The Watch – January 29, 2020

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News you can use from NOAA Planet Stewards 

“In the depth of winter,

"I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

– Albert Camus

Planet Stewards Education Program Connection Links

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PS News

plastic ocean

Planet Stewards Book Club: Plastic Ocean

February 18th, 8pm Eastern Time

Dial Toll Free 1-866-662-7513 followed by passcode 1170791#

The author, Captain Charles Moore, 

will join the bookclub. Join us!

This book takes the reader through Captain Moore’s initial voyage to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, his subsequent research expeditions, and his fierce work to engage the world in recognizing and taking action on the crisis of plastic in our oceans. His hard-won credibility and dogged, game-changing efforts to get the world to pay attention to a looming ocean crisis have earned him world-wide respect, igniting participation in The Plastic Pollution Conversation. Discussion questions will be posted on our website prior to the meeting.

February and March Book Club books are listed below:

  • March 16, Monday: The Big Melt (adult young fiction) by Ned Tillman
  • April 20, Monday: Rising by Elizabeth Rush


From the Planet Steward Education Program’s Webinar Archive: 

Sharing the Climate Change Story with Elementary GLOBE

This webinar showcases an elementary school level GLOBE storybook and set of classroom activities focused on the science of climate change. The book, What in the World is Happening to Our Climate?, builds K-4 student understanding of climate science through storytelling, where the kids in the story employ science and engineering practices as they explore our world. GLOBE books and materials are free online.


FIVE: Homecoming: Journey to Limuw (video)

Every year, members of the Chumash community undertake a traditional tomol journey to their homeland in Limuw, now also known as Santa Cruz Island. "Paddling in, there's no other homecoming like that," says paddler Eva Pagaling. Hear the Chumash paddlers' stories in this Story from the Blue – Homecoming: Journey to Limuw. Experience this beautiful story here.


FOUR: From NOAA What to Expect from the Polar Vortex

Six years ago, "polar vortex" became the latest weather term to enter the public conversation; since then, it's been blamed--sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly--for every outbreak of wintry weather. Author Michelle L'Heureux walks through misconceptions and explains its true character.. Read the story here.

polar vortex

oer exdedition

THREE: NOAA Ocean Exploration and Research 

The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) is the only Federal organization dedicated to ocean exploration. All current and and past expeditions from across the globe are highlighted on their website. Find educational materials along with scientific data, video, images, documents, and information associated with OER - such as expedition opportunities.


TWO:  NOAA National Ocean Service Podcast – Nurdle Patrol: Citizen Scientists Fight Pollution, One Pellet at a Time

Nurdles are small plastic pellets that are causing a big problem. But citizen scientists are fighting back. Hear from the director of the Mission Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve about how the Nurdle Patrol is taking on these problematic pellets — and how you can get involved.

noaa 50

ONE: 50 Yrs of Science, Service & Stewardship

It’s NOAA’s Golden Anniversary in 2020! It will be a year-long celebration - culminating on October 3, the official date of NOAA's founding. Throughout the year, please visit NOAA here for features, events, NOAA milestones and multimedia, including this new video on NOAA’s legacy and how the organization is still writing its future.

Love to learn about NOAA, its science, and programs? Make sure to review the OneNOAA webinar schedule regularly, then signup to attend webinars that interest you. See the upcoming OneNOAA Science Seminar calendar here.

Educator opportunities

CLEANS Webinar Series –

Join to Learn about Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness


Register now for the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) webinar series this winter and spring to enhance your knowledge and teaching about climate and energy education!Check out the range of topics, and share this information with your networks. CLEAN is also starting a new CLEAN Teacher Ambassador program to market CLEAN resources. Contact CLEAN to learn more or apply.

Free Course! Collecting Data to Explore Plastic Pollution


Follow National Geographic Explorers in the Sea to Source and Mount Everest Expeditions as they carefully collect data to track plastic pollution in the Ganges River and document climate change in Mount Everest. Hone your skills in guiding your students to design and select data collection methods that explore problems in their communities. Audience: Formal and informal educators - all subjects, all grade levels; Dates February 5–March 17, 2020. Check out this and all their online courses here.

Civic ecology lab

Online Environmental Education Outcomes Course, February 11 - March 17, 2020 

Participants in this course will explore different environmental education goals and methods for reaching those goals effectively. As a course participant, you become part of an international community of environmental educators.  Learn more and register now.

