The Watch. News You Can Use From NOAA Planet Stewards - 27 April 2021

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News you can use from NOAA Planet Stewards 

“The Earth is what we all have in common.”

 – Wendell Barry, Novelist

NOAA Planet Stewards Program Links:

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noaa in focus

I. EarthDay 2021: Rediscover and connect with nature - 'Think global, act local' and help preserve the natural world in your neighborhood!

This article is packed full of worthwhile suggestions of activities and ways to appreciate the vibrant planet we live on and care for all year long. Resources carry the endorsement of NOAA, from planning  post-quarantine beach or island get-aways to an animated game about estuaries that will show you why they’re more than just a pretty view! Enjoy.

noaa activities

II. NOAA Video: "Protect and Restore: NOAA Stewardship in Action"

Find out how NOAA protects our ocean, coasts, and the communities that rely on them in NOAA's new video, "Protect and Restore: NOAA Stewardship in Action." Watch it here and share it will your colleagues and students.


III. Vote for NOAA's Sanctuaries 360°: Explore the Blue

NOAA's Sanctuaries 360° Explore the Blue virtual reality video series was nominated for a Webby Award! Such nominations help get NOAA and National Marine Sanctuaries messaging out there farther and wider, but it provides a tremendous boost in bringing America’s underwater treasures to the world through an immersive virtual reality experience! So, make sure to VOTE


IV. NOAA's Climate Work in Action

NOAA monitors and predicts the impacts of climate change. Find a list of its many resources listed here Including:

And many more! Find a list of resources here!


V. NOAA short film, Homecoming: Journey to Limuw

The film documents paddlers from the local indigenous Chumash community on a long-distance canoe voyage to the Channel Islands. This annual event began in 2001 and involves journeying 20 miles across the Santa Barbara Channel in a tomol (a traditional Chumash canoe) to the island of Limuw (Santa Cruz Island). Paddlers are greeted at Limuw by hundreds of family and friends that gather and spend time together in their sacred island homeland. Watch it here.

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Interactive Webinars from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and Ocean Exploration and Research  

Channel Islands

April 29, 1:00 - 2:00 pm ET: California Streaming: Exploring Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Assemblages in Sunny Southern California - Interactive Webinar

Learn about the magnificent deep sea coral and sponge communities in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and  the Proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. Also learn about the concept of "thrivability" and what it means for an ocean area to be nominated as a national marine sanctuary. Your whole class can join in! To Register, click here  here and select this event from the drop down menu.


May 5, 2 - 3 pm ET, Take A Deep Dive: Exploring deep-sea corals, octopus garden, and a whale fall in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Travel into the depths of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary  to investigate Pioneer Canyon, which hosts incredible deep-sea corals, sponges, and fish, and to areas near Davidson Seamount, an extinct underwater volcano. Join us as we also revisit the octopus garden and the whale fall discovered in 2019 for the latest discoveries! Interactive webinar! Your whole class can join in! To Register, click here  here and select this event from the drop down menu.

Notable Webinars from NOAA's ONESeminar Series: 


May 3, 1:00 - 2:00 pm ET, One for the record books: The 2020 hurricane season 

Tune in and register to hear about how the 2020 hurricane season broke the records! This webinar will also be recorded and posted on this weblink:


May 4, 9:30 - 10:30 am ET, Hurricane Hazards and Science - The National Hurricane Center

The main impacts of hurricanes on the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic region will be discussed. Learn how these destructive storms form and when to expect the biggest threats to the area. Register here.

Educator opportunities

Webinar: How to Host a Youth Climate Summit

April 27, 4 - 5 pm ET


Have you heard about Youth Climate Summits? These exciting, youth-driven events provide opportunities for students to learn about climate change and design their own climate action plans for their schools and communities. With The Wild Center’s free resources, you have everything you need to plan and host your own Youth Climate Summit, either in-person or virtually. At this event, learn more about these resources, get advice from other summit organizers, hear from youth leaders who are passionate about taking climate action, and ask the questions to jump start your Youth Climate Summit journey!

