Susan Dee: A Thalassophile, May 7, 2018

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Susan Dee

Aboard NOAA Henry B. Bigelow

May 23- June 7, 2018

Mission:  Spring Ecosystem Monitoring Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise:  Northeastern Coast U.S.

Date: May 7, 2018

Personal Log

If I was to describe myself in one word it would be a thalassophile- a lover of the sea. So when I got accepted to the NOAA Teacher at Sea program, I was totally overwhelmed with excitement. What a great adventure!  From my younger days boating on Long Island Sound in NY to the present day boating on the waterways  around Hilton Head, SC, I have always been drawn to the sea.

Susan on a boat in salt marsh
Me in my Happy Place

In college, I studied biology and education and first taught middle school science.  Then slowly over the years, my passion for the ocean evolved into teaching Environmental Studies and then to teaching Marine Science.  Not being a native southerner, I  took many professional development classes to learn about the unique lowcountry local marine ecosystem along the coastline of South Carolina. The county I now live in, Beaufort County, is 50% saltwater tidal marsh and borders on the Atlantic Ocean.  The marine ecosystem plays a large role in the community.  I presently teach at May River High School, in Bluffton, SC, and appropriately the mascot is a SHARK!   Because we live in a marine environment, teaching students about their sense of place is extremely important. Student take part in numerous field trips directly exploring the local ecosystem – visits to maritime centers, beaches and kayaking on the rivers.   In teaching Marine Science, my goal is to instill in my students knowledge of and love and respect for their beautiful home marine environment.

Lowcountry, SC
Lowcountry, SC
Bluffton, SC Oyster Factory Park
Bluffton, SC Oyster Factory Park

I am a single mother of two adult daughters and their visits include many adventures on the water. Volunteering in local beach /river cleanups and recycling programs is important to me.  After listening to citizens concerns about the local environment, I am so proud to live in a county that recently implemented a plastic bag ban in all grocery stores beginning in October. Being an activist in local environmental causes is important to me.

Kids in Kayaks Program
Kids in Kayaks Program
River Clean Up
River Clean Up
Susan's Daughters on river
Daughters , Alyssa (center) and Deirdre (right), on river at Christmas

I am so excited to partake on this TAS adventure, to work with real scientists, gathering real data, to bring back to my classroom .  Aboard the Henry B. Bigelow, a NOAA state of the art research vessel, I will work along scientists collecting data on the hydrographic, planktonic and pelagic components of the northeast Atlantic.  In two weeks, my journey into the Northern Atlantic Ocean will begin! Leaving 9 days before the end of school, my students will end of year test and graduate without me present. But we will be connected as they follow my experience at sea through the wonders of technology!


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