Shoals Marine Lab is known for immersive field education—Did you know this includes teaching the teachers? Training teachers is a wonderful way to engage and recruit students into science fields at early ages.
This summer Angela Brown, a counselor at Hampton Academy in Hampton NH, participated in the week-long Marine Science for Teachers workshop. This program (generously supported by the state of New Hampshire) is offered to New Hampshire grade 5-12 teachers and trains them on strategies to integrate marine ecology and sustainability into curriculums and school activities. As an ocean enthusiast and beachcomber, Angela was excited to be involved in a hands-on class devoted to marine science. Before her week on Appledore, Angela had already opened her students’ eyes to the marine world. She had shared with them several interactive resources including Ocearch (where they even picked a shark named Oscar to track!) as well as NautilusLive. Angela’s desire to spark students’ curiosity even more lead her to enroll in the SML workshop.
During the week she was able to delve into some of the topics that she enjoys the most. Her favorite part of the class was the experiential learning, in which teachers became students once again. Some of these amazing experiences included whale watching off the Isles of Shoals, observing the behavior of gulls, and listening to the “Rock Talks” featuring scientists such as Dr. Stephen W. Kress sharing his work on puffins.
After a week on Appledore, Angela was prepared with a wealth of knowledge to kick off the school year. Plastic pollution is extremely problematic in the marine ecosystem and with Angela’s guidance, the students at Hampton Academy have been busy taking action. Through the work of Angela and three passionate and devoted students, the school has implemented a “skip the straw” campaign and has completely eliminated the use of plastic utensils. Although the group leading this effort was small in number, they championed an important change in their school and are even encouraging other local schools to do the same. As Angela always emphasizes with students, it only takes a few people to make a difference, which is exactly what she and her students have done—and will continue to do!