The Watch. News You Can Use From NOAA Planet Stewards - 23 November, 2021

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News you can use from NOAA Planet Stewards 


We should certainly count our blessings,

but we should also make our blessings count. 

–Neal A. Maxwell

Keep Up with NOAA Planet Stewards:

Access our archive collections: past webinars, book club selections, and newsletter!

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Join the Planet Stewards December Book Club Meeting

ominore dilemna

Get started reading the Planet Stewards selection for our December Book ClubWith the holidays approaching and many people focused on gatherings with loved ones and celebratory meals, we thought it would be a good time to revisit:

The Omnivore's Dilemma

by Michael Pollan

Monday, December 13 at 8:00 pm ET

Dial 866-662-7513 (toll free) then use the pass code 1170791#.
The discussion is open to all, please share with interested colleagues and networks. Learn more here.


With the academic year in full swing, lines of cars are ever present idling in front of school buildings picking up and dropping off students. Read how one Planet Stewards teacher did something about it, combining inquiry-based learning and stewardship in:

Student Anti-Idling Campaign: Service Learning in Deed


Adding a science service learning project to a standard inquiry-based environmental science curriculum helped fifth grade students learn climate science as they made connections between a real-world problem and their classroom learning. Students brainstormed, researched, and developed a project to address idling in the school carpool lane. They collected and analyzed data, and used it to build a compelling anti-idling campaign for the school community. Find it here.

Past Planet Steward Webinar Highlights:
Traditional Knowledge and Climate Change: Impacts on Indigenous People

indigenous knowledge

November is Native American Heritage month. The peoples, lands, and resources of indigenous communities in the United States, including Alaska and the Pacific Rim, are one of the most marginalized demographics. The impacts of climate change are having dramatic consequences and eroding indigenous ways of life that have persisted for thousands of years. NOAA Planet Stewards urges you to watch this archived presentation to learn more about how access to traditional food, decreases in water quality, quantity and sea ice, and relocation of Native communities are being brought on by changing climate conditions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges that the greatest opportunities for adapting to, and mitigating for, climate impacts must include indigenous knowledge and perspectives.

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The Watch

If you're looking for terrific educational resources or ideas to plug into your academic planning this year, check out archived issues of The Watch! Our team has reviewed all content for use by formal and informal educators working to increase their own ocean, climate, and environmental awareness and that of their students and audiences.

If you have an item you'd like to share with our education community, email us at: and be sure to include:

  • Event/Item announcement title
  • Date and time if applicable
  • One paragraph description
  • Clear thumbnail image
  • Link for more information
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noaa earth


From NOAA for Curious People Like You!

  • Check out NOAA's updated agency overview video: Meeting the Moment.

See  it here on YouTube!

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  • Connect with ocean experts and explore topics from corals to coastal science with our audio podcast.
    Listen to episodes of the new NOAA Ocean podcast here—and subscribe to us in your favorite podcatcher or delivery platform so you never miss an episode. Just search for "NOAA Ocean."

  • Celebrating Oysters!: To highlight the many benefits oysters bring to our ecosystem, economy, and table, NOAA celebrated oyster week in early November. We teamed up with partners inside and outside NOAA to celebrate these dynamic shellfish for an entire week! Learn more through our social media posts, videos, and photo essays highlighting NOAA’s work in oyster reef restoration and aquaculture, then check out our NGSS aligned K-12 oyster learning sequence Oysters in the Chesapeake

  • Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest: Every year NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries holds a photo contest and winning photos are featured in the Earth Is Blue Magazine. Check out this year's winners and think about submitting pictures for next year's contest.
  • Variable Walks In Our Climate Forest: When the climate doesn’t behave like we expect, whether it’s for an individual season or for several decades, we hear scientists blaming internal variability. Internal variability, external variability, huh? What is this all about, and why should you care? We'll explain it all. Read all about it here.


Sign Up for Live Ship-to-Shore Broadcasts!

ship to shore broadcasts

Live ship to shore interactions are free 20 or 30-minute Q&A connections with professional ocean explorers onboard the Ocean Exploration Trust's Exploration Vessel Nautilus. Students can learn about ongoing expeditions and ask scientists questions about science and technology in real-time. Interactions are available daily using Google Meet or Zoom, can be scheduled to meet your needs, and customized to your audience. All you need is a computer with an internet connection, speakers, a projector, and a microphone! Share the excitement of ocean exploration through STEM career role models!

