Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: An Adventure on the High Seas Awaits! August 4, 2022

Lea esta publicación en español: Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: ¡Una aventura en alta mar me espera!, 4 de agosto de 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago

NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada

August 12 – August 25, 2022

Mission: Pacific Hake Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Coastal Washington

Date: August 4, 2022

Introduction

A close-up photo of Michael in front of a Puerto Rican flag. He's wearing a straw hat, sunglasses, and a backpack.
Greetings from Puerto Rico!

Greetings to all from Isabela, Puerto Rico! I am so glad you are joining me on this journey on the high seas. My name is Michael Gutiérrez Santiago and, in a week, I will be aboard the NOAA Bell M. Shimada in an expedition with NOAA scientists on the Pacific Hake Survey. I will travel to Washington, which is approximately 10 hours to begin this journey. I hope you will join and be a part of this expedition with me.

I am very happy and grateful to be part of this experience. I remember in 2019 that I learned about the Teacher at Sea program, I was amazed that educators could have the opportunity to be on an expedition on the high seas with NOAA scientists and crew members. Without hesitation I applied and was accepted in 2020. As you all know COVID-19 put the world on pause, but after two years here we are, ready to board!

Living in Puerto Rico made me fall in love with the beaches, forests, caves, rivers along with its flora and fauna. That is why I decided to do a Bachelor Degree on Environmental Sciences, to learn more about what surrounds us and how to conserve it. This passion for the environment has led me to share my knowledge with people around me and I realized that there is no better way to conserve our environmental resources than through education. Therefore, I decided to get certified as a high school science teacher.

close-up view of a hand holding a sea star underwater
Starfish in Mosquito Pier, Vieques P.R.

My early beginnings

At the beginning of 2017 I joined the EcoExploratorio: Science Museums of Puerto Rico, where I was an informal educator teaching science and and environmental conservation to the entire Island. It was here that I learned how to be an educator, I had the opportunity host workshops, webinars and be part of other exhibitions. The EcoExploratorio receives an annual visit of 300,000 people, having the opportunity to educate about what surrounds us and how to conserve it. On the other hand, the EcoExploratorio focuses on preparing for atmospheric events such as hurricanes and natural events such as earthquakes.

I am currently a 12th grade Environmental Science teacher at the Abelardo Martínez Otero School in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. This year we managed to carry out various activities, laboratories, and experiments thanks to the excellent quality of students I had. Despite the limitations we had due to COVID-19, these students gave their best, thus having an excellent Environmental Science class.

this is a collage of four panoramic photos of different classes of students standing outside, all holding up or trying to hold up a long black balloon
Solar energy laboratory with solar balloon

Science on the high seas

My time at sea will be in the Pacific Ocean, aboard the NOAA Bell M. Shimada in the second leg of the Pacific Hake Survey where I will be working and learning from chief scientist Beth Phillips, biologist at NOAA Fisheries, and rest of the research team. Some of my goals on this expedition are to share what I am going to learn on this expedition with you via blogs, provide vital data to help manage the migratory coastal population of Pacific hake, conduct an Inter-Vessel Calibration with Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir John Franklin in coordination with DFO scientists to ensure data is comparable in 2023 and can be combined for population assessment, collect water and plankton samples at the Newport Hydrographic Line, euphausiid sampling , collecting oceanographic data, and collecting broadband acoustic data.

For me it is an honor and a privilege to be part of the Teacher at Sea program. Being able to be part of this expedition is a dream come true. I will put all my efforts to make Puerto Rico, my family, teachers, students, and the Teacher at Sea program proud. I would love for you to be part of this expedition; my blogs will be in English and Spanish to reach all of you. It would be great to send your questions or let me know what has caught your attention the most.

Let the adventure begin!