NOAA 2000-421
Contact: Brady Phillips

Computers Help Students Bridge Science and Technology

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today that it will donate nine computers, a printer, and a network hub to Watsonville High School, in Watsonville, Calif. The donation, announced by Elgie Holstein, senior advisor to the secretary of commerce, was made through the Computers for Learning Program, which places hundreds of thousands of surplus federal computers in classrooms across the country.

"The students and faculty at Watsonville High School have a history of being committed to the environment," Holstein said. "I was impressed on my last visit to Watsonville by the energy and dedication of these students. It is exciting to help provide them with the tools they need to be the future leaders in marine science."

Mr. Holstein last visited the City of Watsonville last April where he joined Watsonville students in helping kick-off the city's Earth Day celebration, participating in a clean-up of the Pajaro River levee and unveiling a new bilingual stormwater pollution education campaign to benefit the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The nine Dell PCs will help science students as they get more and more hands-on research experience, particularly in monitoring the Pajaro watershed. "We are really excited about getting kids in the field to collect data for watershed assessment," said Gary Martindale, Watsonville High School science teacher. "These computers will help facilitate getting the new watershed monitoring program together. It couldn't have come at a better time."

The data collected by the students will be integrated into a geographic information system. They will present their data at next year's sanctuary student summit, which will focus on water quality monitoring. The data will also help educate help educate residents of the connection between the land and the health of Monterey Bay. "The City of Watsonville Public Works Department is enthusiastic to see a relationship develop between NOAA and the Watsonville High School science department," said Tammy Stolzenthaler, recycling and water education coordinator, City of Watsonville Public Works Department. "The computers donated by NOAA provide Watsonville students with excellent resources to study our local watersheds."

The computers were provided by NOAA's National Ocean Service, which oversees the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. "The National Ocean Service is pleased to be able to provide computers for the Watsonville High School," said Margaret Davidson, acting assistant administrator for NOAA's National Ocean Service. "This is particularly significant to us since the Watsonville students are growing up in the Pajaro watershed, which is one of the most significant watersheds draining into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary -- our nation's largest marine protected area."