Click here to register.

Important NAAEE Survey Open through April 30 

and, the 2021 30 Under 30 Nominations are Now Open!

North American Association for Environmental Educators is working  with Virginia Tech to disseminate a survey about the appropriateness and use of different approaches to civic engagement. The results will inform future training focused on these techniques and approaches.If you are an instructor, manager, director, or funder of environmental education, please consider taking 10-15 minutes to complete this survey.  The survey will remain open through April 30, 2021.

Do you know any game-changing environmental education (EE) leaders under 30 years of age who are harnessing the power of EE to build a sustainable and equitable future for all? 

Submit a nomination on their behalf to the North American Association for Environmental Education Association (NAAEE) 

Deadline is May 5!

EE 30 under 30

Science Update, Return of the Cicadas

Friday, May 7, at 4 PM ET 

Join NSTA on Friday, May 7, at 4 PM ET for a free Web Seminar and learn more about when cicadas will appear and how they will impact humans, pets, wildlife, and plants.  Learn more and register.

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Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources

Applications due May 16


The Climate Adaptation Leadership Awards (CALA) recognizes outstanding efforts to increase the resilience of America's valuable living natural resources and the many people, businesses and communities that depend on them. Established in 2016, each year CALA recognizes exemplary leadership by individuals, agencies, businesses, and other organizations to reduce impacts and advance adaptation of the nation's vital natural resources in a changing world. Apply via the Assoc. of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Hope Matters: A Discussion with Author and Environmental Educator Elin Kelsey, PhD

Wednesday May 19th, 7-8:15PM ET

How can we cultivate hope in our students through the sharing of solutions? Join climate and energy educators for a discussion of the book Hope Matters with author Elin Kelsey, PhD, to reflect on how we teach about energy, climate change and other pressing environmental issues and consider how the book inspires us to transform our approach to teaching these topics.   To learn more visit   To register click here.


NOAA Teachers on the Estuary Workshops 

teachers on estuary

NOAA is offering educator professional development workshops at National Estuarine Research Reserve System locations all across the country - or virtually - from May 5 to July 30. These FREE hands-on workshops offer research and field-based training. By participating, you will :

  • Explore coastal habitats and conduct field studies;
  • Interact with local scientists and experienced coastal
  • Integrate local and national monitoring data into the classroom; and
  • Learn hands-on field activities highlighting Estuary Education Resources.

Check the website for more information and registration deadlines. 

The Ocean Decade: Creating the Ocean We Want

June 1, 5 - 9 am ET

ocean decade

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in partnership with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), will celebrate the High-Level Launch of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development on 1 June 2021 from 5 am to 9 am (ET) in Berlin.

Join us for the virtual launch of the Ocean Decade and to contribute to “Creating the Ocean we want”. For more information go to ocean decade-conference.

CU Boulder Data Puzzles: Analyze Authentic Data With Inquiry-Based Practices Teacher Workshop  

June 3 & 4, 11 - 2 pm ET


Data Puzzles are a free resource that combine classroom-friendly data sets with the research-backed pedagogical practices of Ambitious Science Teaching (AST) to give students the ultimate inquiry-based learning experience. Developers will lead participants through the Data Puzzle instructional framework in the context of these free resources. Participants will leave with the skills/tools to implement Data Puzzle engagements in their own classrooms. Register for this virtual workshop. Participants will receive a certificate for PD hours.

MOSAiC Arctic Research Expedition Teacher Workshop

June 29th and 30th


In this free workshop, middle level and high school teachers will engage with curriculum developers from the University of Colorado Boulder and Arctic scientists, who will present Arctic Feedbacks: Not All Warming Is Equal. This storyline curriculum is tied to the Next Generation Science Standards’ Earth’s Systems standards, in which students explore important science concepts (e.g., Earth’s energy budget, greenhouse effect, feedback loops) to model and explain the Arctic amplification phenomenon. Teachers will engage with immersive 360° virtual tours, authentic Arctic data sets, and app-based labs in this interactive online workshop. Participants will receive a certificate for 10 PD hours and 1 credit from the University of Colorado Boulder. Register.


