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A team of five students and their teacher from Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, N.H., has won the “Name NOAA’s New Ship” contest. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) selected the entry “Bigelow” for a 208-foot fisheries survey vessel that is currently under construction in Mississippi. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The contest, created to encourage interest in scientific studies, was open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade in the six New England states.
“This contest was designed to encourage students to learn more about marine and coastal science in their region as well as NOAA,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The team produced an innovative project that will encourage others to learn and supported their choice of ship name. NOAA benefits from their hard work and research honoring a distinguished oceanographer. They have played a part in NOAA’s history.”
Lautenbacher commended U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) for his work on this project.
“The ship will help NOAA provide excellent data to our scientists to assess the health of fisheries populations that sustain livelihoods. NOAA is grateful for the support of Senator Gregg in obtaining funding for the vessel,” Lautenbacher said.
Mrs. Judd Gregg will be the sponsor of the new ship. Her name will be welded on the keel plate at a ceremony on May 21, and she will christen the ship when it is launched next year.
For their project, the students created a learning tool to teach the players about NOAA, Dr. Henry B. Bigelow and his work in the Gulf of Maine. It involves Web-based research that will give students background on these topics and an educational game.
“We have developed a fun and interesting way to teach children about NOAA and our coastal waters. Hopefully, our game will inspire more people to get involved with and take care of our productive Gulf of Maine. With a bit of luck, players will want to know more about preserving the many creatures inhabiting the gulf and get drawn into the fascinating world of ocean research,” wrote teacher/team coordinator Catherine Silver in the project description.
The team of 11th grade students led by Catherine Silver includes Maddie Dillon, Crystal Lamott, Carrie McEwen, Crystal Syvinski and Max Del Viscio.
The name "Rachel Carson," submitted by the Ecology Club of Falmouth High School in Falmouth, Mass., was chosen as the second place winner.
NOAA will name the ship Henry B. Bigelow, using the full name in accordance with agency tradition. Dr. Henry Bryant Bigelow was a renowned oceanographer who worked as a researcher, instructor and professor of zoology at Harvard from 1906 to 1962, and who founded Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1931. He transformed the Gulf of Maine from a scientific unknown to one of the most thoroughly studied large bodies of water in the world. In doing so, he developed the interdisciplinary, ecosystem-oriented approach that characterizes modern oceanography.
The members of the Winnacunnet team with the selected entry will attend the ship’s keel laying ceremony on May 21, and will be invited to the commissioning ceremony in 2006. This spring the students will tour one of NOAA’s research and educational facilities in New England that includes laboratories, national marine reserves and a national marine sanctuary. Winnacunnet High School will be given a duplicate keel plate from the ship that bears its new name. Additionally, the school will receive a visit from the NOAA administrator and an officer of the NOAA Corps, who will address environmental stewardship and the role students can play in protecting the ecosystems.
The NOAA ship Henry B. Bigelow is the second of four new fisheries survey vessels being constructed for NOAA at VT Halter Marine Inc. in Moss Point, Miss., and will replace the 43-year-old Albatross IV in New England when completed in 2006. It will support NOAA research primarily in the northeastern United States, and play a key role in conservation and management of fisheries and marine ecosystems.
NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations operates, manages and maintains the NOAA fleet of research and survey ships and aircraft. NMAO is composed of civilians and commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps, the nation’s seventh and smallest uniformed service. NOAA Corps officers – all scientists or engineers – provide NOAA with an important blend of operational, management and technical skills that support NOAA’s mission at sea, in the air and ashore. To learn more about NMAO and the NOAA Corps, please visit http://www.nmao.noaa.gov.
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