The Watch. News You Can Use From NOAA Planet Stewards - 27 February 2024

NOAA Planet Stewards The Watch Newsletter


News you can use from NOAA Planet Stewards 

February 27, 2024

Keep Up with NOAA Planet Stewards:

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

Did a colleague or friend share this copy of The Watch with you? 

Thank them, then sign up to receive it.  See the sign-up link above!


Join Our March Book Club Event!

Meeting Date & Time: Tuesday, March 12, 2024 | 8 p.m. ET


At our next Planet Stewards book club we’ll discuss The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science is Still a Boys' Club 

In 2005, when Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard, asked why so few women achieve tenured positions in the hard sciences, Eileen Pollack set out to find the answer. In the 1970s, Pollack had excelled as one of Yale’s first two women to earn a Bachelor of Science in physics. And yet, isolated, lacking in confidence, and starved for encouragement, she abandoned her lifelong dream of becoming a theoretical physicist. Years later, she thought back on her experiences and wondered what had changed in the intervening decades, and what challenges remained.

Based on six years of interviewing dozens of teachers and students and reviewing studies on gender bias, The Only Woman in the Room is an illuminating exploration of the cultural, social, psychological, and institutional barriers confronting women in the STEM disciplines. Pollack brings to light the struggles that women in the sciences are often hesitant to admit and provides hope that changing attitudes and behaviors can bring more women into fields in which they remain, to this day, seriously under-represented.

And remember:

  • For details on all our meeting dates, times, selections, 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

Stewardship Inspiration:
A Tiny Forest: An Outdoor Classroom and a Place for Hope


According to experts, such as psychotherapist Caroline Hickman (Hickman, 2020), climate anxiety in young people can be countered by engaging them in collaborative work that binds them to the environment and demonstrates for them the power of collective action. Inspired by similar work at schools in Brazil, China, and Malaysia, NOAA Planet Steward Dr. Patrick J. Walsh, led pre-K-through twelfth- grade students at the Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon in building a “Tiny Forest” on their campus in 2022. Tiny Forests are dense plantings of native plants in a space about the size of a tennis court. Students took key roles in writing the proposal, choosing the plants, preparing the ground, and planting. A year later, the Tiny Forest has become an outdoor classroom, offering a site for age-appropriate lessons about topics ranging from carbon capture to nature poetry. By sharing the positive effects of reforestation and species diversification, students could articulate the possibility of making small but meaningful impacts on environmental problems. At the Tiny Forest students, educators, and visitors at the Catlin Gabel School can experience empowerment rather than anxiety.

Read about this terrific stewardship project!


Do you have an item you'd like to share

in future issues of The Watch?

Complete this form to recommend your submission.



noaa in focus

NOAA Ocean Podcast -- Say Cheese: Wetland Wildlife Inventory

Have you ever wondered which animals call coastal wetland areas home? In this episode, we explore how scientists across the National Estuarine Research Reserve System conducted the first-ever North American wildlife inventory of these habitats. Our guest is Dr. Kenny Raposa, research coordinator at Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and lead scientist for the study.

Listen to the podcast

noaa webinars
noaa webinars

NOAA Science Seminar Series - 
Something for Everyone!

See All of NOAA Science Seminar Series here


February 28, 2024 | 7:30-8:30 p.m. ET 

Chasing Microbes: Diving into the Mystery of Coral Disease




February 29, 2024 I 3-4:30 p.m. ET

National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) Overlooked & Overburdened Webinar: Extreme Heat and Homelessness




March 19, 2024 I 6-7 p.m. ET

Plants Get Sick Too: Monitoring Seagrass Wasting Disease in a Changing Climate

Educator opportunities

Climate Conversations: Offshore Wind

Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 3-4:15 p.m. ET

wind energy

Join the National Academies for a webinar about the opportunities and challenges facing offshore wind energy.

Offshore wind is one of the many sources of clean electricity being implemented as part of the push to decarbonize the grid. As states vet and approve projects, scientists, policymakers, and communities are working to better understand the potential economic and environmental impacts of offshore wind. Join us for a discussion about the potential benefits and challenges presented by offshore wind, what the current economic and policy landscape for implementing the technology is, and considerations for future projects.

