NOAA 2001-R811
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani


Students at Guajome Park Academy in Vista, Calif., may learn about marine science in an exciting new way this upcoming school year through the eyes and perceptions of teacher Jennifer Richards, who is participating in the Teacher at Sea program of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Richards, who teaches earth science and math, is going aboard the NOAA oceanographic research ship Ronald H. Brown for five weeks beginning Sept. 5 to take part in the Eastern Pacific Climate mission. She will participate in the science being conducted on the ship, write weekly lesson plans, maintain a daily log, take photographs, interview scientists, and engage in a dialogue on the special EPIC Teacher At Sea Web site.

"I am so thrilled to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have an adventure at sea and to bring a unique and exciting curriculum to my students," Richards said.

The enthusiasm for learning generated between teachers and students is the biggest payoff of NOAA's Teacher at Sea program, where teachers from kindergarten through college go aboard NOAA hydrographic, oceanographic and fisheries research vessels to work under the tutelage of scientists and crew. Now in its 11th year, the program has enabled more than 325 teachers to gain first hand experience in science at sea. Teachers can enrich their classroom curricula with a depth of understanding made possible by living and working side-by-side, day and night, with those who contribute to the world's body of scientific knowledge.

"The Teacher at Sea program has been extremely successful for several reasons," said Rear Admiral Evelyn Fields, NOAA Corps, director of the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which administers the program. "It addresses the strong desire of teachers to gain ‘real world' experience to bring back to their classrooms and to update their skills in scientific research. It also provides NOAA with eager and talented volunteers for their field projects. In addition, by giving teachers an up-close view of the fascinating world of marine science, we hope they'll pass along their enthusiasm to students and spark enough interest to bring NOAA new recruits down the road. It's a win-win situation."

Applicants are rated by a review panel on how they intend to incorporate their experiences into their classroom curricula. They must also submit an article for publication or conduct a presentation at an educators' conference for colleagues.

Successful applicants can choose from research or survey missions on 13 participating ships ranging from one week to several months on the East, West or Gulf coasts. Although the program is free, participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the ship.

Teacher at Sea is administered by the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations at its Marine Operations Center-Pacific in Seattle, Wash. OMAO is responsible for operating, managing and maintaining NOAA's fleet of research and survey ships and aircraft, and is composed both of civilians and officers of the NOAA Commissioned Corps, the nation's seventh and smallest uniformed service.

Ronald H. Brown, which begins the EPIC mission in San Diego, is homeported in Charleston, S.C.

For more information about the Teacher at Sea program, please visit: