NOAA Teacher At Sea
Soon to be aboard NOAA ship Oregon II (NOAA Ship Tracker)
At Sea August 10 – 25, 2013
Mission: Shark/Red Snapper Bottom Longline
Geographical Area of Cruise: Western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico
Date: July 25, 2013
Weather: current conditions from Morrisville-Stowe State Airport
Lat. 44.53° Lon.- 72.61°
Temp. 64°F (18° C)
Wind speed 3 mph
Barometer 30.16 in (1021.3mb)
Visibility 10.00 mi
Greetings from Vermont, the Green Mountain State. My name is Liz Harrington and I live in Cambridge, VT. Cambridge is a small town at the foot of Mount Mansfield, our state’s tallest mountain with a peak of 4395 feet (1340 meters). Ok, the Green Mountains aren’t as big as the Rockies, but they provide us with recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty. We love them. I am a science teacher at Essex High School in Essex Junction, VT. Currently I am teaching Earth Science and Forensics. I also help teach a Belize Field Study class.
My teaching career has worked out perfectly for me. After graduating from UConn with an Animal Science degree, I married and raised four wonderful children. As they grew, I returned to school to earn my teacher certification in secondary science education. When my youngest went to kindergarten, I began teaching part time at Essex High School. I had the best of both worlds. It was during these first few years of teaching that I heard about NOAA’s Teacher at Sea (TAS) program. I immediately knew I wanted to be involved in the program, but it required being a full time teacher. A few years ago my teaching became full time. I applied to TAS, was accepted and will be aboard the NOAA ship Oregon II this summer. I’m thrilled!
I have always had a close connection with the ocean as I grew up on the shore of southeastern Connecticut. I spent many hours swimming off the docks or climbing out onto the rocks to crab. I also did lots of fishing and boating, but I took the ocean for granted. I didn’t realize how much I would miss it when I moved away. I am fortunate that my parents still live at the shore and my children have had the opportunity to create their own ocean experiences. And it is always an amazing sight to see their Vermont friends encounter the sounds, smells, textures and activities of the ocean for the first time!
The Belize Field Study class has a culminating ten day trip to Belize. The first four days are spent exploring the coral reefs and learning more about issues concerning the reef. Some of the students snorkel and some of them scuba dive, but either way they are able to explore the underwater world. Here, again, I am able to bring students to the ocean and I love to see their excitement, interest and concern. The ocean’s fate will soon be in their generation’s hands and these personal connections make a difference.
Science and Technology Log:
The Oregon II is a NOAA ship which supports the programs of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The ship conducts studies at various times of the year on organisms such as ground fish, sharks, plankton, reef fish and marine mammals. I will be joining a Shark/Red Snapper Bottom Longline Survey. We will be sailing from Mayport, Florida and spending two weeks in the Gulf of Mexico. The trip will end in the home port of Pascagoula, Mississippi. I am honored at having been chosen as a Teacher at Sea. I can’t wait to be working with the scientists and crew aboard the Oregon II and participating in real scientific research. I’m also looking forward to sharing my experiences with my students and bringing new topics into the classroom. Through this trip I’m hoping they can make connections to the ocean as well. I’ll be sharing my adventures a few times a week with this blog. I hope you will follow along.