Today 20 students and 2 teachers from Rockport middle school participated in the first of two field studies to learn first-hand about the local watershed. These studies are part of a 3-year science education project offered by the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center and the Massachusetts Audubon Society with support through NOAA's BWET program.
"We are thrilled to be part of this wonderful project, which will provide an opportunity for students to see how science is applied in the real world," said Kathi Rodrigues, coordinator for NOAA's Northeast Region BWET program. "It will also help students better understand the role of the watershed in supporting important commercial and recreational activities, like fishing which is an integral part of Cape Ann communities."
The Watershed Investigation Project is designed to help 7th grade students and their teachers gain a more complete understanding of the impact of ecosystem stressors such as invasive species and water quality degradation from non-point source pollution on the watershed and what can be done to mitigate and restore ecosystem health.
Focusing on two sites within the watershed, the Saratoga Creek salt marsh in Rockport and the Inner Harbor in Gloucester, students will learn basic observation classification and measuring skills. Data collected by the students will be submitted to databases maintained by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant, Salem Sound Coastwatch and the Massachusetts Audubon Society.
"The students showed great enthusiasm and creativity at the event today at the Inner Harbor in Gloucester where the BWET program is providing students an opportunity to learn essential skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and giving teachers a way to further enhance their professional development. It was encouraging to see the group apply their knowledge through their self-made devices, which collect data that is important to understanding our local ecosystem," said Congressman John Tierney.
"We are grateful to NOAA for supporting this project because it will not only enable students to better understand how science is used in everyday life, but also provide additional skills to science teachers," said Harriet Webster, executive director, Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center. "This is a tremendous opportunity for students to engage in activities focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts while building a device that they can actually use to monitor their local marine environment."
NOAA has committed $66,468 over three years to implement this project. It is one of several projects in New England being funded through NOAA's B-WET program. Since 2008, B-WET has awarded $1.6 million to support watershed-based education for K-12 students in New England. New England B-WET provides students with opportunities to explore their local environments and professional development programs for teachers by supporting outdoor learning experiences and investigative projects that enhance understanding of the interconnectedness of systems that support life, energy needs, the marine environment and water resources and explore the effects of climate change regional watersheds.
For more info about NOAA's New England BWET program please contact Kathi Rodrigues: Kathi.Rodrigues@noaa.gov (978-281-9324), and check our website at http://www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/BWET/. For information about the National B-WET program, please visit: http://www.oesd.noaa.gov/BWET/.
The Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center's mission is to promote Gloucester's maritime heritage as a platform for teaching maritime skills and marine sciences, and for encouraging environmental stewardship. To learn more about us please visit our website http://www.gloucestermaritimecenter.org/
NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/usnoaagov>.