Marian Wagner: Preparing for Departure, August 12, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Marian Wagner
Aboard R/V Savannah
August 16 — 26, 2011

Mission: Reef Fish Survey
Geographical Area: Atlantic Ocean (Off the Georgia and Florida Coasts)
Date: August 12, 2011

Introductory Log

Naturalizing at my home beach in Seattle, Golden Gardens

I’m off to live the life of a NOAA research scientist aboard the Research Vessel (R/V) Savannah Our work is part of a population monitoring mission (estimating number of fish in population), doing fishery-independent sampling of reef fishes in the Atlantic off the coasts of Georgia and Florida.  See “terms defined” below to learn more.

Preparing to work with and make the most of my time with a team of scientists as a NOAA Teacher at Sea (TAS) participant means I have a lot to learn in a short amount of time!  This morning, I leave Seattle, and tonight I arrive in Savannah, GA.  I can’t believe this day has finally arrived!

I teach 3rd and 4th grade at Salmon Bay School in Seattle Public Schools, and students and families will tell you teaching SCIENCE! is my passion.  Central to my passion in teaching science is the importance of teaching students and teachers that we must better understand and protect the earth’s resources with which we are interdependent, and develop a more responsible and sustainable relationship with how we use these resources.  The fundamental goal of all my various ways of incorporating this NOAA research experience into my teaching will be to help students and teachers understand the ocean better and our relationships with it, and use this knowledge to protect the world’s oceans.

I have never had first-hand experience in conducting field research (outside of research with children for educational purposes), and I believe it is especially essential in the leadership roles I have come to serve in science education that I have this foundational knowledge first-hand of HOW research is conducted in the field.  I look forward to getting my hands dirty! (salty?)

A few days ago I received word that I have passed all my requirements to be endorsed to teach 6-12 grade biology and this experience will stretch me beyond coursework and provide a true field research experience, especially essential if I decide to use my biology endorsement to teach middle school or high school level biology, where I will draw upon this research experience in many valuable ways, especially by sharing methods of conducting research and by exposing students to the career options of working as a field scientist.

My 3rd and 4th graders (and my alumni too, I hope!) are sure to hear extensively about this field science research experience that I am about to dive into!  Time to dress for the airport!

Terms Defined:

Fishery-independent sampling means data are collected separately from the landings of any commercial fisheries, and thus can be separated from economic factors that would compromise population trends based on how many fish are caught in a year (e.g., price of fish or fuel).  So fishery-independent data are the closest we can come to a census, and are some of the most reliable data fed in to a “stock assessment”. The data we collect will have direct implications for stock assessment of these fish and ecosystem-based management of southeast U.S. marine fisheries.  Here’s a link  to more information on the work we are doing.

Seattle-ites: For more information, here’s a link to Federal stock assessment work in the Seattle area, perhaps more helpful because you might recognize your local species and habitats.

6 Replies to “Marian Wagner: Preparing for Departure, August 12, 2011”

  1. How exciting Marian! As you know, (I think!) I have a degree in Fisheries and spent many years at sea doing research! I loved it know in my heart I will never NOT live within spitting distance of salt water! I wish you well, and encourage you to get some peppermint oil to smell, if you happen to get sea sick! It helps a lot! Wishing you clear seas, fun times, good shipmates and a safe voyage!

  2. My Kids Elliot and Ruby would like to know about life on the ship– where do you sleep and eat, how many people are you with, etc. Ruby (age 6) would also like you to try to find out “What do swordfishes do when they sneeze because they have a sword for a nose.” So good luck with that one!

  3. How exciting Marian. In a past life, I applied to go out on the NOAA ships but never did. So I am really curious to hear about your experience. My idea of a perfect adventure! And like you said in your posting, nothing quite like experiencing science in order to teach it.

  4. With you in spirit. Can’t wait to see what you have to say. I love the way you write and reflect on things. DREAMING …on a sunny afternoon (which is quite the event in Seattle this summer) … of you on boat … <3

  5. Finally, after talking to you this a.m., I can understand a little of what you’re
    doing. Never thought to look on Facebook to see if you’d written anything. Be
    sure to take some pictures of your living and sleeping quarters, even the head.
    You know your students will want to see them.

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