NOAA Teacher at Sea
(Soon to be) Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette
April 14 – 29, 2013
Mission: Fisheries Research
Geographical Area of Cruise: Hawaiian Islands
Date: April 11, 2013
When I was a teenager taking part in a marine biology camp and working at a state park, if you had told me that I would be a high school biology teacher, I would not have believed you. If you had told me that I would still care deeply about our environment and the interconnectedness of living things, I’m sure I would have agreed. However, I do not think either of us could have foretold that I would be one of 25 people chosen this year by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) to participate in its Teacher at Sea program.
My name is Rita Salisbury and I teach biology at Delaware New Tech Academy (DNTA) at my alma mater, Seaford Senior High School in Seaford, DE. DNTA is a project-based learning environment where students work in collaborative groups and develop skills critical to success in college and the workplace. I actually co-teach with a Literature teacher and we have a combined class of BioLit. We spend a lot of time planning projects that are based on real-world connections that engage our students while covering content standards.
I applied to the NOAA Teacher at Sea Program for a few reasons. First, the research cruise will be rife with opportunities to make connections with scientists and I will be able to draw on the experience to help make my classes more meaningful and realistic. Second, I am always up for an adventure. I love learning and new experiences, so Teacher at Sea seems custom-made for me. Four years ago I was awarded a grant to visit the Galapagos Islands and it was one of the most interesting, engaging, and full-of-learning experiences I have ever had. I know that my time aboard NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette is going to be another great experience, too!
I am from a small farm on the Delmarva Peninsula, with the Atlantic Ocean a few miles to the east and the Chesapeake Bay to west. Crabbing and fishing were common summertime activities for kids when I grew up but most of my students have never had the opportunity to take part in either due to changes in the water quality. I am looking forward to incorporating what I learn on the Sette into projects for my students in order to create an awareness of the area in which they live and its historic marine culture. With that awareness as a foundation, can an interest in improving the bays and their tributaries be far behind?
I am waiting (very impatiently, I might add!) to meet the chief scientist and the captain and crew of the ship. What I know so far is that the the principal scientific objectives of the project will be focused on the research and development of sampling methods used in assessing fish populations. It will include using acoustics, cameras, and hook and line fishing. This is going to be a blast!