The Watch. News You Can Use From NOAA Planet Stewards - 7 December 2021

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News you can use from NOAA Planet Stewards 


"Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart."

- Victor Hugo

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Join the Planet Stewards December Book Club Meeting

ominore dilemna

Join our December Book Club meeting next week! With the holidays season upon us 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.


The Biggest Reducer: A Lesson in Waste Reduction

The Biggest Reducer was a program developed to educate students about the growing problem of food-related waste and incite them to take action to reduce waste production during their daily lunches. Through recording of weekly waste production and an in-school assembly a 50% waste reduction was seen.


Past Planet Steward Webinar Highlights:

SPICE Core: Adding Ingredients to the Climate Recipe


What is Antarctic paleo-climate research? In this Planet Stewards webinar archive, Dr. T.J. Fudge and Louis Huffman will discuss SPICE Core (South Pole Ice Core) where scientists seeking data from the past 40,000 years have drilled a 1500 meter ice core to study chemical isotopes, tiny particles called aerosols, and atmospheric gases trapped in the earth's great southern ice sheet. The goal is to investigate environmental change since the last glacial/interglacial transition. Dr. Fudge  shares his work in the Pole's extreme environment, and Louise Huffman - the US Ice Drilling Program’s Education Program Manager, shares related educational resources. Find the webinar archive here.

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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
noaa in focus


Whale Resources Galore! 

Whales are one of the oldest and largest animals on the planet. Whale species can be found around the world from Alaska to Hawai`i to the Gulf of California. Explore a collection of NOAA videos, lesson plans, posters, webinars, web stories, virtual reality, and more to gain a deeper understanding of whale species and NOAA's efforts to protect them and limit the threats they face.

noaa Whale


Windows to the Deep 2021: Southeast U.S. ROV and Mapping


The NOAA Ocean Exploration Windows to the Deep 2021 expedition offers a unique opportunity for explorers of all ages to investigate the deepwater areas off Florida, Georgia and South Carolina along the U.S. East Coast, particularly the Blake Plateau. Here you can learn more about benthic fish habitats, deep-sea coral and sponge communities, and U.S. maritime heritage. Bring this science expedition alive for your students using the resources provided here!


The Eel Ordeal Podcast

A new episode of the NOAA and the Octonauts podcast was just released! Explore the ecology of eels and learn about their harrowing migration from an eel expert at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island! 



eel ordeal

Zero Waste Inspiration for the Holidays!


Get started early on your New Year's waste reduction resolutions! The NOAA Marine Debris Program is excited to celebrate a greener holiday season with some creative decoration and gift wrapping ideas that will help you reduce waste and bring holiday cheer into your home. In a series of festive blogs, they share their holiday hacks to celebrate the season while also protecting the planet! 

Also, try decorating with natural options, such as the dried fruit and eucalyptus garland pictured above, that can decompose at the end of the holiday season.

Guide to a Greener Holiday - Holiday Travel Plans


A Window on the World


NOAA’s Barrow Atmospheric Baseline Observatory has a new look. Check out NOAA’s new story map, A Window on the World, which provides an excellent picture of how Barrow’s work, 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle, has been on the front lines of understanding our climate for nearly 50 years. At a time of rapid environmental change, Barrow’s work has never been more critical, with implications that have an immense global reach.

A Mapping Milestone!


On Nov. 1, NOAA Ocean Exploration achieved a milestone, mapping 2 million square kilometers of seafloor from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. That's  more than 770, 000 square miles and over 25% of the size of the contiguous U.S. NOAA Ocean Exploration is at the forefront of the deep-sea mapping community, providing insights into geological, biological, climatological, and other processes to better understand, manage, and protect ocean ecosystems and species. NOAA mapping is vital to U.S. ocean strategy, which calls for a complete map of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone by 2040.

Tsunamis: Know the Signs, Hear the Stories, Get Prepared!


Imagine this: you are sitting on a beautiful beach enjoying a lovely day, when out of the blue an alarm blasts from your phone and reads “Tsunami warning.” Do you know where you would go and what to do?

Tsunamis are the stuff of nightmares! While they don’t occur very often, when they do they can be devastating and deadly.  At the NOAA Disaster Preparedness Program, we believe that preparedness begins with knowledge and understanding. Read the full blog here. 

noaa webinars

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 this species. Register here.


Other NOAA Science Seminar Series of Note:


Submerged North Carolina Webinar Series

14 December 2021 | 1:00 pm ET

north carolina series webinars

The North Carolina Office of State Archaeology (OSA) has launched a initiative to inventory, identify, recover, preserve, and exhibit American Indian Log Boats. These important but threatened resources demonstrate North Carolina’s Indian population as being “first on the land.”  More information can be found here.

Register to attend the webinar >

Educator opportunities


Webinar: Using Understanding Global Change to Make Earth System Connections about Local Phenomena: The Return of the River Otters

Wednesday, 8 December 2021 | 6:00 pm ET

The Understanding Global Change Project from the University of California at Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology, has created a suite of online and interactive resources to support teaching and learning about climate change and Earth systems. In this workshop, teachers will learn how to use these resources to make student thinking visible and investigate the return of the North American River Otters to the San Francisco Bay Area. Teachers will also be connected with the new CLEAN Elementary Climate Teaching Portal where they can find more resources for teaching about climate change. Register and find out more details here.

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

marine animalsOil

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

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 >

Webinar: Navigating White Supremacy Culture in Outdoor Spaces and Institutions

8 December 2021 |  7:00 pm ET


This webinar series focuses on access, inclusion, & connection in Nature. Hosted by deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Farrington Nature Linc, The Food Project, Lincoln Land Conservation Trust, Mass Audubon, and The Walden Woods Project. Additional support provided by the Sudbury Foundation. Register here. Register here. 

Webinar: Environmental Literacy - Supporting Students as Both Learners and Stewards

Thursday, 9 December 2021 | 3:30 - 5:00 pm ET

dept of ed

With environmental literacy programming, students and educators work to apply earth system science, civics, and interdisciplinary learning to understand and address complex local and global environmental challenges. Join the U.S. Department of Education and NOAA to explore how Federal, state, and local partners are engaged in environmental literacy programming and to learn about resources that can support environmental literacy programming in your area. Register here. 

Webinar: Deep Dive Series: Animating for the Environment

Thursday, 9 December 2021 | 7:00 pm ET

bow seat

Join Bow Seat for a Deep Dive Series webinar to explore how humorous cartoons can make environmental issues more accessible for all audiences. Hanji Chang and Andy O’Brien, co-founders of Puckerbrush Animation and Film judges for Bow Seat's Ocean Awareness Contest, will be sharing some of their work as visual storytellers, comedians, and animators passionate about protecting our blue planet. Register to attend here.

WebinarNative Climate Justice and Energy-Focused Lunch and Learn

Friday, 10 December 2021 | 3:00 pm ET


Join this lunch and learn where Native experiences and expertise will be centered around climate justice in relation to energy. While Native peoples are the most impacted by climate change, their stories are often not represented, even in spaces meant to center on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Register
here >

Webinar: Increasing Diversity in the Environmental Movement

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 |  3:00 PM–4:00 pm ET

half dome

People of color are the most impacted by environmental issues, but the least represented in decision-making and leadership positions at mainstream environmental NGOs and foundations, which have remained overwhelmingly white. Join Green 2.0, an organization working to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the environmental movement, to learn more about their Foundation Transparency Report Card findings.  Register to attend.

Webinar: How To Better Incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards into Informal Education Settings

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 | 3:30 PM-5:00 pm ET


Whale and Dolphin Conservationists will outline their process of creating formal lesson plans and activities with thoughtful consideration to Next Generation Science Standards. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and highlight their familiarity with the NGSS. There will be adequate time to discuss simple ways that informal education organizations can start using the language of NGSS into their already existing activities.

Register by Friday, December 10, 2021 at 5:00pm.

