NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
September 15 – October 2, 2019
Mission: Shark/Red Snapper Longline Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Weather Data from the Bridge
Current Location: Naples, Florida
Latitude: 26° 17’ 45”
Longitude: 81° 34’ 40”
Temperature: 91° F
Wind Speeds: NNE 7 mph
Before I leave on my “Twice in a Lifetime Experience” I thought I’d let you know a little more about me.
In May of 2010, I participated in the NOAA TAS program. The hardest part was leaving my 1 ½ year old son Jonah while I was gone for three weeks. At the time I was teaching science at Key Biscayne K-8 School, which was located on an island off of Miami, Florida. I wanted to have my students experience something new so I chose to go to Alaska aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson. The ship left out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska where the Deadliest Catch is filmed. We spent the days and night doing neuston and bongo tows to study the walleye pollock (imitation crab meat). I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and crew! For more information you can look up my blog in the past season 2010. I applied for the NOAA TAS Alumni position and now I’m happy to say I will be having a “Twice in a Lifetime Experience” with NOAA! This time I will be on NOAA Ship Oregon II where we will be tagging and monitoring sharks and red snappers in the Gulf of Mexico.
I grew up in Louisville, KY where I spent most of my summers boating and skiing on the Ohio River. When I was 10 years old my parents, sister and I got scuba certified. I guess you could say this is when my love for the ocean began! Our first trip was to Grand Cayman and we experienced things underwater that were even more beautiful than books and videos could ever show. I have been back numerous times, but when I went back this past June you can obviously see the changes that are occurring in the ocean and the beaches. I currently volunteer with Rookery Bay Estuarine Reserve and help with turtle patrol, shark tagging, and trawls. The amount of garbage we collect is getting out of control. Teaching the importance of this to my students is one of my top priorities.
I currently teach AICE Marine and Marine Regular at Palmetto Ridge High School in Naples, Florida. For the past 5 years I have grown the program into a class that is not just “inside” the classroom. What better way to learn about marine species and water quality than taking care of your own aquarium? Throughout the school there are 24 aquariums. The tanks include saltwater, fresh water, and brackish water. My students are taught how to properly maintain a tank, checking the water quality and salinity, as well as feeding and caring for their organisms. In addition to the aquariums they have a quarterly enrichment grade that has them getting outside in our environment and learning about the canals, lakes, and ocean that are just miles from us. We work with Keeping Collier Beautiful to do canal cleanups twice a year and they also visit Rookery Bay and the Conservancy for educational lessons. Thanks to the science department at Collier County Public Schools we are also given the opportunity to go out into the estuaries. Rookery Bay and FGCU Vester lab work with us to get the students out on the water to experience the ecology around them. Even though we are only miles from the Gulf of Mexico some students have never been out on a boat. This day trip gives them a hands on learning experience where we complete a trawl and water sampling.
As I leave this weekend I know my students will be in good hands and will be following my blog throughout my journey. The value of what I am going to be sharing with them far outweighs my short time away. My goal is to show them you are never too old to try something new and hopefully my experience will get more students into a career in marine sciences.
Shout outs: First one goes to my son Jonah (11), my parents Bud and Diane for taking care of him while I’m off having the time of my life, my boyfriend Michael who is currently deployed with the Air Force SFS, and his two kids Andrew (17) and Mackenna (10). Thanks for your support. Love and miss you all! <(((><