NOAA Teacher at Sea
(Almost) aboard NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada
April 28 – May 9, 2016
Mission: CINMS Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Channel Islands, California
Date: April 20, 2016
Stardate 8130: Well, not really, but isn’t that the way all logs should start? My name is Nichia Huxtable and I teach biology at Fillmore High School in beautiful Ventura County. Fillmore is a wonderful small town with a rich agricultural history and a picturesque downtown. The best part about Fillmore, however, is the absolutely amazing students that I have the pleasure of working with every day. They are friendly, curious, polite, and funny, and are the reason why I am participating this NOAA expedition.
So, you ask, how can a teacher participating in a research expedition benefit the students? Are you taking them with you? Ah, good question! No, I am not taking them with me, although they will be joining me in spirit. First, I will need to learn. The mission of this trip is to create high resolution maps of sections of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS). We will be using scientific equipment and techniques that I never even knew existed and I will be interviewing the scientists and crew members to get a better understanding of who they are and what they do. The whole time I will be posting updates and pictures on this very blog, so be sure to check back often!
Second, when I return to Fillmore, I’ll use my newly acquired knowledge to develop classroom lessons that will bring this amazing science back to my students. These lessons will revolve around three learning goals: 1) the ecological importance of marine sanctuaries, 2) methods scientists use to collect, analyze, and share data, and 3) exposure to new career pathways and possibilities. In order to reach as many students as possible, these lessons and activities will also be shared with other teachers in my district and, in fact, any teacher who would like them.
I cannot even explain how excited I am to participate in this research trip! My background is in wildlife biology, so while I have plenty of experience with kangaroo rat and leopard lizard surveys, I am far less familiar with the science of oceanography.
The next time you see me, I will be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean helping to identify what’s under the water surrounding the Channel Islands. See you then!