NOAA Teacher at Sea
(Soon to be aboard) NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
April 19 – May 1, 2014
Mission: Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Southeast Regional Ecosystem Assessment
Geographical Area of Cruise: Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS)
Date: April 11, 2014
Hello. My name is Jamie Morris. I grew up on a Dairy Farm in Wisconsin. Beyond a love for animals and an appreciation for where our food comes from, I learned many lessons from the farm. I have always had a great love of nature and respect for the environment. Life on the farm has taught me how interconnected we are to all parts of the planet.
Growing up over a thousand miles from the ocean, I was never exposed to marine life. I knew about freshwater from the time I spent on the lake fishing and boating with my grandfather, but I had no idea all the wonders that the ocean has to offer. All that changed when I was in sixth grade. My English and Science teachers assigned us a project to research a marine animal. We were given a list of animals to choose from. I read through the list and being the farm girl that I am, I chose the seacow. I assumed I would like that animal since it had COW in its name. I learned that the seacow was actually the manatee. I fell in love with the manatee and that simple report sparked my interest in the ocean.
After falling in love with the manatee, I wanted to learn more about the oceans. I researched on my own, read books, and even attended Marine Science camps during the summers. I did not have the opportunity to see the ocean until I was in High School, but as soon as I saw it, I was drawn in. I knew that I had to study Marine Science. After graduating High School, I moved to Miami, Florida to study at the University of Miami. I was very fortunate to have amazing professors who taught me different aspects of the oceans. My professors and the University of Miami provided me with many field experience opportunities including snorkeling trips to conduct reef fish counts, studying sharks at the Shark Lab in Bimini, and conducting climate change assessments around the Straights of Florida. All these experiences further inspired my love of the ocean.
Even though I truly love the ocean, I realized my passion was for teaching. I enjoy working with students and teaching them how to apply the knowledge that they have and how to think for themselves. It is very important to teach students how to analyze the world around them and to become problem solvers. I strive to inspire my students and to ignite their curiosity in science. I am a Science Teacher at Miami Palmetto Senior High School. This is my ninth school year teaching. I am currently teaching Marine Science to 175 wonderful students. I am very lucky to have a job where I can combine my two loves – the ocean and teaching. This course allows me to introduce the students to the wonders of the oceans. I especially enjoy teaching my students about conservation issues. I like to teach my students how our actions here on land can directly impact the oceans. I also like to teach them ways we can help the oceans and I hope to inspire them to make changes to help improve not only the oceans, but all parts of our planet.
I am completely honored to be a NOAA Teacher at Sea. I am so excited to embark on this adventure. I know that the experiences I will gain will enhance my lessons and will allow me to inspire my students while providing insight into some of the current research projects in the oceans. I am a strong believer that we should never stop learning. I know that this is going to be the ultimate learning experience and will be an experience of a lifetime. I cannot wait to begin this adventure and be able to share it with my family, all my students, and anyone reading this blog.
I will be sailing on the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster and will be assessing the health of the Gray’s Reef Marine Sanctuary. Gray’s Reef Marine Sanctuary is a marine protected area off the coast of Georgia. The research will involve investigating fish and invertebrate abundance and distribution, habitat and human impacts, and invasive species.
As my students were counting down the days until Spring Break and now the days until graduation, I have been counting down the days until I set sail. My excitement and anticipation are sky high. One week! All I have left to do is pack.