The Watch. News You Can Use From NOAA Planet Stewards - 17 January 2024

NOAA Planet Stewards The Watch Newsletter


News you can use from NOAA Planet Stewards 

January 17, 2024

Keep Up with NOAA Planet Stewards:

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

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Get a head start on February’s Book Club!

Meeting Date & Time: Tuesday, February 13, 2024 | 8:00 PM ET


At our next Planet Stewards book club we’ll discuss Engage, Connect, and Protect: Empowering Diverse Youth as Environmental Leaders.

While concern about the state of our land, air, and water continues to grow, there is widespread belief that environmental issues are primarily of interest to wealthy white communities. Engage, Connect, Protect explodes this myth, revealing the deep and abiding interest that African American, Latino, and Native American communities ― many of whom live in degraded and polluted parts of the country – have in our collective environment.

This book is part eye-opening critique of the cultural divide in environ-mentalism, part biography of a leading social entrepreneur, and part practical toolkit for engaging diverse youth. Engage, Connect, Protect is a wake-up call for businesses, activists, educators, and policymakers to recognize the work of grassroots activists in diverse communities and create opportunities for engaging with diverse youth as the next generation of environmental stewards.

And remember...

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

Stewardship Inspiration: Unwelcome Guests - Combating Aquatic Invasive Species through Education, Habitat Conservation and Restoration


Aquatic invasive species are an environmental threat throughout our entire continent. Read how Spencer Cody, and his students in a landlocked, rural South Dakota school district found themselves at the forefront of the struggle against zebra mussels - and what they did about it. Through their project, middle and high school students made tremendous knowledge gains and experienced substantial attitudinal changes about the issue. While working to mitigate zebra mussels in their community presented many logistical problems, they navigated them successfully, achieving their stewardship goals, resulting in a remarkable learning experience for both students and teachers alike.

Get inspired to take action! Check out all the amazing projects carried out by NOAA Planet Stewards Educators and Students on our What Success Looks Like Web page.

Education Inspiration: Planet Stewards High-School Reading Challenge

reading challenge

Klaudia Janek, a school librarian at the International Academy High School in Bloomfield Hills, MI invited her students to participate in a reading challenge using the NOAA Planet Stewards Book Club reading list. Students at the school have an option to take an Environmental Systems and Societies  class. They can use Planet Stewards Book Club selections as a starting point for a World Studies Extended Essay and many choose an environmental issue to investigate. These book selections support several UN Sustainable Development Goals that many teachers at the school integrate into their curriculums also. Plus, it's a way for the school library to make these books easily available to students and teachers. There is also a reading challenge that adds a bit of competition for students, which is a great partnership between the school library and the science department!

Check out the Planet Stewards Reading Challenge page. Have questions? Contact Janek!


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noaa in focus


This image shows a bleached brain coral. When bleaching occurs, microscopic algae living inside of corals either dies or is expelled. The algae is what gives corals their colors.

NOAA Ocean Podcast: Coral Bleaching

When temperatures rise, coral bleaching can occur. In this podcast episode, you can explore what happens during bleaching events, how corals are affected, and how we can help protect these important ecosystems. We’re joined by coral expert Dana Wusinich-Mendez, Atlantic and Caribbean team lead, and Florida management liaison for NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program joins the program.

Listen to the podcast.

A diver "outplants" corals in the Florida Keys in an attempt to restore the ecosystem.

A diver "outplants" stony corals in the Florida Keys in an effort to restore the ecosystem. (Credit: Rachel Hancock Davis)

Podcast: Restoring Florida's Iconic Coral Reefs

Coral reefs provide crucial habitat, storm protection, and destinations for diving, fishing, and boating. Often referred to as the "rainforests of the sea," they're essential in terms of species diversity and for the ecosystem services that they provide to humans. Mission: Iconic Reefs is an effort to protect and restore seven key reef sites in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Listen to the podcast.

noaa webinars
noaa webinars

NOAA Science Seminar Series - 
Something for Everyone!