The team will be exploring with seafloor mapping and remotely operated vehicle dives throughout Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and around the Hawaiian islands until December 19, 2021.


Explore "The Future of Ocean Farming" Video

ocean farming

This "Harvest Season" explore the five part video collection "The Future of Ocean Farming" with your students. Find out how sustainable aquaculture is helping to grow healthy seafood and support a cleaner ocean. Get started with this regional Emmy award- winning series! 

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NOAA Science Seminar Series: Something for Everyone!


Telling the Story of Springer Webinar

 9 December 2021 | 6:00 pm ET


Almost 20 years ago a young killer whale named Springer brought the Northwest together. The young orca first spotted alongside ferries in Puget Sound turned out to be an orphaned Northern Resident killer whale hundreds of miles from home. The new book "Orca Rescue: the True Story of an Orphaned Orca Named Springer," describes how she was rescued, rehabilitated, and returned to her pod on the north end of Vancouver Island. Today she is thriving, with two calves of her own. Hear the inspiring story from the people who lived it, and its lasting lessons for the recovery of Southern Residents. Register here.

Educator opportunities

In September, more than 1,300 preK–12 educators nationwide attended the first-ever virtual Smithsonian Educator’s Day Conference. Archived presentations and materials from more than 30 sessions are available covering a multitude of subjects led by classroom teachers, museum educators, and content experts. 

Highlights from the conference include Using STEM Education to Develop Sustainability Mindsets to Ensure an Equitable and Just World; and Imagine the FUTURES. One session for middle and high school educators provides resources that help students understand how infectious diseases spill over from wildlife and spread to become pandemics, showing the intimate connection among all living things. Check the conference and its resources out here!

We Are All Whalers Special Event with Author Michael Moore!


30 November 2021 | 07:00 pm ET

Join this virtual conversation and book reading with author and WHOI veterinarian and marine scientist, Michael Moore, to celebrate the publishing of his book, “We Are All Whalers”. Moore shares his experiences caring for endangered whales and how we can all aid in the salvation of these imperiled animals with host Véronique C. LaCapra, PhD.

1-Hour Workshop: Talking Trash and Taking Action! How Kids Can Help Keep Our Waterways Clean 


Thursday,  2 December 2021  | 12:00 - 1:00 pm ET

NOAA Planet Stewards and Black In Marine Science are hosting a 1-hour workshop with Harlem Promise Academy to explore the challenges and successes of keeping our rivers, bays and ocean free of marine debris.

Watch it Live at:

NSTA Science Update Webinar: Protecting the Elusive & Endangered Hawaiian False Killer Whale

Thursday, 2 December 2021 at 7:00 pm ET

noaa Whale

In this Science Update from the National Science Teaching Association and NOAA, you'll learn all about the  Hawaiian Islands false killer whale and why they are endangered. This presentation also introduces activities and resources to support classroom explorations, including how to be a community scientist and identify this species, how to report sightings and upload dorsal fin photos, and what you can do to help protect them. Register today to participate in this web seminar.

Webinar: Marine Mammals: Reflections on  New Research after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Wednesday | 8 December 2021 | 10-11:30 am ET

Speakers Sarah Piwetz, Ryan Takeshita, and Sylvain De Guise will review the Deepwater Horizon impacts on marine mammals, give updates on what scientists now know about vertebrate toxicology, and provide recovery strategies moving forward. Find more and register >

marine animalsOil

Free Virtual Workshops and Cornell Lab of Ornithology Biodiversity Kit; Apply by December 8th!


Get free training on Cornell Lab’s latest educational kit, eBird Explorers: Biodiversity Detectives, which uses birds and citizen science to bring science to life and build connections to your local environment with a global perspective. Available to workshop attendees, this curriculum provides everything needed to teach confidently with eBird while exploring animal evolution and speciation, diversity, and adaptations. Join the webinars to be guided through the curriculum with a strong focus on implementation. This program is open to grades 6–8 teachers in any public or private school within the United States. Learn more and apply by December 8 here.

No Cost Spring 2022 Teacher Professional Development Opportunities from the American Meteorological Society!

Deadline: 6 January 2022


To help teachers seeking Earth science professional development, the American Meteorological Society’s Education Program is waiving all course fees for the first 36 participants that are successfully matched to a mentor team for each of the three online Spring 2021 DataStreme courses in weather, ocean, and climate science! Participants earn three accredited graduate credits per course.

