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Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani
NOAA News Releases 2003
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See Her Shipboard Broadcasts on the Web!

Students at Na’alehu Elementary and Intermediate School in Na’alehu, Island of Hawaii, may learn about marine science in an exciting new way, through the eyes and perceptions of teacher Nancy Lewis, who is participating in the Teacher at Sea program of the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Lewis teaches special education as part of a partnership between Columbus Educational Services and the Department of Education in Hawaii. She boarded the NOAA oceanographic research ship Ka’imimoana
Sept. 14 in Nuku Hiva, French Marquesas, as the Climate Observation Teacher at Sea for NOAA’s Office of Global Programs. She will work with the scientists on the ship until the ship returns to its home port in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, on Sept. 29. Lewis will also have the opportunity to work with Tom Nolan, an educator from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Jet Propulsion Laboratory who is also participating in the program.

While onboard, Lewis will host Web broadcasts, write lesson plans, maintain a daily log, take photographs, interview scientists, and answer email messages sent to This week’s Web broadcasts can be viewed at Later broadcasts will include interviews with scientists, NOAA Corps officers, and crew.

During the research cruise, NOAA ship Ka’imimoana will service the Tropical Atmosphere and Ocean/TRITON array of 70 buoys in the tropical Pacific. The array is part of a complex climate observation system that is often the harbinger of global climate change–including the earliest indication of approaching El Niño conditions. Observations are central to describing, understanding and predicting the Earth’s climate system.

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 13th year, the program has enabled more than 400 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 NOAA 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 NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations. NMAO 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.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, please visit

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