators.

Right Whales and Ocean Observing: An Exhibit that Connects People to Research Purpose

The principal goal of this project is to inform the public about the effects of shipping on the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale population based on research by Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS) scientists. A prototype exhibit – featuring acoustic studies and real-time data – will be created by the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems with support from the Seacoast Science Center (SSC) and SBNMS. The exhibit’s main message will be the impacts of ship noise and strikes on Right Whales, and how SBNMS research is helping to better understand and reduce threats. The project will incorporate an interactive touch-screen panel into the SSC’s permanent exhibit Tofu: The Journey of a Humpback Whale. This panel will include COSEE-OS concept maps based on Gulf of Maine Right Whale research. The project will also develop a visitor program highlighting the exhibit’s message points for dissemination to SSC visitors (over 75,000 annually).

Paths to Dissertation: Encountering Graduate Student Experiences and Research

A Northeastern University Marine Science Center (NUMSC) pilot study will be conducted to: i) Improve ability of graduate students and outreach/communications staff (OCS) to connect with various audiences; ii) Increase awareness of prospective university students and the public about marine science and its study; and iii) Facilitate collaboration between OCS and ocean scientists. Through a series of meetings, graduate students will employ concept mapping to practice and improve their communication skills. They will produce interactive maps about their research and personal experiences in graduate school. Each participant will also design at least one classroom activity that can be used in NUMSC outreach efforts. A culminating “concept map poster session” and program overview event will be held for participants, faculty advisors and peers. At least one graduate student will also be supported to share her/his results with the wider marine education and/or university community. Lastly, NUMSC outreach staff will develop an overarching concept map about the program’s rocky shore curriculum and its ties to current research projects.

NEOSEC is a collaboration of more than forty institutions including aquariums, museums, universities, government entities and science and research centers that share a commitment to making Ocean Literacy a goal for all of New England.

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