STEM Hub sends teachers to sea

Newport, OR — Two Oregon educators head out to sea this weekend to take part in a research buoy deployment aimed at learning how changing ocean conditions affect sea life in Pacific Northwest waters.

The deployment, aboard the University of Washington’s R/V Thomas Thompson, takes place over Memorial Day weekend in  NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

Ben Ewing of Lincoln County School District’s Toledo High School and Cindy Bryden from the Haystack Rock Awareness Program are joining others from from Washington state to learn more about oceanographic research addressing critical issues affecting the region’s coastal and inland waters. The teachers plan to incorporate the research and their cruise experiences into their classroom and education programs.

This cruise will deploy a moored buoy system with sensors to monitor ocean and weather conditions off the coast. A Seaglider, an autonomous underwater vehicle, is part of the observing array and will be deployed as well. These instruments are part of a larger observing system known as NEMO (Northwest Enhanced Moored Observatory). While at sea, the team will conduct water and plankton sampling as part of Washington Ocean Acidification Center monitoring for ocean acidification.

Toledo High School teacher Ben Ewing with the SS DolphinEwing will also be deploying the SS Dolphin, a five foot unmanned sailboat built by Sunset Middle School students in Coos Bay. This student-built sailboat is equipped with a GPS unit (Global Positioning System) so Oregon students and the public can track its journey as it rides the wind and currants across Pacific waters.  Funded by the Oregon Coast Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Hub, the SS Dolphin is the second student-built boat to be deployed in the Pacific by research vessels this school year. Plans are underway for Hatfield Marine Science Center researchers to deploy a third student-built boat at the Marianas Trench near Guam in June.

Based at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Oregon Coast STEM Hub is one of six regional STEM Hubs funded by the Oregon Department of Education. With more than 50 active partners, including Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon Coast STEM Hub serves coastal teachers, students and communities along the Oregon coast, connecting them with regional resources and providing world-class STEM experiences.

For more information contact Tracy Crews at

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