Planet Stewards Program, THE WATCH – February 12, 2020

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News you can use from NOAA Planet Stewards 

Do your little bit of good where you are.

It's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

- Desmond Tutu


Planet Stewards Education Program Connection Links

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PS News


Planet Stewards Book Club: Plastic Ocean


February 18th, 8pm Eastern Time

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

The next book club will discuss Plastic Ocean
by Captain Charles Moore,
who will be at the book club. 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 are posted on our website. 

March and April Book Club books and dates follow:

From the Planet Steward Education Program’s Webinar Archive:


Marine debris, or trash in the ocean or Great Lakes, is one of the greatest pollution problems facing our waters today. Debris can harm wildlife and their habitats, become a hazard to navigation, and even impact the economy and human health. Unfortunately, this global issue comes from one source: people. But thankfully, that means that people have the ultimate power to be the solution to the problem! When this presentation was given, Krista Stegemann was the Communications and Education Specialist for NOAA's Marine Debris Program. Watch and learn.


FIVE: Zero Waste 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 (such as drink bottles, sandwich baggies, spork packs, etc.) with reusable alternatives  
  • Replacing plastic straws with paper straws or consider not using straws  
  • Stepping up recycling and composting effortsReplacing single use condiment packets with bulk dispensers  
  • Powering down computers and other electronic devices when not in use  
  • Refusing products containing micro beads  And more! 

Register Now! There is no cost to participate in this campaign and the degree of involvement is up to the registrant. Brought to you by NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries! 

Learn more information about Zero Waste Week and how to involve your school, by viewing the Zero Waste Week informational video.

noaa education

FOUR: NOAA Education

Each year, the NOAA education community connects and inspires millions of people through NOAA's science and activities. Read about NOAA Education's reach and impacts "by the numbers" in 2019", and in the annual accomplishments report. 

THREE: "Uh, Excuse me. What are you doing down there?"

What do you think this bird fishing in Papahānaumo- kuākea Marine National Monument is thinking?
Photo: Stephen Matadobra/NOAA

NOAA National Ocean Service and its National Marine Sanctuaries publishes the “Earth is blue” newsletter update weekly, which includes their Video of the Week and amazing photos! Feast your eyes and subscribe to this one-of-kind publication.


TWO: Celebrate our Estuaries!


Throughout the month of February, join NOAA as we celebrate estuaries and their 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves with special posts from NOAA's Office for Coastal Management. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and the new Digital Coast Instagram account to celebrate all things estuaries. Look for #EstuaryLove and learn important facts about Estuaries value. For example, did you know:

  • 75% of all fish and shellfish harvested in the U.S. began their lives in an estuary.
  • The total fish catch in estuaries contributes $4.3 billion to the U.S. economy every year.

ONE: 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. In this ocean episode, NOAA Ocean Service talks with 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.  Access the podcast here.


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


College Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science

Letter of Intent Due: Feb. 21   Proposal Deadline: March 27

To celebrate 20 years of continuous human presence on the International Space Station, NASA STEM on Station will fund five payloads to and from the space station, through the Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science. This opportunity is co-designed and executed through NanoRacks, who will provide payload integration support and training. Don’t delay!

2019-20 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching, Deadline: March 1


The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the highest recognition that a teacher of K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science may receive for outstanding teaching in the U.S. Anyone may nominate exceptional teachers, or teachers may apply directly. The nomination deadline for primary school teachers (grades K-6) is March 1, 2020. Applications are due May 1, 2020.

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!  

Climate Change Solutions Summer Institute for Teachers in NY

Scholarship Application Deadline: April 1, 2020

ny teachers

Registration is now open for The Wild Center's Summer Institute for Teachers: Climate Change Solutions, a residential teacher professional development experience. This year's Institute will take place from July 13-16, 2020 outside of Lake Placid, NY. 

Travel to Nepal – Help schools and students devastated by earthquakes


Join other science educators traveling to small villages throughout 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

The National Air and Space Museum's Free Teacher Innovator Institute

air and space

Learn how to bring the National Air and Space Museum into your classroom through informal STEM education at their free, two-week summer teacher institute. Middle School (grades 5-8) STEAM teachers with an interest in expanding their practice to include informal education techniques.  Learn more and apply here.

Summer Institute for Climate Change Education


Registration is open for Climate Generation’s 15th annual Summer Institute! It will be held at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN on July 22-24, 2020. Educators from all backgrounds and subjects are invited to attend this professional development training on climate change education. Registration is $200. Scholarships available. 20 hours of continuing education and optional graduate credit. 