Nearly 23,000 teachers have completed a DataStreme course, helping them leverage real time data in their classrooms, advance their careers, inspire their students, and become science leaders in their schools and communities. Teachers should fill out the DataStreme Interest Form ASAP to get matched with a mentor for the spring semester. Learn more about this exciting microcredential at

(Completion of any two courses offered by AMS Education fulfills the requirements to become a Certified AMS Teacher!)

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching                              


The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) - including computer science, is now accepting nominations! The PAEMST is the highest honor the U.S. government bestows for K–12 mathematics and science teaching, honoring up to 108 teachers each year. Presidential awardees receive a certificate signed by the President; a trip for two to Washington, D.C. to attend recognition events; and $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

Consider nominating a talented teacher or applying for the award yourself here. This year, teachers in grades K–6 are eligible. Nominations close on January 7. Applications will be due by February 6.

Take the NESTA Challenge!


If you were on Jeopardy and the category was Earth science, how well would you do? This month, NESTA (the National Earth Science Educators Association) introduces a "just for fun" monthly activity - The NESTA Challenge. An Earth Science question, with clues, asks about a person, place, or thing to challenge your knowledge of the Earth sciences. The answer appears in next month’s NESTA Challenge. The challenge can be found on bottom left of the the NESTA website home page. So visit each month for a new challenge! Have your students join you!

Student opportunities
DART mission

NASA's DART Mission

Set to launch no earlier than Nov. 24, NASA’s DART mission is the first-ever test to change the motion of an asteroid in space. Researchers are investigating whether we could use this technique if an asteroid were ever discovered to be a threat to Earth. (DART’s asteroid target is not a threat to Earth.)

Register to be NASA’s virtual guest for the launch and receive notifications of interaction opportunities, stay informed with up-to-date resources, and receive a stamp for your virtual guest passport following launch. 

Take a short quiz on asteroids, the DART mission, and planetary defense
to earn a #PlanetaryDefender badge and certificate
you can download, print, and share on social media.


Black In Marine Science - Week 2, Beginning Nov. 28th

Black In Marine Science (BIMS) started BIMS Week in 2020 to highlight and amplify Black voices in the field of Marine Science and encourage younger generations, while also shedding light on the lack of diversity in the science.

Tune in to the virtual BIMS Week 2 to join various read-alongs, panels, keynote addresses, workshops, and self-care sessions! 


Webinar: All About Ice Cores from National Geographic

29 November 2021 | 11:00 am ET and 2 December 2021 | 2:00 pm ET

Learn about glaciers on November 29 by connecting with ice core scientist and high-altitude mountaineer Dr. Alison Criscitiello. Her work involves drilling ice cores in cold places like Antarctica, Greenland, the Canadian high Arctic, and Alaska! Learn how ice cores can tell us about the history of our planet, and hear behind-the-scenes stories about her life as an Explorer! This event is recommended for student groups in grades K-2.


The webinar on December 2 will repeat the subject matterr but at a level best for 3rd-8th grade students who will have THEIR questions answered in real time. 

Please register for the event that works best for your class!

Students Connect w/ Crew: NASA’s “Groundlinks” Program


What’s it like to go on a mission into deep space without leaving Earth? Ask questions to crew who are simulating a journey to Mars! NASA’s new “Groundlinks” program connects students with crew members currently inside NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog, or HERA, a habitat housed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Students can learn more about how NASA prepares humans to live and work in space through connecting with HERA scientists! Find out how here.

Student Contests, Competitions, and Challenges ...

1. Annual NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest & Calendar Deadline: 10 December 2021: Attention students: Get your art supplies ready because this year’s NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest is officially open for students in grades K-8 from the United States and U.S. territories. Deadline is December 10th.  For more contest and submission guidelines, please visit the website and download the entry form

marine debris art

2. Students can win $7,500 in The Climate Initiative’s Water and Soil Hackathon event on January 15. The Climate Initiative is hosting a digital hackathon event wherre teams to bring their solutions water and soil challenges with climate change to life. Student teams can learn more and register to secure a spot; Deadline: December 17. 

Film contest

3. Inspired by NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary system, this competition gives high school students an opportunity to tell their Great Lakes and ocean stories. Top entries will be selected to have their films screened at the virtual Thunder Bay International Film Festival in January 2022 with prizes awarded to the top three entries. All 3-minute films must relate to the theme: #ScienceInThe-Sanctuary.  Deadline: 4 January 2021.