CLEAN is leading a cohort of educators to the Summer Institute for Climate Change Education, hosted by Climate Generation in partnership with NOAA’s Climate Program, and The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Program. This July 28–30, you will gain the skills, tools, and resources to teach climate change concepts and empower students in all subject areas, and receive on-going support throughout the year. Where: Online! Register here: Scholarships Available - apply here. Graduate Credits Available - course description

Our Changing Menu Book & Website Seeks Your Feedback

 Our Changing Menu: Climate change and the foods we love and need has just been published along with the creation of its companion website. Its audience is the general public, but it would be good to get feedback from educators and others who work in related fields about their potential use in the classroom and with students. Any feedback on using food to raise awareness about climate change would also be appreciated. Send comments to Mike Hoffmann, Associate Dean, at Cornell University.

This book will also be discussed in the 2021/2022 Planet Stewards Book Club!


Wildfire, Drought, and The Future of Forests (Virtual teacher workshops this June)


As wildfires continue to ravage the west, burning more and more of the landscape, many are left wondering, what happens next?  New research shows that patterns of ecological succession are changing due to increasing drought. Developed by scientists and curriculum developers at the University of Colorado Boulder, The Future of Forests is a MS/HS storyline curriculum centered around the driving question, How do landscapes recover after a wildfire? with each  lesson tied to NGSS Life Science standards. Through NASA and US Forest Service online interactive, authentic datasets and citizen science protocols, learn how to have students gather evidence they'll use to model and explain changing patterns of ecological succession.

Free Course: Care, Justice, and Climate Change

How can we learn to create a more just world where all humans and other creatures can thrive?

Explore how themes of ecological care, multispecies wellbeing, and equity relate to climate and environmental education. Check out the graduate seminar online here, and join the inquiry on Twitter at #UWClimateEd.

Student opportunities

noaa live

During the 2020-2021 school year, NOAA Live! will be on Wednesdays at 4 pm ET (with live American Sign Language interpretation) and NOAA Live! Alaska will be on Tuesdays at 11 am AKT/3 pm ET.

Webinars coming up the week of April 26

 Ask a Polar Scientist! Research on the Ice

Thursday May 6th 7-8pm ET


Middle and high school youth, and families are invited to Register TODAY! to join a Panel of research scientists to discuss polar science and careers in marine and environmental science.  A large number of attendees for this online program are anticipate, so in order to maximize time with the scientists, we are soliciting questions in advance. Because of limited time, we encourage you to submit your questions here!

White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities — HBCU Scholar Recognition Program

Application Deadline: May 7

hbcu students

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) works to promote HBCU excellence, innovation and sustainability. The initiative is accepting graduate and undergraduate applications for the 2021 HBCU Scholar Recognition Program. HBCU scholars will help form the next generation of leaders who exhibit and champion HBCU excellence. Scholars will serve as representatives of their respective institutions and take part in outreach and engagement opportunities. Find more information here.

ClimateScience Olympiad! Register to Participate

Registration ends on 1 August, 2021


Students ages 14-25 and passionate about finding solutions to climate change have an opportunity to attend the 2021 United Nations Climate Summit (COP-26) in Glasgow, and even win up to $2,000 in cash!

The ClimateScience Olympiad is a global climate competition engaging 10,000 youth (ages 14-25) in an effort to find solutions to some of the most challenging climate problems. REGISTER. 