See All of NOAA Science Seminar Series here

January 17, 2024 | 3:00 - 4:00 pm ET

Arctic Report Card: Background and Key Findings



January 23, 2024 | 8:00 - 9:00 pm ET 

Coconut Palms, Seabirds, Coral Reefs and Sea Level Rise

Educator opportunities

American Climate Corps:

Are you ready to help us tackle the climate crisis?


The Biden-Harris Administration is hard at work preparing to launch the first cohort of the American Climate Corps by summer 2024. There will be hundreds of paid opportunities to tackle the climate crisis and advance environmental justice.

As they gear up for a successful launch, they want to hear directly from you! The White House is hosting virtual listening sessions to hear your ideas about how to shape this historic, groundbreaking initiative. Each listening session will last roughly 90 minutes.

Register for a listening session that is right for you:

Given the level of anticipated interest, they are asking everyone to limit their comments to 3 minutes or less. If you’re unable to join the live conversations, or have more to share send your thoughts, comments, and ideas by January 31st, 2024. As the Biden-Harris Administration continues building the American Climate Corps, here are some opportunities that are available right now that might be of interest to you:

Webinar From the National Academies: Climate Conversations: COP28

Thursday, January 18, 2024 | 3:00 - 4:15 PM ET


Every year, the United Nations brings together representatives from across the globe to address the climate crisis. Member states’ negotiators assess the latest information and science about the climate crisis and craft global goals aimed at slowing climate change and mitigating the worst of its impacts. At this month’s Climate Conversation, National Academies panelists will discuss what the conference outcomes actually mean, how countries will embrace the final agreements, and what climate actions we should expect.

Register and learn more about the webinar. 

Webinar: Effective Scientific Questioning and Inquiry Through an Identity- and Place-based Lens

Thursday, January 18, 2024 | 7:00 p.m. ET

Join the National Middle Level School Teachers Association for a free webinar which will present how place-based scientific inquiry empowers students to develop a deep understanding of scientific concepts while fostering curiosity, critical thinking, and a personal connection with nature.

Register for this webinar.


REEF Into the Blue Book Club!

Thursday, January 18, 2024 | 8:00 PM ET

Ocean lovers and bookworms - you’re invited to join the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) for a virtual Q&A with award-winning environmental author and journalist, Cynthia Barnett!

REEF Into the Blue Book Club is hosting a virtual meeting to discuss Cynthia Barnett’s book, Rain: a Natural and Cultural History. Cynthia will be joining the event for a presentation and live Q&A session before the attendees break into discussion groups!

Register for the book club meeting.

Reef into Blue book club

Webinar: Parenting in the Climate Crisis: Self Care, Connections, and Support

 Tuesday, January 30, 2024 | 8:00 PM

Climate Care

Join Climate Mental Health Network, Moms Clean Air Force, EcoMadres and Climate Psychology Alliance-N. America for an interactive event to learn more about parenting in the climate crisis. How can parents help their children navigate the emotional and physical impacts of the climate crisis? How can parents take care of themselves while also caring for their children? Connect with other interested parents and experts in this space. Closed captioning will be available. The session will be recorded for those who cannot join live.

Register for the webinar.

NOAA Ocean Exploration’s 2024 Explorer-in-Training Program

Explorer Program

This year, the Explorer-in-Training Program will feature two paid internship options:

  • 2 to 4-week expedition-based ocean mapping opportunities on the Okeanos Explorer (priority deadline: January 31, 2024; applications accepted on a rolling basis)
  • 10-week spring and summertime opportunities (application deadline: January 31, 2024)

The 10-week internships give participants an experiential learning opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge through long-term projects supported by NOAA Ocean Exploration mentors. The expedition-based internships provide support for specific NOAA Ocean Exploration expeditions, giving participants the chance to contribute to mission efforts while gaining tangible skills that benefit their future pursuits.

To learn more and apply for available opportunities in 2024, visit the Explorer-in-Training website.