Webinar: Strategies for Responding to Devastating Storms/Rising Seas – Date/Time: Thursday, February 13, 1 pm US EST

Strategies book for rising seas

Due to climate change, devastating storms and sea level rise will increasingly threaten vibrant communities, critical infrastructure, and vital natural systems. This webinar will present actionable policy guidance for how governments, businesses, and engaged citizens can work together to prepare for a changing coast. NOAA is a Co-sponsor. Register here.

AMS Project Ocean & Project Atmosphere Now Accepting Applications

Deadline: March 27

Mauri Project

Do you love the ocean? Can you not get enough of the weather? Do you need new ideas for using data and hands on experiments in your classroom? The American Meteorological Society 2020 summer courses, Project Ocean and Project Atmosphere, are accepting applications through 27 March. These competitive professional development courses are open to K-12 teachers and include online and in-person components and field experiences. All travel expenses are covered and participants earn graduate credit upon successful completion of the course. Don’t miss this chance to learn from the experts, connect with other outstanding teachers, and have the earth science experience of a lifetime!  

Travel to Nepal to Help Schools & Students Devastated by Earthquakes


Join other science educators as we travel to the small villages of mountainous Nepal to provide lessons, materials, and support to students and their families.  Travelers will also have opportunities to visit Chitwan National park, the One-Horned Rhino & Bengali Tiger research stations, World Heritage Sites (Pashupatinah Temple, Darbar Square, and Monkey Temple), the World Peace Pagoda, Gorkha Museum, watch the sunrise over Sagarmatha mountain, visit an Elephant Breeding facility, and assist with the Nepal Art Festival. If trekking is your thing, guides are available for an optional trek in the Annapurna Mountains. Cost of the trip is $1500.00 for 17 daysAdditional information can be found at

Class opportunities

Zero Waste Week, any week between March 16 - April 24

zero waste week

Students for Zero Waste Week invites your school to take the Zero Waste Week Challenge at school, in your community and at home by:  

  • Replacing single-use plastic items with reusable alternatives  
  • Replacing plastic straws with paper straws or consider not using straws  
  • Stepping up recycling and composting efforts
  • Replacing single use condiment packets with bulk dispensers  
  • Powering down computers and other electronic devices when not in use  
  • Refusing products containing microbeads and more! 
  • Register Now! There is no cost to participate in this campaign and degree of involvement is up to each school. Brought to you by NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries!

Register here for Students for Zero Waste Week 2020 Orientation webinar, February 12th, 4-5pm. or learn more information about Zero Waste Week and how to involve your school, by viewing the Zero Waste Week informational video.

Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision K-12 Competition - Deadline Feb. 10th!

Since 1992, nearly 400,000 students have participated in the Toshiba/National Science Teaching Association ExploraVision competition. A teacher guides their student(s) as they pick a current technology, research it, envision what it might look like in 20 years, and describe the development steps, pros & cons, and obstacles.Click here To download an ExploraVision brochure.



Engage with the MOSAIC Expedition

mosaic expedition eo

The MOSAiC expedition education & outreach team at the University of Colorado Boulder has partnered with Reach the World to connect even more students and classrooms to the year-long multinational Arctic research expedition currently taking place. For the next several months, Reach the World will feature different MOSAiC scientists and team members on a MOSAiC expedition explorer page. The MOSAiC scientist or team member will also participate in calls with classrooms to connect directly with students. Teachers can connect their classrooms to the MOSAiC expedition or others at RTW's explorer program, or taccess short classroom activities, videos, photos, and weekly data by following MOSAiC Monday each week.

Student opportunities


Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, February 15th


UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant will host the state’s sixth annual Youth Ocean Conservation Summit for students grades 6-12 on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. The summit will be held at the Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island near Savannah. Online registration begins December 5, 2019, and closes January 31, 2020. The Summit is limited to 50 students on a first-come, first-served basis. A $20 registration fee includes lunch and all materials. To register, students should complete the online registration form and payment (link below). Please note that payment can only be done with a credit card through the online form. Teachers who wish to accompany student groups may also register as participants. Email for further information. 

Eco-Comedy Video Competition 2020

eco comedy challenge video

Sponsored by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking and The Nature Conservancy, the 2020 Eco-Comedy Video Competition theme will be Clean Air and Clean Water. The challenge – to produce a short (less than three minutes), humorous video that would be seen on YouTube to engage audiences. The contest is open to anyone worldwide who has a flair for producing videos.  The winner in each category will receive cash prizes, plus recognition at the DC Environmental Film Festival, and on the websites of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking and The Nature Conservancy. Must be submitted by 11:59 pm Eastern Time Zone on February 15, 2020.

