The Watch. News You Can Use From NOAA Planet Stewards - 8 August 2023

NOAA Planet Stewards The Watch Newsletter


News you can use from NOAA Planet Stewards 

August 8, 2023

Keep Up with NOAA Planet Stewards:

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

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The Planet Stewards Book Club -- We're Back!


Join the NOAA Planet Stewards Book Club for the 2023-2024 academic year. We’ve got a great line up for you and your students including:

For details on our new meeting times and how to log in, go to our Upcoming Events Page. Make sure you receive reminder announcements! Sign up to our mailing list. See previously selected books and discussion questions in our Book Club Archive.

Get Inspired for Stewardship!


Hot off the press! In the latest issue of The Earth Scientist read new stories of how NOAA Planet Stewards educators engaged their students, schools, and communities to affect real and lasting changes.

Congratulations to all our Planet Stewards authors! Read all their articles here:

Advocates for Change by Amy Durham Shea

Floating Wetlands for the Future by Deanna Orr

Clean Up Crew: Empowering Future Changemakers by Kelley Hodges

Beaumont Rain and Butterfly Garden by Patrick Goff and Kyla Trahan

Keepers of Turtle Islands by Amelia Cook

Seminole High School Landscape Architectural Project by Jerry Cantrell

noaa in focus

 Digging Into the Science of Sand

Listen to the latest episode of the NOAA Ocean Podcast to learn about the science behind sand: how it’s formed, the benefits it provides ecosystems, and the protection it offers coastal communities. Dr. Matt Kendall, a marine biologist with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, will host. Joins us!

Postcard From the Field: Honu Count 2023

Green Sea Turtle

This is a temporarily numbered Hawaiian green sea turtle (honu), a strategy for tracking sea turtles as they perform an amazing feat — swimming 1,200 miles round-trip to reproduce using an internal compass to travel from the main Hawaiian Islands to remote areas. While researchers track their journey, much is still unknown about abundance, habitat use, and survival rates. NOAA scientists created the “Honu Count,” requesting the public’s help in logging sightings to learn how to better manage and conserve the turtles. Since 2017, more than 1,000 citizen scientists have reported over 1,000 sightings of 472 turtles, with 675 reported since February.

NOAA Ocean Today Video: How Can We Help Save Sharks


We love sharks and with so many people thinking about sharks over the summer  we wanted to make sure you have all the resources needed to learn more about how dangerous they might be to humans and what help they need to maintain healthy populations.

Cause a Sea Change: Save Sharks - (Total Running Time 4:08)

noaa webinars
noaa webinars

NOAA Science Seminar Series

Something for Everyone!

August 9, 2023 | 1:00 pm ET - 2:00 pm ET

 Webinar Series: Discover the Climate Change and Ocean Acidification Resource Collections

The NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has created topical resource collections that include NOAA videos, lesson plans, webinars, web stories, virtual reality, and much more are a great one-stop-shop for educators interested in topics such as ocean sound and the impact of noise, coral reef ecosystems, and sharks. This specific webinar will dig into the collections related to climate change and ocean acidification so that you can start using these educational materials right away to bring the ocean into your classroom or facility.


August 10, 2023 | 4:00 pm ET

Boiling Over: Marine Heatwaves, What are They and What Can We Expect?

Much like we experience periods of extreme and unusual heat in different areas on land, parts of the ocean can experience persistently high water temperatures, also known as marine heatwaves. These extreme events can have devastating impacts on marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.. Interested in finding out more? Take a break from the heat this summer and join online to learn what marine heatwaves are, why we should care about them, and what we can expect from them in the context of a changing climate and warming ocean.

Educator opportunities

NOAA Teachers on the Estuary Workshops

When: Offered to August 11, and other times during the school year

NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) holds Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) workshops research and field-based training programs for K–12 teachers at research reserve sites across the country. TOTE workshops offer a minimum of 15 contact hours, giving teachers the opportunity to

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

With TOTE, teachers and students interact with scientists, find information about local environmental issues, and participate in field trips and community conservation projects. Some workshops are free of charge and/or offer stipends upon completion. Advance registration is required. 

Find out about the TOTE workshop opportunities near you and sign up for one - or more, today! 

Smithsonian Science for the Classroom: Seeking 4th and 5th Grade Educators for Field Testing!

Deadline to apply: August 23, 2023

Do you want to shape science resources of the future? The Smithsonian Science Education Center is seeking 4th and 5th grade teachers interested in field testing a 4th or 5th grade science module between September 12, 2023 and January 31, 2024.  In recognition of this important work, field test teachers who complete the field test and provide feedback will receive:

  • A full kit of materials to teach one 4th grade or 5th grade module
  • Direct access to Smithsonian Science Curriculum Developers and fellow teachers across the country including an introductory training meeting, communication throughout the field test, and a reflective discussion at the conclusion of field testing
  • Name on the front of the corresponding Teacher Guide
  • Free copy of the updated Teacher Guide.

Apply here:

Register Now!

Climate Conversations: Schools

August 24 | 3:00PM - 4:15PM ET

climate conversations series

Join the National Academies for a discussion about how to help K-12 schools reduce their carbon emissions!

 Like all sectors of U.S. society, the K-12 education sector faces substantial challenges addressing its carbon emissions. Despite many challenges, competing priorities, and limited resources, there are initiatives underway to reduce emissions and save on overall costs and energy use. Anisa Heming (U.S. Green Building Council) will moderate a conversation with Andrea Suarez Falken (U.S. Department of Education) and Shannon Oliver (Adams 12 Five Star Schools) exploring the variety of approaches employed by schools.

The webinar will be webcast on the Climate Conversations: Schools webpage. The conversation will include questions from the audience and will be recorded and available to view online after the event.

Science Update: The Science of Oil Spill Response and Cleanup

oil spill response at sea

Join NOAA and NSTA on Thursday, September 28, 2023, from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM ET, for an edition of NSTA’s Science Update.

Major oil spills are rare, but thousands of spills occur each year where oil or chemicals are released into the environment due to accidents or natural disasters. Spills into our coastal waters can harm people and the environment and cause substantial disruption of marine transportation and potential widespread economic impacts.

In this web seminar Douglas Helton - Regional Operations Supervisor for NOAA's Emergency Response Division will discuss improvements in prevention, response to recent incidents, research on the detection and surveillance of spills at sea, cleanup alternatives, and the effects on natural resources.

Register here

Become a USA Blue School!

blue school

USA Blue Schools are K-12 schools that are working to increase awareness about the ocean and inspire educators, students, and community members to deepen their connection with the sea. Participating schools may be involved in action projects such as park/beach cleanups, data collection, community science activities, and educational workshops via webinars with scientists and marine educators, online symposia for students to share their successes, and opportunities to connect with other Blue Schools, both in the US and internationally.

Learn more about the USA Blue Schools and complete the short application to register your school. 

Student opportunities

Register for Global Indigenous Youth Summit on Climate Change!

Deadline Upcoming! August 9, 2023

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) invites registration for the Global Indigenous Youth Summit on Climate Change (GIYSCC). The GIYSC is being convened by, for, and among Indigenous youth (in contrast to Elders), who will design the agenda and invite the participants from three eight-hour time zones, in a 24-hour period, on 9 August 2023 (United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples). In a complementary context, the Summit will precede the United Nations International Youth Day on 12 August. More Info & Sign Up here.

2023 Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest

Contest dates: May 26, 2023 -  September 4, 2023

Welcome all photographers, regardless of skill level or experience, to participate in the 2023 #GetIntoYourSanctuary Photo Contest. Learn more about the contest and how to participate.


Future City Competition

Competition Timeline: May 2023 - February 2024

Future City is a hands-on, cross-curricular middle school STEM educational program with prizes suitable for all environments—in-school, after-school, and youth-focused organizations such as Scouts or 4H. This year, students are challenged to build 100% electrically powered cities with energy generated from sources that keep their citizens and the environment healthy and safe. Register now!

Ed Resources

Explore Current Deep Sea Expeditions!

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

Seascape Alaska 2023, May 5 - October 14, 2023

NOAA and its partners are conducting six expeditions mapping the seafloor and using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to understand of one of the least explored but incredibly economically and culturally important areas in the United States: Alaska. This expedition is focusing on deepwater areas in the Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, and the Aleutian Trench. ROV dives from 250 to 6,000 meters deep are anticipated from August 24 - September 15 and will explore seafloor subduction zones, deep-sea coral and sponge habitats, seamounts, mud volcanoes, hydrothermal vents, marine minerals, underwater cultural heritage sites, and the water column.

Seascape Alaska is a multi-year, multi-partner cooperative research campaign to create accessible, high-quality modern seabed data for Alaskan waters to support U.S. research, resource management, sustainable economic growth, and the health and security of Americans.

Data in the Classroom – New Video Tutorials


NOAA's Data in the Classroom engages scientists of all ages with interactive, online lessons that use real-world data to support students in making sense of environmental issues.  Watch these short video tutorials for a step-by-step orientation to the lessons and data tools in the Coral Bleaching and Ocean Acidification modules. Use them to get started, refresh your skills, or to train new team members. 

Explore Coral Bleaching Educator Resources

Explore Ocean Acidification Educator Resources

National Estuarine Research Reserve Data Mysteries


Grab your magnifying glass and investigate the data. Let’s solve a mystery!

From oyster health to wildfire predictions and water quality, teachers can work with their students to explore real events using the System-Wide Monitoring Program data from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS). Students graph and then analyze each parameter to find out what happened in the watershed or estuary based on the data from actual events. Through these mysteries, students gain awareness of the System-Wide Monitoring Program, learn to use the data graphing tool to interpret ecological data, and incorporate background information into their conclusions. 

Begin Exploring NERRS Data Mysteries Here!

NOAA's SOS Explorer - a free mobile app that supports Chromebooks!

The Science On a Sphere (SOS) team just released an update for the SOS Explorer™ (SOSx) mobile app, which lets anyone with a smartphone or tablet engage with NOAA Earth and space science data visualizations. The new release features support for Chromebooks and access to the app in Spanish and Chinese languages.




LabX: Extreme Event Game

Want a fun & interactive way to engage your community in preparing for disasters? Check out the Extreme Event game for FREE resources on how to host your own! Brought to you by Labx and the National Academy of Sciences.


Explore these Five Videos With Your Students

     1. Detroit's Climate Crisis — and How to Build a Resilient Future
         Everywhere | TED Talk with Anika Goss 

How can cities become resilient to the shocks of climate change? As a leading force behind Detroit's ongoing revitalization, Anika Goss spends a lot of time thinking about this question. Connecting the city's industrial past to its sustainable future, she explores the link between climate vulnerability and economic inequity, offering a vision for responding to both challenges at once.  Watch the video

2. What is NOAA Ocean Today?

In partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, NOAA Ocean Today has created over 360 short educational videos packed with fascinating discoveries and vibrant visuals that'll make you want to dive right in. Watch the Video!

la nina

       3. How Did Our Ocean Get So Warm?

The world experienced heat waves that broke records on land and in the ocean. El Niño has helped magnify the warmth sinking into the ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Watch this Ocean Today video to see how this works.

4. What Can We Do to Help Corals?

A warming ocean is stressing corals, causing them to bleach—or turn completely white. But we can save them? Watch this Ocean Today video to learn how you can help!

5. Solutions to Fix the Dead Zone

Every summer, the dead zone—or hypoxic zone—in the Gulf of Mexico results in millions of acres of habitat potentially unavailable to fish and bottom species.  Watch this Ocean Today video and earn how we all play a role in contributing to the dead zone and what steps we can take to fix it.

Biomagnification in Ocean Food Webs

Pollution can be a difficult subject to keep fun and optimistic in your classroom, but the growing concern of plastics and other pollutants in animals shows the importance of introducing the concept of biomagnification in ecology units. Grab your students and head outside for a quick and fun lesson exploring this topic. Find the unit here:

Biomagnification in Ocean Food Webs


Our Climate, Our Future


Action for the Climate Emergency, a nonprofit that provides educational resources on climate science and justice, as well as training for young climate leaders, offers the resource Our Climate, Our Future, a collection of lesson plans and hands-on student activities to educate high school audiences about the science of climate change and empower them to action.

Each lesson plan features a teacher guide, student guide, and videos, along with links to related lesson plans, student reading pages, and coloring pages to extend learning.

Watch Our Climate, Our Future videos here.


Investing in Our Ocean Future:  STEM Education Grants to Broaden Access to Ocean Sciences 


NOAA Ocean Exploration, is excited to offer grants to educators and education programs leading workforce development initiatives that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility within ocean science and/or exploration career pathways. The goal is to support a future ocean workforce that is more representative of US demographics, by funding projects that minimize barriers to entry and retention of diverse youth from communities historically marginalized from ocean science and exploration industries. These grants are an investment in projects that engage middle school, high school, undergraduate, and/or community college to learn about the ocean, develop or advance STEM skills, and increase awareness of ocean science careers.

Learn more about the grants and explore previously funded projects!

Clean School Bus Program Grants

Apply by: August 22, 2023

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency anticipates awarding approximately $400 million in competitive grant funding under the Clean School Bus Grants Program. The program will fund the replacement of existing school buses with clean and zero-emission school buses.

Toshiba America Foundation Education Grants

Apply by: November 1, 2023

The Toshiba America Foundation awards grants to support innovative STEM educational programs. Grades K-5 teachers are invited to apply for grants up to $1,000 by October 1, 2023. Middle school and high school teachers are invited to apply for grants up to $5,0000 (apply by September 1, 2023) and greater than $5,000 (apply by November 1, 2023).

Job and/or Fellowship Opportunities: 


Education/Equity Bytes


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

Weather Extremes and Other Science News of Note


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