Student opportunities

NOAA Undergraduate Scholarships

Apply by: January 31, 2024

NOAA's Office of Education student scholarship programs provide opportunities for undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience while pursuing research and educational training in NOAA-mission sciences. The Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship and José E. Serrano Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI) Undergraduate Scholarship share a common application and students who are eligible for both programs are encouraged to apply to both.

noaa undergrad grants

Calling All Creatives, Make a Pitch for the Planet!

Application deadline: January 31, 2024

Planet Media

The goal of the Planet Media Call for Pitches is to generate creative ideas for short-form content to support children ages 8-12 in understanding the four essential climate principles focused on hope, humor, and solutions. Ideas will incorporate key climate messages through a variety of creative approaches, including animation, live action, music and more. Selected finalists will pitch before a panel of reviewers in March at the annual Aspen Ideas: Climate Miami Beach. There, a final round of pitches will be identified to work with a production team to make the content. Creatives with selected pitches will receive advice and support from a production company, and a guaranteed minimum budget of $15,000 to execute their creative concepts.

Enter the world's largest K-12 science competition with ExploraVision

Submission deadline: January 31, 2023

Spark innovation with your students through the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition. Through ExploraVision, K-12 students are challenged to dream up a future technology through teamwork and scientific exploration—while winning BIG prizes. Get your students involved with the competition today! Explore the teacher competition resource page and learn how to implement ExploraVision into your classroom today!


2024 Maurice R. Hilleman Essay Contest: What scientific issue would you take on if given the chance and why?

Submission deadline: February 15, 2024



Students in grades 6 to 12 living in the United States (including the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories) or Canada and enrolled in a public, private, cyber, religious, charter school, or who attend a home school pro­gram can participate.


Learn about Dr. Hilleman, and write a 500- to 1,000-word essay that responds to this prompt: “Dr. Hilleman made his impact on the world through the development of vaccines. What scientific issue would you take on if given the chance and why?” The essay should be written in English for U.S. submissions and English or French for Canadian submissions using complete sentences and appropriate grammar. One entry per person. See “Official Rules” for complete details.

Winners will receive:

  • Cash prize: 1st place US $500; 2nd place US $250
  • Winner certificate
  • Recognition at a virtual award event on May, 2024. The event will be hosted by Dr. Paul Offit - VEC director, vaccine inventor and Hilleman biographer. The event will include special guests and student winners reading their essays.

Find out more information about the contest, how to enter, and examples of winning essays from past years here.

Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge

Registration deadline: March 28, 2024

Submission deadline: April 3, 2024

Looking for a new way to blend biology, ecology, and engineering? The Biomimicry Institute’s Youth Design Challenge is a project-based learning experience that asks middle and high school teams to design bio-inspired ideas that can provide solutions to critical real-world problems.



Do You Have a Climate Story to Share? Enter Bow Seat's Student Ocean Awareness Contest

Deadline: 10 June, 2024


Tell Your Climate Story, become a climate witness, and share your unique climate experience.

Think about climate issues and solutions and consider how they have affected you or your community. Find something that resonates deeply with your experiences – perhaps a climate impact you witnessed, an initiative that you’ve participated in, or a source of strength and inspiration when thinking about the climate crisis. Share your personal climate story through art, writing, performance, film, or multimedia. What is the story that you’d like to tell?

Contest Details:

Explore the Submission Requirements to learn more about the Categories

Ed Resources

The Equity Compass Tool


Developed as part of the University College London Institute of Education’s Youth Equity+STEM project, the Equity Compass is a tool to help formal and informal science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educators and others adopt a social justice mindset when developing K–college STEM programs, policies, and practices. The tool provides a framework and guiding questions for evaluating equity issues within K–college STEM programs, policies, and practices and addresses eight multiple dimensions of equity. The goal is to help users ensure that their STEM programs and policies move STEM from being a destination for an elite few to a vehicle that serves and belongs to the whole community.

Explore Like a Scientist Online Course


Monterey Bay Aquarium’s FREE multimedia online course for grades 3–6 introduces students to different types of scientists and what they do (ask questions, work with models, investigate, analyze and interpret data, use math, explain and design, argue based on evidence...) Students also conduct hands-on activities practicing key science skills, such as observation, data collection, and scientific illustration. The course also presents information about different kinds of scientists (e.g., zoologist, marine ecologist) and provides activities that teach students what it might be like if they had a career in that field. The course concludes with a reflection activity in which students produce a creative project (digital book, song, game, stop-motion video, etc.) that summarizes what they learned.