The webinar will be webcast on the Climate Conversations: Offshore Wind webpage Closed captioning will be provided. The conversation will include questions from the audience and will be recorded and available to view on the page after the event. Register for the webinar.

EXPLORER CLASSROOM: Webinars from National Geographic Education

Detecting Plastic Pollution

February 29, 2024 I 10:00 am or 2:00 pm ET

Explorer Justine Ammendolia is a researcher who documents the presence and movement of plastic pollution. Follow her to Sable Island off the coast of eastern Canada to learn how tiny pieces of plastic move through what’s all around us–the air!

Register now



Ocean Expedition: Offshore Mysteries

March 24, 2024 I 9:00 pm ET

 Fourth of a 4-part series. Journey with the Pristine Seas team and local experts to the deep sea environment in the waters of Palau where little is known about what will be found at the bottom of the ocean.

Register now

ocean mystery

The Exploratorium’s Summer Institute for Teachers

Application Deadline: March 4, 2024


Spend three weeks (June 10–28) at the Exploratorium in San Francisco learning how to introduce more inquiry into your classroom. Collaborate with other teachers to deepen your own practice, build content knowledge, and support a more equitable learning environment. Explore natural phenomena related to human perception, physical science, life science, Earth science, and the environment. Engage in activities that promote noticing, wondering, and experimenting so you can build understanding and create equitable and anti-racist science classrooms.

Applicants must be current in-classroom science teachers of grades 6–12 and should have at least three years’ experience teaching science in a classroom. Educators of color and educators working in public schools, especially Title I schools, are encouraged to apply.

The Summer Institute is free of charge; attendees pay only for travel, food, and lodging. Each participant will be awarded a $2,500 stipend after completing the institute. Six graduate-level semester units of continuing education credits are available for a fee.

Apply now

Climate & Equity Education: Summer Institute for Learning & Teaching

Application Deadline: Monday, March 4, 2024

Dates of Institute: Sunday, July 21-Saturday, July 27, 2024


High school teachers are invited to apply for a one-week, all-expenses-paid institute on the beautiful coast of Maine.

Teachers will:

  • explore the inequitable impacts of climate change
  • be inspired by sharing best practices for teaching climate equity
  • build community
  • converse with scientists
  • enjoy the tranquility of Maine woods and seashore
  • leave with a renewed sense of hope and purpose about making a difference!

Questions? Email:

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies Research Experiences for Teachers (BIORETS) Program

Application Deadline: March 15, 2024


Middle-level and high-school STEM teachers with at least a year of classroom experience can spend six weeks during the summer at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, conducting research in ecology with Cary scientists. A culminating in-person, two-day writing workshop will support teachers in publishing their work, and four virtual school-year follow-up sessions will be held to support implementation of new curriculum. Paid travel and housing are available for out-of-area teachers, and educators will receive an $8,800 stipend for full participation.

Teachers who work with historically marginalized and underserved students, and/or work in under-resourced schools, including those in rural and urban communities, are especially encouraged to apply.

Find more information and apply here.

The EE 30 Under 30 Class of 2024 Call for Nominations Is Open!

Applications Due: March 25, 2024

The North American Association for Environmental Educators (NAAEE) is seeking 30 young changemakers who are using EE to shape a sustainable and equitable future. Please share your nomination for leaders from any country, sector, or discipline. Help us recognize the inspiring work of young people across the globe!

Nominate a young changemaker. 


USPTO’s 10th Annual National Summer Teacher Institute!

Appli9cation Deadline: Sunday, March 31, 2024;   Event Dates: July 21-26, 2024;   Location: Alexandria, VA


Apply to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) National Summer Teacher Institute (NSTI) to:

  • Work with USPTO experts, inventors, and teacher ambassadors to explore IP, innovation, and STEM concepts: creativity, problem solving and critical thinking, and collaboration and teamwork.
  • Design and build prototypes as part of a week-long invention project.
  • Learn how to engage students in authentic, real-world projects and problem-based learning across all fields of study.
  • Collaborate and share best practices with educators from across the country.
  • Receive free, ready-to-use, educator-tested teaching materials, lesson plans, and activities to take back to your classroom.