Class opportunities

Engage with the MOSAIC Expedition


The MOSAiC expedition's education & outreach team has partnered with Reach The World (RTW) to connect students and classrooms to a year-long multinational Arctic research expedition. For the next several months, MOSAiC scientists and team members will be featured on a MOSAiC expedition explorer page. MOSAiC scientists and team members will also participate in calls with classrooms - connecting directly with students. Teachers can connect their classrooms to the MOSAiC expedition at RTW's explorer program, or access short classroom activities, videos, photos, and weekly data by following MOSAiC Monday each week.

Which is Which? Weather or Climate?

Weather and climate are inextricably linked – but they are also two different phenomena with important distinctions to know for effectively communicating climate change and fighting climate change denial. Put your knowledge to the test with the Climate Reality Project’s latest quiz.


Student opportunities

Alliance for Climate Education’s (ACE) 2020 Action Fellowship Programs

Build skills. Take action. Advocate for change.


ACE is recruiting high school students for its 2020 ACE Action Fellowships in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Florida. Interested students can apply to join one of these programs by February 16th, 2020 so HURRY! Throughout the program, Fellows work with ACE and partners to increase public support for climate action and hold elected officials accountable on climate science and the need for solutions. Learn more about the Fellowship program here and apply here for North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Florida Fellowships by Sunday, February 16.

Biodiversity Challenge for Middle Schoolers

Echo Challenge is a STEM innovation competition that empowers U.S. middle school students to take a closer look at biodiversity in their communities. 10 finalist teams will join EarthEcho International in Washington, DC, to present their ideas. The top three teams will be awarded grants to turn their projects into reality. Registration deadline: March 22.


bow seat

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.

green schools

Green Schools Conference & 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.


National Assoc. Of Interpretation Workshop


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.

Charting a Course for STEM Education Success


This year's North American Assoc. for Environmental Educators (NAAEE) conference will be held in Tucson, AZ. The Research Symposium will be October 13-14 and the conference will be October 14-17. The Call for Presentations is now open until March 23rd. If not you, who? For more information, please go to:

The National Science Teaching Association's (NSTA) National Conference is coming up!


The NSTA National Conference will be held in Boston, MA from April 2-5. It 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 and even your Planet Steward peers. NOAA’s Planet Steward Program (PSEP) will have strong presence at the event. More details will follow. Register today!

Changing the Game in STEM with Family Engagement

family engagement

STEM Next Opportunity Fund is committed to ensuring that every child – especially girls, youth of color, kids in low-income communities, and youth with disabilities – has access to STEM experiences and the social capital that lead to greater opportunities in academics and careers. They offer a white paper to raise awareness of its importance and amplify promising practices as well as the Essential Guide for Funders.

Ed Resources

Our Data Resource Pick: NOAA Map Viewer of Snow and Ice

How much of the Northern Hemisphere is covered with snow and ice today? How has that changed over the satellite record? Available via's Dataset Gallery, daily image maps show the extent of snow and ice over the contiguous United States, Alaska, or the whole Northern Hemisphere. Access the map viewer here.


Resisting Scientific Misinformation


Science educator and researcher Andy Zucker created the website, Resisting Scientific Misinformation, so students can learn how to assess an author’s credibility, analyze an article’s purpose, and evaluate its claims. Students are introduced to well-established institutions such as the Center for Disease Control & Prevention and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (link both institutions!!!). These reliable sources can help everyone, student or not, cut through the fog more easily.

Lizards and Hurricanes, From Howard Hughes Medical Institute BioInteractive...

Extreme climate events, such as hurricanes and winter storms, can select for traits within a population. In this new Phenomenal Image activity, see how scientists investigated how hurricane-force winds affected lizards. And in this new Data Point activity, see data from anole populations before and after winter storms that show how the populations’ critical thermal minimum — the temperature at which anoles lose coordination — changed. Students learn about natural selection and the impacts of extreme climate events.


Educational Resources from Climate Generation, A Will Steger Legacy

Climate Generation

Educators have a large impact on the youth of today. They can highlight the multitude of ways climate change affects humanity and tap into stories from around the world with interactive ArcGIS StoryMaps. Here are a few recommendations of Climate Generation’s from the UN Environmental Program’s GRID-Arendal publications to get you started: Climate Migrant StoryMap, Isle de Jean Charles, Endangered Reefs, Threatened People. Check out other recommended resources from Climate Generation here.


This curriculum integrates concepts from the earth, life, and physical sciences as well as the most current data on climate systems to help students understand the phenomena of climate change, the justification for these phenomena, and why these phenomena are both scientifically and socially important. The learning goals for the unit are woven throughout the lesson plans. Check it out!

el nino


Timely Videos from Climate Alive!

climate alive

2019 was the second-warmest year on record, contributing to devastating coral bleaching, ocean heat waves and deadly, ferocious hurricanes. Learn about the ocean and atmospheric science driving headlines featuring climate extremes and weird weather.

Climate Alive! - LINK (2:54)

Also available: What can we do? Corals under Threat - LINK (5:45)

News to Use

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