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Competition

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Competition

The 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest is accepting Visual Art, Film, Music, Poetry, Prose, and Interactive & Multimedia submissions from middle & high school students through June 15, 2020. "Climate Hope: Transforming Crisis" invites teens to learn about climate change and its impact on oceans; discover or imagine solutions at local, national, or global scales; and create work that explores hope in action. For complete details, visit the Ocean Awareness Contest Overview.

Conferences, etc.

Girls in Ocean Science Conference – Middle School, Feb. 15; High School March 21

Girls in Ocean Science Conf

The Girls in Ocean Science Conference connects influential, female scientists with the next generation of ocean ambassadors. Scientists will conduct hands-on workshops that will communicate the success and excitement available to women who pursue science as a career.  Participants will spend the day conducting research with leading scientists in our labs and at sea aboard our research vessel, the Sea Explorer. Young women who love science or are just beginning to show an interest will come away empowered to explore the field further.

National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) Conference 


Do you want to attend the #NMEA20 annual conference in Honolulu in July 2020 and could you use some financial assistance to attend? There are currently three different types of scholarships available: 

  1. NMEA  member-only scholarships, 
  2. Expanding Audiences scholarships, and 
  3. Traditional Knowledge scholarships. See our Scholarships page for more information.

 All scholarship nominations and applications are due by February 15, 2020, and applicants are usually notified by mid-March, so that everyone can register by the NMEA annual conference early-bird registration deadline!

NMEA is also pleased to announce Current: The Journal of Marine Education, which is to be relaunched in to its new online, open access format with Ubiquity Press!  Subscribe here..

National Assoc. of Interpretation Workshops

An exciting National Association of Interpretation workshop is happening at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve this winter! It’s a 32-hour Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) workshop held on the coast of Maine on March 16-19, 2020. Join us.



Green Schools Conference and Expo this March

Green Schools Conference and Expo is coming to Portland, Maine March 2-4, 2020. This national event brings together all the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build and teach in U.S. schools. Learn more & register.

Green Schools conf

National Science Teaching Association's (NSTA) National Conference

nsta 2020

The NSTA National Conference will be held in Boston, MA from April 2-5 and offers the latest in science content, teaching strategy, and research to enhance and expand your professional growth. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to collaborate with science education leaders. Register before February 21st to get the early bird rate!

NOAA Planet Stewards will be hosting a happy hour, lecture on Sea level rise, hands-on workshops, and presentations! More details will follow in upcoming issues of The Watch.

Ed Resources

Data: Long-term Monitoring Program & Experimental Training 


LiMPETS is a citizen science program that monitors the biology in rocky intertidal and sandy beach ecosystems and aims to provide publicly accessible, scientifically sound, long-term data to inform marine resource management and the scientific It aims to educate students and teachers in several aspects of coastal monitoring in order to promote the conservation of marine ecosystems. 

Microplastics: It All Comes Out in the Wash

florida plastics

We all know to carry refillable bottles and "skip the straw" but you might not be aware of another major source of plastic pollution in our ocean: our clothing. Volunteers with the Florida Microplastics Awareness Project - a citizen science program run by Florida Sea Grant - sampled water at several sites and then filtered those samples to determine what microplastics they contained. In this activity, we'll analyze their data to see what they discovered.

Empowered STEM!


Empowered STEM uses Earth Force’s award winning Community Action and Problem-Solving Process to transform classrooms into engaged learning environments for young people. Empowered STEM is like project-based learning with important differences. In this program students tackle big challenges facing their communities from equity to climate change by developing solutions in partnership with stakeholders and implementing them in the communities where they live. For more information about the project take a look at the new Empowered STEM website.

Climate Change Education Exchange

climate change exchange

Climate Change Education Exchange is a web-portal of free, online resources including lesson plans, curricular units, teacher training, data and media for climate change and associated topics i.e. energy, water, civic action, natural resources, health, food and agriculture and more. There is a resource suggestion form in the bottom left-hand corner of the homepage.

Get Climate Opinion Factsheets for States, Counties, or Congressional Districts


The Yale Program on Climate Communication recently introduced “Climate Opinion Factsheets” based on their Climate Opinion Maps. The factsheets include 22 key measures of public climate change knowledge, attitudes, policy support, and behavior for each of the 50 states, 435 congressional districts, and 3,142 counties across the US. The online tool allows you and/or students to tailor-make factsheets by selecting the geographic location and the specific measures of interest. This is a great tool for secondary and post secondary students.

And the Takes...

Jobs & Grant News: 

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