The application and program are free! If selected, flight, lodging, and meals are covered for teachers who live more than 50 miles from Alexandria, Virginia. Teachers who reside less than 50 miles from the NSTI venue will receive all the benefits of the program except travel and lodging support.

Where do I get more information and apply? Interested individuals can find more information about the program and apply on the NSTI webpage. Check out this Instagram reel to see NSTI teachers in action. Apply for the Summer Teacher Institute today!

Great Lakes Watershed Field Course

Deadline to apply: April 21, 2024 by 5 p.m. ET;      Course dates: August 6-9, 2024


Apply for the Inland Seas Education Association's 2024 Great Lakes Watershed Field Course (GLWFC), a 4-day free professional development experience for teachers from throughout the Great Lakes region in Suttons Bay, MI. Training in the course includes watershed and environmental concepts, place-based education and environmental education pedagogy, and curriculum development. Educators will learn how to engage students in local environmental issues, investigate solutions, devise a plan, and take action during this course. Inland Seas supports teachers as they implement their watershed-based stewardship action projects.

There is no cost for this experience, but space is limited to 21 participants. Interested educators can learn more and apply at the GLWFC webpage.

Teachers on the Tower - a Unique In Situ experience!

June 17-21, 2024 (weather permitting)

Frying Pan tower

Spend 5 days on Frying Pan Tower! You will:

Conduct Research. Collect real-time chemical and physical oceanography data on pH, temperature, wind speed, tidal data and salinity!

Improve your education craft. Create new lesson plans and join in for curriculum development for marine biology programs while learning new activities for your class.

Grow in science knowledge. Participate in ornithology, animal behavior, meiofauna collection, plankton tows, and ocean acidification activities. Operate the ROV submersible and observe the resident sharks. View the night sky with the Dwarf II telescope.

If interested, complete this pre application

Questions? Contact Dr. Erika Young at NC Sea Grant,

Student opportunities

New Storm Surge Resources and Challenge With Prizes!

Entry deadline: March 1, 2024

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) has posted its first STEAM Leader Challenge on "Understanding Storm Surges and Protecting Our Communities" on Scoutlier, a free online learning platform for teachers to borrow, build, and assign self-paced, interactive lessons.

Any interested students (or teams of students) can submit a final product pitch for scoring and the opportunity to win cash prizes.

Additional Information and how to apply are on the NOSB website.


Generation of Environmental Leaders Program (GELP)

Applications Due: March 31, 2024


The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)  is pleased to share the launch of its new Generation of Environmental Leaders Program (GELP)!

The GELP is an exciting new program to support young leaders in developing the necessary skills and access seed funding to make an impact in their communities and beyond.

The 2024 CEC GELP invites teams of young leaders from North America to support communities and preserve our shared waters, lands and air. The program is aimed at youth who are 18–35 years old and are part of a team such as, but not exclusively, youth-led organizations, youth-led associations, nongovernmental organizations, not-for-profit youth-led businesses, and teams of youth innovators and entrepreneurs interested in building their businesses.

The selected youth will benefit from a year-long mentorship program, networking opportunities across North America, receive $15,000 in seed funding and have the chance to present their solutions to North America’s ministers of environment as part of the CEC’s annual Council Session.

Visit the webpage to learn more about the program and apply.

2024 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

Applications Due: April 15, 2024

Barron Prize

The Gloria Barron Prize annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and the environment. Fifteen top winners each receive $10,000 to support their service work or higher education. Encourage the young heroes you know to apply online by April 15th!

Young people are invited to apply by completing an online application. It includes an essay and three letters of recommendation, which references submit through our online platform. Many applicants also include supplemental materials such as links to their websites and social media pages.

Applicants can now access the 2024 online application and begin compiling their materials. Winners will be announced in late September.

Apply here!