Webinar: Climate Solutions 101: Curricula That Inform Conversations & Inspire Action on Climate Solutions

12 January 2022 | 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm ET


Project Drawdown and the Solutions Journalism Network are partnering to offer a webinar from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education to shift the conversation about climate change away from gloom and doom to solutions that inspire students to take action. Participants will be introduced to Project Drawdown’s new Climate Solutions 101 video series and Solutions Journalism Network’s Climate Solutions Collections that are poised to become go-to resources for education about climate solutions. Learn more here.

"Talking Tribal" Archived Webinar --

On November 18 U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm hosted a conversation  on climate action and increasing diversity in STEM in honor of Native American Heritage Month. The virtual event, ‘Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Drive Climate Action’ featured a discussion with climate activist Quannah Chasinghorse, soil scientist Dr. Lydia Jennings, and Dr. Tommy Jones,  Deployment Specialist for DOE Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. Catch the event recording here.


Teach Climate Network Workshop: Supporting Youth Leaders

Thursday, 16 December 2021 | 7:00 pm ET

Educators attending this free workshop will talk with youth in the climate justice movement, learn how to support diverse youth leadership, and discover ways to inspire civic engagement in their classroom. They will leave with ideas of how to connect their students to climate change action and tips for supporting their students as leaders in their communities. Register to attend.

climate generation

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. Completion of any two courses offered by AMS. Education fulfills the requirements to become a Certified AMS Teacher! Learn more about this exciting microcredential at


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.

Student opportunities

Black In Marine Science 

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 archive videos to join various read-alongs, panels, keynote addresses, workshops, and self-care sessions!  Catch it all here now! 


Youth Environmental Summit

Do you know of a student who is an environmental game changer? Maybe they took action by themselves or with others? Do you want their story to inspire other students around the world?  If you answered YES to any of these questions then encourage them to apply to be a speaker at the Youth Environmental Summit (YES) happening virtually in approximately late January 2022.  Register by Sunday, December 19, 2021 at 5:00pm.

youth summit's Youth Garden Grants

Deadline: 17 December 2021

kids gardening

Chosen applicants will receive a $250 check and materials to grow their garden program. Forty programs will receive packages worth $1,050; five programs will receive the base package plus a $1,000 tool grant from Corona Tools; and five programs will receive the base package plus two Garden Towers from Garden Tower Project. Any public or private school, nonprofit organization, or youth program in the United States or U.S. Territories planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply.

Katie's Krops Youth Growers Grants

Deadline: 31 December 2021 

Katie's Krops

Youth selected as Katie’s Krops Growers get what they need to grow a garden in their community and enhance the health of their cities and towns. A child, or a group of children, can apply if they are ages 7–16  and live in the United States. Applications for all types of vegetable gardens will be considered. Growers receive an all-inclusive grower kit that includes items necessary to start a garden in their backyard, on their balcony or patio, and so on. Students can apply today!

Undergraduate/Graduate Students, Intern for the Climate!

Want to tackle climate change? The U.S. Department of Energy's Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) Program is a 10-week summer research program for undergraduate and graduate students in STEM majors. Be a part of the solution by contributing to our mission of minimizing the environmental impacts of fossil fuels while working towards net-zero emissions. Travel and housing assistance are provided to eligible participants. Apply by January 10, 2022.


Student Contests, Competitions, and Challenges ...

1. Annual NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest & Calendar Deadline: 10 December 2021. Attention! 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. For more contest and submission guidelines, 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 where teams bring their solutions to address water and soil challenges caused by 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 Sanctuaries, 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. Environmental Justice Video Challenge for Students. The EPA has launched the Environmental Justice Video Challenge for students to enhance communities’ capacity to address environmental inequities. Learn more about the challenge and how to apply.

Ed Resources

USGS: Geological Map of Alaska


Alaska is one of the most geologically diverse states in the country. Professional geologists, instructors, and geology students may find this interactive geologic map, published by the United States Geological Survey, useful for navigating the complex geology of this remote U.S. state. There is a learning curve to using the map, and basic knowledge of geology may be helpful for interpreting results. Find it here >

The EPI Classroom is Here!


