Oregon Coast Educators and Students Engage in Science at Sea Activities
By Tracy Crews
Educators from Oregon will be taking part in a buoy deployment and research cruise off the Washington Coast to learn about how the changing ocean conditions impact ocean life in the Pacific Northwest. The deployment will occur over the Memorial Day weekend in NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, from the University of Washington research vessel Thomas Thompson.
Ben Ewing of Lincoln County School District and Cindy Bryden from Haystack Rock Awareness Program will join other educators from Washington and use this opportunity to learn more about the oceanographic research that is addressing several critical issues impacting Pacific Northwest coastal and inland waters. Educators will incorporate the research and their own cruise experiences into their classrooms and education programs.
The primary purpose of this cruise is to 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 observing 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.
In addition to supporting the research at sea, Toledo High School teacher Ben Ewing will 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 across the Pacific. 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 Ocean by research vessels this school year. Plans are currently 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 over 50 active partners, 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.
Track the boat online here: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/drifter/drift_ep_2015_1.html (Zoom into the Pacific NW)
Tracy Crews is the Project Manager for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. You can reach her at OregonCoastSTEM@oregonstate.edu.