4. Chipotle Sustainability Challenge, Here's How It Works, Apply by 31 January 2022: Young people research their community and report on how they're going to make their food system more sustainable. Download a Student Workbook, Adult Partner Guide, and more details at

Ed Resources


Native American Heritage Month, Thanksgiving, and Year-Round Resources for Educators 

native americian month

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Project Learning Tree (PLT) are passionate about providing resources to create a better understanding of the importance of forests and the many communities that rely on forests for the spiritual, cultural, environmental, and economic benefits they bring. Together they've compiled a non-exhaustive list of resources for educators' and students’ "learning journeys." Browse the resource page here.

Science in Action: Tending Nature for Middle-School Students


Tending Nature explores how, for a thousand years, land has provided for Native peoples and how tribal groups have actively cared for the land. This science curriculum explores the eco-systems of the Klamath River Basin, the problems caused by its unhealthiness, and the collaborative efforts by tribes, government and others to solve the problem by restoring the river. Find it here.

Changing Seasons for Elementary Students


Join PBS KIDS and explore the seasons! The lessons have been co-designed by museum and educational partners and introduce media clips, extension activities, articles, and crafts into learning. Share the resource with families to strengthen a school-to-home connection. Children will learn about the world around them through science, math, and art activities on the site here.

Video Lesson: Comida Pa' Los Pobres (Food for the Poor), for High Level Students


Comida pa' los Pobres follows Giovanni, a young Puerto Rican activist, as he confronts the island’s persistent crisis of food insecurity. Motivated by his childhood struggle with hunger, he seeks to inspire his fellow citizens to join a movement of solidarity-oriented work by feeding families and college students through mutual aid efforts—all while facing challenges from local authorities. This video is in Spanish and is accompanied with a variety of classroom curricula extensions!

Subject to Climate K-12 Lesson Plans


SubjectToClimate (StC) has lesson plans to help K–12 teachers integrate climate change studies into subjects from civics to science. The lesson plans are presented in an easy-to-follow three-step format (e.g. Step 1: Inquire; Step 2: Investigate; and Step 3: Inspire) and include teaching tips, standards information, and links to accompanying teacher materials. Resources are available for grades K - 12. Check them out here.

Utilize the Climate Visuals Website

climate visuals

Climate Visuals is a website and image library that draws evidence from "over 350 climate change and environmental groups, journalists, educators, and businesses," to illustrate how climate change is physically affecting the planet, its people, and their lives. Use the resource in a variety of ways, especially in education! Readers can contribute their own photographs and participate in documenting climate change in their communities also. Climate Visuals is a project of Climate Outreach, an organization dedicated to centering people in discussions about climate change.

Schoolyard Habitats Planning Guide, Elem. & Middle Level


The National Wildlife Federation’s 96-page guide presents the information needed to plan, build, and maintain a successful garden program. The guide walks readers through each step of the process from engaging the community, creating a Habitat team, and assessing the garden site to designing, building, maintaining, and celebrating the completed garden site. Check out the learning activities to support educators in making the most of their garden.

How Innovation in Renewable Energy Protects the environ-ment: Middle and High Level Lesson Plan from PBS


Picture your nearest river or lake. How do people use it? Are you happy with the way it is treated and its relationship to your community? In this PBS NewsHour lesson, students will explore inventions that harness the power of water to make electricity. Students will then sketch, model or build an invention that uses renewable energy and helps protect the environment.

Let's Count Humpback Whales!

for Secondary and Post-Secondary Levels


Using whale-count data from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, compare whale counts in relation to environmental factors. This activity allows students to manipulate real-world data to calculate the average number of whales counted while interpreting environmental factors such as waves and bathymetry. Find the activity here.

Oil Spill Science Opportunity from Texas Sea Grant


If you are interested in oil spill science, Texas Sea Grant will mail any publications in stock free of charge.

Request the publications that you want here.

Conference Reports

Join this year’s Annual STEMconnector Summit on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 from 11 am - 2 pm ET. Expect: 

  • Keynote presentations from leading practitioners in the STEM ecosystem 
  • Panel discussions focused on K-12 and Higher Education
  • Details about the new member only platform: AtlasConnector 
  • Ways to amplify your impact in the STEM community with STEMconnector. 

Register here!

NOAA Reports and Others Notable: 

sea level


Grants, Scholarships, Fellowships

Job Postings in Environmental and/or Ocean Jobs: 

Job Post Lists


Education Bytes

Science & Stewardship Bytes

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Have questions, comments, or suggestions? We love to hear from you! Email us at: and be sure to include:

  • Event/announcement title
  • Date and time if applicable
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  • Link or email address for more information
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