The EPI Classroom (Ecology Project International) is free, online, and can be adapted to a variety of teaching and learning formats. The goal is to foster inquiry and inspire students to pursue answers using nature in the classroom and nature as the classroom. EPI Costa Rica: Exploring Human Impact in the Rainforest is the first series of lessons. Students will be introduced to the scientific process through authentic data that has been collected at the EPI Reserve. Throughout the 7 lessons, students will analyze footage of active wildlife cameras, contribute to conservation research, and explore the biodiversity of this spectacular tropical ecosystem. Find the site here.

Virtual Field Trips in Wisconsin


If the learning challenges of the past two years have revealed anything, it's that education must be flexible to meet students where they are. These virtual field trips are a perfect example, offering educators in ecology, biology, life sciences, and other topics the opportunity to "take" their students to see Wisconsin's wildlife. Each of these 15 virtual field trips lasts approximately 5-20 minutes and features stunning visuals and explanations from expert naturalists, conservationists, and tour guides. The Nature Resources Foundation of Wisconsin has created these materials to connect generations to the wonders of Wisconsin's lands, waters, and wildlife.

Access the virtual field trips 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!




A new report from The National Academy of Sciences and funded by the NOAA Marine Debris Program evaluates the contributions of the United States to global ocean plastic waste and recommends potential solutions. Access the report here.



Grants, Scholarships, Fellowship

  • The NOAA FY22 Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) Phase I Notice of Funding Opportunity is now open for research and development of highly innovative technologies that have strong commercial potential and fit within the NOAA mission areas. Topics for this year’s solicitation include 1) Climate Adaptation and Mitigation, 2) Weather-Ready Nation, 3) Healthy Oceans, and 4) Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies. To be eligible to submit a Phase I application, small businesses must submit a required Letter of Intent via this form by December 13, 2021. For more information on this solicitation, visit the NOAA SBIR website or contact the NOAA SBIR Program via email at

  • The NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is seeking applications for the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program from individuals - particularly women and minorities, who due to financial constraints, may not otherwise be able to pursue an advanced degree (Masters or Ph.D.) in oceanography, marine biology, maritime archaeology. The scholarship covers tuition and a living stipend, as well as travel funds. Deadline for applications is December 14, 2021 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.  Learn more and apply >

  • Cornell Lab’s Celebrate Urban Birds Mini-Grants, Deadline: December 15, 2021. Cornell Lab of Ornithology gives organizations mini-grants to help fund events that center Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in birdwatching and ornithology.  Organizations that work with underserved communities are strongly encouraged to apply for the mini-grants, which range from $250 to $2,500. Virtual events, whenever possible, are encouraged due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mini-grants are awarded to organizations from Canada, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Apply here.
  • 2021-2022 NSTA Awards Program; Deadline: December 17, 2021. Know an incredible teacher? Nominate a deserving colleague (or submit your own application) for one of 15 award programs, designed for all grade levels, and accolades that recognize informal educators, researchers, engineering educators, new teachers, and more. Thanks to generous sponsors, more than $60,000 in cash and prizes is available yearly. Applications for the Shell Science Teaching Award and the Shell Urban Science Educators Development Award can be accessed here

  • Walmart Local Community Grants; Deadline: December 31, 2021. These grants provide funding directly from Walmart and Sam’s Club facilities to local nonprofit organizations in the United States. Eligible organizations include K–12 public or nonprofit private schools; charter schools; community/junior colleges; state/private colleges or universities; or church or other faith-based organizations with a proposed project that benefits the community at large. Applicants must operate on the local level (or be an affiliate/chapter of a larger organization that operates locally) and directly benefit the service area of the facility from which they are requesting funding. Grant amounts range from $250 to $5,000. Apply >
  • The 2022 NOAA Pacific Northwest Bay Watershed Education and Training Funding Opportunity is now open. The full FY 2022 funding opportunity can be found at under funding opportunity number NOAA-NOS-ONMS-2022-2007128. Visit the Pacific Northwest B-WET webpage for more information. Areas served: Oregon and Washington. Deadline: February 4, 2022

Job Postings in Environmental and/or Ocean Jobs: 

Job Post Lists


Education Bytes

Planet and Stewardship Bytes


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

Weather Extremes and Other Environmental News of Note

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