"World Ocean Watch"
Environmental & Educational Marine Science Program
Created By Patxi Pastor, Dr. Barry Rock & Phil Browne
© 2008 All Rights Reserved
Pilot Program To Include: The Miami Beach Public School System,
ECOMB - Environmental Coalition of Miami Beach & Teen Job Corps
The Celebration of the Sea Foundation is pleased to announce the development of the World Ocean Watch (WOW) Environmental and Educational Marine Science Program which will train students from the Miami Beach School System and ultimately around the world to server as ambassadors for our planet's oceans. The program is designed to introduce K-12 students to the important relationships that exist between the marine and terrestrial components of our coasts and foster a greater sense of stewardship towards marine eco-systems and the animals that inhabit them. The principal elements of the program focus on the integration of science as a primary means to develop a wide variety of practical "life skills" while simultaneously building self-esteem and excitement for the learning process among our Nations youth.
The program will additionally feature the involvement of Miami Beach at-risk students through the renowned Teen Job Corp organization developed by Executive Director, Deborah Ruggiero, and the Environmental Coalition of Miami Beach (ECOMB - www.ecomb.org). The innovative program currently empowers these Miami Beach School children to serve as environmental mentors in the community through a unique partnership program developed between Mrs. Ruggiero and ECOMB's Executive Director, Luiz Rodrigues.
The educational template for WOW will be modeled after the nationally acclaimed "Forest Watch Program" which which was developed with NASA (National Aeronautics And Space Administration) Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite data by Dr. Barry Rock, the Director of University of New Hampshire's complex Systems Research Center. Dr. Rock is a former Jet Propulsion Laboratory staff member and an internationally respected scientist in his field of environmental studies and education. Dr. Rock initially piloted the Forest Watch program in Concord High School in New Hampshire with the leadership of Phil Browne, a veteran science teacher in the State's educational system.
As a result of Dr. Rock and Mr. Browne's extraordinary success with The Forest Watch Program over the past decade the program has already been integrated into over 300 science curriculums in schools across the United States and continues to receive millions of dollars of Federal funding by the National Science Foundation.
One of the WOW program's initial investigations will begin with student studies focusing on the health of a native Miami Beach tree species called the Florida Slash Pine.
The Scientific Aspects Of World Ocean Watch (WOW)
WOW will utilize NASA (National Aeronautics And Space Administration) Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite data taken from space of Florida. This imagery will include data about vegetation types and conditions of the state's land cover, sea grass beds in the shallow waters of Florida, the reef system of the Atlantic, and selected inhabitants of marine environments such as marine mammals and fish. Students will be introduced to the concepts of image analysis and data interpretation of the TM images, as well as hands-on ground and sea truth measurement activities designed to provide meaningful data of use to research scientists. The various data processing and field data collection activities will be tied to Florida State Curriculum Standards.
NASA (National Aeronautics And Space Administration) Florida Keys Landsat Thematic Satellite Data
These WOW activities will include:
- Using image processing and Landsat TM data students will compare satellite image data with digital photographs of land-based plants, mangrove stands or other appropriate vegetation from land or from boat using a minus green filter system that allows quantification of blue and red reflectance differences associated with the photosynthetic process. Following this field collection of both digital photo images and actual plant samples, a portion of the plant samples will be sent to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) for analysis. Students will analyze blue and red reflectance in their digital photo images using freeware such as MVH Image, NIH Image and Scion Image to determine the chlorophyll concentration/absorption of the plants in their field study plots and compare these results to those obtained using the UNH Visible InfraRed Intelligent Spectrometer. A strong correlation is expected between brightness values in the red components of the photo and the relative state-of-health of the trees or vegetation photographed. In addition, further lab biometric studies will be carried out on the portion of the plant samples remaining with the students such as leaf length, biomass, water content, visual evidence of damage, and chlorophyll analysis. Research scientists from Florida University as well as State Office programs will be recruited to support the students teams in this ongoing data collection and analysis.
- Fish identification will be developed using and augmenting the database of Florida's current scientific databases. This activity will include snorkeling and SCUBA diving expeditions with student groups at both the middle and high school levels.
- Measuring and monitoring sea grass/hard bottom conditions as a source of data to support a hypothesis such as with an increase in effluent flow containing nitrates and phosphates from the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp into Florida Bay, a subsequent increase will occur in the occurrence of multi cellular algae and a parallel decrease in manatee and sea grass. Students will test such a hypothesis by conducting transect or quadrant studies of incidence of manatee and sea grass over time, coupled with TDS, turbidity, NO3 and PO4, salinity and dissolved oxygen.
- The study of marine animals and their habitats will include behavioral and research studies in which students will be teamed with local scientists, environmentalists researchers, therapists and animal trainers. In addition, students with an interest in behavioral science may be linked with marine mammal staff members for therapy, instruction and support of special needs children. Participating behavioral students will receive college credit for the experience and background educational materials will be developed for use within K-12 levels of the World Ocean Watch curriculum.
By the close of the first year of the pilot program conducted in the Miami Beach Schools, the World Ocean Watch program will intend to reached a minimum of 25 teachers and up to 2,500 students with direct hands-on training workshops in both field and lab experiences.
With each succeeding year, trained World Ocean Watch teachers and their new classes of students will submit new field and lab data in support of the original hypothesis, while newly trained teachers and their students will begin to teach the World Ocean Watch program themselves. This "each one teach one" participation in a real scientific study, linked to simple scientific observation and data collection, reproducible laboratory techniques, as well as sophisticated manipulation and interpretation of satellite and other digital images of the local environment, will increase student understanding of how science works and at the same time stimulate them to modify both their own behaviors as well as that of those around them to preserve and protect their marine environment.
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