Earth Science Week Contests

Deadline: October 15

  • Water as a Resource in My Community (any age) - We can see water everywhere — in our food and drink, our cleaning practices, our playtime, our travel and business, our energy, our environment, and more. Consider the Earth systems; that is, the geosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (living things). What are some of the special ways that people use, or are impacted by, water? With your camera, capture an image of the ways water is an important part of life in your community. More info.

  • Water and Me (K-5 contest) - Earth science is the study of Earth systems — our planet’s land, water, air, and living things — and how they affect each other. Consider your daily life. What are the ways you use water? How does water shape your life? What impact do you have on water? Use your creative ability to produce an original work of art that shows he roles that water plays in your life. Click here for more info.

  • How We Understand, Use, and Protect Water (Grades 6-9) - Think of the many ways people find, study, manage, process, distribute, use, and protect water resources. As individuals and as a society, we make important decisions about water that touch on issues such as energy, climate change, the environment, natural hazards, technology, industry, agriculture, recreation, conservation, and the economy. How can we use water as a natural resource in ways that support sustainable practices? More info.

EarthEcho International Accepting Applications for Youth Leadership Programs and Water Challenge Ambassador

Applications open through May 3, 2021

earth echo

EarthEcho International is now accepting applications for their 2021 youth leadership programs!  Young environmental leaders ages 15-22 from the United States are invited to apply for a position on the EarthEcho Youth Leadership Council (YLC)!  To learn more visit:  

Youth ages 14-22 from the United States are invited to protect our water planet as an EarthEcho Water Challenge Ambassador! Through this unique experience, Ambassadors become community scientists and lead ongoing water quality monitoring efforts through the EarthEcho Water Challenge, To learn more visit:

Applications are open through May 3, 2021.

#BackyardBio Campaign May 2021  


BackyardBio is an experience you can do anywhere alone or with friends, family, or students that will inspire you to learn more, get excited about the natural world, and want to take action to make a positive difference! Go explore, take a photo, then share it. Find out how to get included in BackyardBio here.

Ed Resources

Phytoplankton Monitoring Network: 20 Years of Citizen Science and Still Growing

The National Phytoplankton Monitoring Network is celebrating 20 years of improving harmful algal bloom (HAB) research through its citizen science monitoring efforts. The program has supported a national community-based network of volunteers monitoring marine and freshwater phytoplankton and HABs since 2001. Read about it here and get your students involved. 


Seasons Curriculum from Harvard

Understanding the reasons for the seasons is challenging to teach in any educational setting, but especially so in remote learning environments. Seasons, a curriculum for grades 6–8 produced through Harvard University’s WorldWide Telescope Ambassador Program, contains digital resources to make the task easier.  Learn more and find the curriculum here.

seasons curriculum

Hurricane Preparedness Week Materials ...or Anytime!

NOAA 2021 Hurricane Preparedness Week materials are now available for use.  Hurricane Prep Week takes place May 9-15, but feel free to use the content before then and throughout the year! The materials are available at The Spanish versions of the graphics & social media plan are also available.

Also check out a terrific hurricane activity to complement the above materials. Students research and report on Hurricane Katrina, using an earth systems science analysis approach in this problem-based learning module. Find the PDF here.


National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Resources

The National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) operates an Education Resources page featuring a treasure trove of teaching materials dealing with natural resources — including backyard conservation lesson plans, a database of standardized information about plants, and links to agricultural education sites. Check it out!


Partners in Resource Education (PRE)

hands on lands

Partners in Resource Education (PRE), provides programs and activities to get young people excited about the science of conservation. Focusing on national resource priorities such as pollinators, wetlands, oceans, invasive species, endangered species, fire, and climate change, PRE teaches people about sustaining and safeguarding living resources in their own backyards. Access the project website.

