NOAA 2005-R808
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NOAA News Releases 2005
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Mary Cook, an eighth grade science teacher from Southside Middle School in Batesville, Ark., was the guest of honor at a reception sponsored by Representative Marion Berry (D-AR) yesterday evening, which was held to acknowledge Cook’s role as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Teacher at Sea. At the reception, Cook also received the NOAA Environmental Hero award for co-authoring the first NOAA Teacher at Sea children’s book.

Principal Joe Franks and students from Southside Middle School attended the event.

According to Rear Admiral Samuel P. De Bow Jr., NOAA, “I saw first hand how Ms. Cook’s experience aboard NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown directly benefited her students’ education. In March I visited Southside Middle School to meet her students and saw their tremendous enthusiasm for the sciences. Many of them have never been on board a ship or ever seen an ocean, so Ms. Cook’s voyage on Ronald H. Brown and the book she wrote about her experiences will help bring science alive for them.”

De Bow is director of NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations, which administers the NOAA Teacher at Sea program.

Cook sailed aboard NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown last December as part of the NOAA program, which provides opportunities for teachers of all grade levels to gain hands-on research experience. While on board, Cook teamed up with fellow Teacher at Sea Diane Stanitski and co-authored the NOAA Teacher at Sea children’s book. The book was illustrated by the ship’s chief boatswain, Bruce Cowden.

The hard-cover book covers the oceanic and atmospheric research that was conducted onboard the ship, including NOAA's new "Adopt a Drifter" (a drifter is a buoy) program, and deployment of a tsunami buoy off Chile just days before a giant tsunami decimated several Indian Ocean nations. It is written at the middle school science level and was reviewed and edited by middle school science teachers and scientists. Its content includes science and math activities, a glossary of terms and full-color images.

At the reception, Cook and Stanitski also received the NOAA Environmental Hero award for their work on the book. Established in 1995 to commemorate the 26th anniversary of Earth Day, the Environmental Hero award is presented to individuals and organizations that volunteer their time and energy to help NOAA carry out its mission.

In a letter presented to Cook at the reception, retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, wrote, “On behalf of the 12,500 men and women working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, I am pleased to present you with this 2005 Environmental Hero award. Your dedicated efforts and outstanding accomplishments greatly benefit the environment and make our nation a better place for all Americans.”

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 the NOAA Teacher at Sea program, please visit