NOAA Teacher at Sea
(Almost) Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
July 26 – August 12, 2011
Mission: Pollock Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Gulf of Alaska
Date: July 23, 2011
Hello, from Denver, Colorado! My name is Staci DeSchryver, and I am an Honor’s Earth and Physical Science teacher at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, CO. Our school is the newest addition to the Cherry Creek School District family, but starting our ninth year is hardly enough to make us the babies any longer. We are an outstanding school with absolutely outstanding students, and I can’t wait to share this experience with them! I will be starting my eighth year teaching this fall, and my seventh year at CTHS. I’ve been around for a while, and Trail is definitely my teaching home.
I applied tor the NOAA Teacher At Sea program because our oceans are vast, largely unexplored, and a critical planetary resource. I love their mystery. More importantly, I love that we have the technology to uncover what hides beneath the surface. In addition, I am a firm and vocal believer that our ocean fish supplies are a lynchpin in our food supply. How so, you ask? I’ve broken it down into a simple and digestible equation:
Overfishing = fish can’t reproduce to keep up with the demand = fish become scarce = people starve = sad, hungry people.
Therefore, because few people on this planet enjoy being sad or hungry, NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) works tirelessly to ensure that we have sustainable fish populations now and in our future.
As part of this tireless work, I have the chance of a lifetime — to sail on the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson! The Oscar Dyson will be completing a stock assessment survey (data collection) on Walleye Pollock, a smart-looking fish that is a staple of the American (and world) diet. I am excited and nervous! I have never been on a ship before — not even a cruise ship! Come to think of it, I have never entered the ocean past knee-depth. (Thanks, Mom.) While the training has prepared me well, I know nothing can prepare me for the size, depth, and wealth of knowledge and surprises that are surely in store for me.
As far as a little more information about myself, I am currently packing up, tying up loose ends at home, and making sure all of my electronic equipment is in working order before I leave. I have also just learned from a fellow TASer that using the word “boat” for a “ship” is quite improper etiquette and akin to swearing. How did I miss that? Therefore, I am currently seeking out synonyms for “ship” and “vessel” to keep my writing nice and spicy without angering anyone who holds my life in their hands.
The next time you hear from me, it will be from the Gulf of Alaska on my mission to help protect our fish populations, spread the word about scientific careers, and develop killer lesson plans that teach our students the science of Oceanography! Cheers!