Guide to Earth Day Every Day

Isn't every day Earth Day? To learn more about the planet's blue heart, National Geographic has designed an Educator and Family Guide to Earth Day to take preK-12 learners on a virtual ocean exploration—whether they are learning online, in-person, or in blended settings.  Read More >

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Elementary GLOBE: All About Earth

Elementary GLOBE's modules introduce students in grades K-4 to the various aspects of Earth system science. Using a storybook approach, the modules utilize a science-based, fictional narrative to engage students in the scientific method. The modules also challenge them to extend their lessons into the natural world through observation and measurement of their surrounding environment.


Classroom Activities from UCAR 

Check out these engaging activities from UCAR:


The Story of Plastic Animated Short Video

The Folks who brought you The Story of Stuff have just come out with The Story of Plastic. Give it a watch, and consider sharing it. Subtitles are available in Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish, and Swahili. View more Story of Stuff movies here.


Teaching Climate: Why is carbon an important element?

Students explore the carbon cycle and the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature in this excellent climate change lesson created from a NASA developed climate series.

carbon cycle

Summer Printable Packets


Keep students actively learning when school’s not in session with Summer Motivational Packets from Available for elementary, middle, and high school levels, the packets feature simple, age-appropriate educational prompts and activities to jump start learning in science, math, reading, and writing alongside science experiments, brain teasers, thought-provoking projects, and more. Access the packets here.

A Guide to Climate Change for Kids


Calling all educators, parents and caregivers. Are you looking for a way to explain climate change to young learners (Students in Grades 3-6)? NASA Climate Kids’ latest resource answers some of students’ biggest questions in the new student-friendly guide. Access it here.

Conference Reports

2021 NMEA Virtual Student Conference

Youth - July 15th from 2:00-5:00pm EDT; To Present: May 7 application deadline; All - July 14-17th


Do you know a student who has a project related to the ocean and care for the environment?  Would they like to share their project with other students at the NMEA Virtual Student Conference this summer?  If so, please fill out this form by May 7th

Learn more about the NMEA 2021 Virtual Conference here for teachers and youth alike.

NOAA Education Accomplishments Report


In a special 50th anniversary edition, the 2020 NOAA Education Accomplishments Report highlights the important role that education has played in meeting NOAA’s mission throughout the decades. In addition to celebrating long-term accomplishments, the report explores the many ways in which NOAA Education adapted to the important challenges presented throughout 2020.



  • Dreyfus Foundation Educational Grants: funds schools; educational and skills training projects; environmental and wildlife protection activities; community-based nonprofit organizations; museums; cultural, performing, and visual arts programs; hospitals; and programs for youth, seniors, and persons with disabilities. Applications are accepted from across the United States. Average award amounts are $1,000–$20,000. Requests received by May 10th (11:59pm EST) are considered for funding during the Fall Award Round. Requests received by November 10th (11:59pm EST) are considered for funding during the Spring Award Round.

  • Safer Brand School Garden Grant: a $500 grant to help a school develop and/or maintain an on-site garden. The grant is available to any school serving grades K–12  

  • Siemens and Discovery Possibility Grant Sweepstakes: awards five $5,000 grant prizes that provide Title I schools the opportunity to enhance science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education experiences and access to immersive learning for K–12 youth

ocean instttute

Career News

The Ocean Institute is hiring and growing its team! Check out the career link here for opportunities to learn more and apply for the following positions:

  • Public Programs Weekend Manager
  • Seasonal Deck Hand (R/V Sea Explorer)
  • Summer Camp Counselor (Seasonal)


Education and Ocean News You Can Use

  • A Case for Creative Coding

  • Coastwatch magazine has released the Spring 2021 issue. The latest edition of North Carolina Sea Grant’s award-winning publication takes a behind-the-scenes look at the seafood processing industry, explores the experiences of Black marine scientists, reveals the role that luck played in the latest breakthrough on farmed striped bass — and more. As always, Coastwatch is available in print and online. Visit


NOAA News You Can Use


Ocean, Coastal Weather, Sea Ice, Hurricanes, Ocean Life, Water

Wildfires, Floods, and Other Weather-related Natural Disasters

Other Environmental Concerns

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