Climate Justice Instructional Toolkit

Looking for more in-depth resources on topics like energy justice, a just transition, and climate justice policy? Check out the Climate Justice Instructional Toolkit for undergraduate or advanced high-school classes from MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative.

Logo for the Climate Justice Instructional Toolkit

Learners to Leaders Curriculum

Explore the FREE Learners to Leaders Environmental Justice Literacy Curriculum from Groundwork USA and use it as a starting place to understand the history, importance, and potential future of climate justice and climate change action.

Logo for the organization Groundwork USA

Social Justice Standards

Try integrating the Social Justice Standards created by Learning for Justice. The K-12 framework provides anchor standards in four areas: identity, diversity, justice, and action. Scenarios are shared to help you think through how these standards could be met in your learning environment.

Learning for Justice organizational logo

National Geographic's Explorer Classroom Returns for 2024!

Explorer Classroom

The Explorer Classroom’s live interactive YouTube show connects your students with scientists and storytellers to hear behind-the-scenes stories about their work and ask questions in real time. This month your class will have the opportunity to learn from photojournalists, scientists and storytellers whose innovation is protecting the wonder of our world.

All sessions are free and include an instructional guide to help your class get the most out of the experience, plus Spanish-language events are included! There will also be time for a Q&A, so come prepared with questions.

Explorer Classroom January Events:

Monkeys, Poop & Forest Conservation | Federico Pardo: January 23, 2024 | 11:30 AM ET

Join Colombian biologist and photographer Federico Pardo who is working to protect Colombia's most endangered monkeys and help restore their home, the tropical rainforest. Recommended for ages 8-17. This event will be in Spanish! Register now.

Mapping Critical Habitats | Sera Tolgay: January 25, 2024 | 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM

Sera Tolgay is an urban planner and cartographer who uses maps to identify critical habitats in need of protection. Join to learn why mapmaking is important and how Sera creates them using open source data, drones, and satellite imagery! Recommended for ages 8-14. Register now.

Explorer’s Guidebook

Excite students in grades 3–5 to investigate nature with simple activities from Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Explorer’s Guidebook. Students can go on a habitat scavenger hunt, create a sound map, or test their bird identification skills. These are just a few of the experiences offered in this adaptable activity book, designed for teachers, families, and anyone looking for an easy way to learn about birds and connect to nature.


Climate Change and the Water Cycle

Climate Change and the Water Cycle consists of seven distinct activities developed for 6-12 grade students. The activities teach about climate change, the water cycle, and the effects of the changing climate on water resources through the use of games, science experiments, investigations, role-playing, research, and creating a final project to showcase learning.

This learning activity takes ten 60 minute class periods.

water world

NOAA's 2024 Marine Debris Calendar Now Available!

NOAA's 2024 Marine Debris Calendar is now available to download! Our annual art contest aims to get students thinking about how marine debris impacts our ocean and Great Lakes, and what they can do to help. This year’s calendar features artwork from 13 students in kindergarten through eighth grade from 10 states, all winners of the “Keep the Sea Free of Debris” art contest.



  • Positions at Duxbury Bay Maritime School

    • Summer Marine Science Instructor (part-time)
    • Marine Science Field Trip Instructor (part-time)
    • Marine Science Instructor for Off-Season Programs (Sept-May) (part-time)

NOAA B-WET Competitions!


Susan L. Williams National Coral Reef Management Fellowship

Apply by: February 14, 2024

The Susan L. Williams National Coral Reef Management Fellowship is recruiting undergraduates or recent graduates in American Samoa. The ideal candidate will have in-situ coral nursery and restoration experience. Start date would be January or very early February. Relocation is covered and the position offers excellent professional development opportunities.



Education/Equity Bytes


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

Weather Extremes and Other Science News of Note

Planet Stewards jpg