Ed Resources

STEM Biographies Video Lessons for Black History Month


Students can learn about the contributions of African Americans to STEM fields with a series of video lessons on STEM biographies for Black History Month. Featured in the biographies are astronaut Mae Jemison, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and inventor and agriculturalist George Washington Carver. Cancer patient Henrietta Lacks, who left a legacy in the development of "immortal" HeLa cells, is also featured. Teachers can show the videos to students; if teachers wish to copy the videos, a login is required.

Access all the videos.

Tackling Climate Change through Environmental Justice in Middle School

In this EcoRise activity reviewed by the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network, students are asked to consider inequality and justice in the context of their own lives and the environment through a series of both hands-on and research-focused activities.

Have the important discussions on climate justice this Black History Month!

MS Student

Meet National Geographic’s Newest Explorer in Residence: Tara Roberts


Tara Roberts has been named a National Geographic Explorer in Residence. Explorers in Residence are esteemed, preeminent members of the Explorer community whose work will have greater impact and be accelerated through institutional support and funding.

As a National Geographic Explorer, Roberts has spent years diving with and chronicling the journey of a group of Black scuba divers with the organization Diving With a Purpose as they searched for sunken slave trade shipwrecks around the world and uncovered the lost stories of the transatlantic slave trade. Her journey was turned into a six-part, National Geographic-produced narrative podcast called "Into the Depths," which has a classroom listening guide and many other resources for educators and students.


Resources from National Geographic!

2892 Miles to Go: A Geographic Walk for Justice -- The 2892 project provides opportunities for youth storytellers to collaborate with local leaders, educators, activists, advocates, and change-makers to reclaim community histories and stories together. Explore classroom resources that you can use as catalysts for deeper learning and critical thinking opportunities in your classroom - regardless of where you live and teach in the world. Download the 2892 Educator Guide

Learning Tool: Intro to GIS -- We use geographic inquiry skills in everyday life. This learning tool features an interactive activity that uses ropes or string to simulate GIS technology, along with tools for understanding data visualization and analysis.

GIS Tool

Atmos River

SciJinks - It's All About Weather!

Check out these and so many other great explainers about weather and Earth science phenomena! Terrific for students!

Check them all out on NOAA’s SciJinks Website.

Youth for the Planet: Taking Climate Action in Your Community Curriculum Toolkit

Youth for the Planet

Use this climate action resource kit from World Wildlife Fund to educate youth on climate change and inspire them to take meaningful actions at home and school and in their community. The downloadable kit can be used with students in grades 7–10. It contains a slideshow with a student notes sheet, a creative writing activity, a collaborative English language arts/social studies activity, and a group advocacy project in which students brainstorm, design, and implement a comprehensive climate action campaign for their school or community. A detailed teachers’ guide and student planning sheets for each step of the group project are included.

Rooftop Gardens

In this hands-on activity, students explore whether rooftop gardens are a viable option for combating the urban heat island effect. The guiding question is: Can rooftop gardens reduce the temperature inside and outside of houses? This activity is intended for grades 6-12.

Explore the activity

Sci Play

New Digital Children’s Book Series on Florida Corals & Coral Rescue

The Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project and Children’s Literature Initiative has published a digital four-book series on Florida corals and coral rescue for young readers. Through the adventures of the series main character, Bellaroca (Pretty Rock), the books explore what corals are, the importance of coral reef ecosystems to our oceans and survival challenges coral reefs are facing. The books celebrate the work being done to ensure coral reefs survive for generations to come.

The digital series is available with or without English narration and soon will be available in other languages. The entire digital series is currently available free to readers through the Unite for Literacy website.

Coral in Florida

The National Environmental Education Foundation’s 2024 Biodiversity Conservation Grant

Letters of Intent Due: March 1, 2024

NEEF is offering $200,000 in grant funding for shovel-ready projects focused on improving pollinator habitat on public lands, beginning in July 2024.

Visit the Biodiversity Conservation Grant webpage to find more information about this exciting grant opportunity.




Education/Equity Bytes


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

Weather Extremes and Other Science News of Note

Planet Stewards jpg