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students with whale rib
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Second graders at North Falmouth Elementary School hold a whale rib as NOEPS staff member Grace Simpkins displays a whale vertebra during a classroom lesspon on marine mammals in 2013. Photo courtesy Grace Simpkins, NEFSC/NOAA.
surface drifters made by teachers
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Three of the four surface drifters made by the NOAA Teachers at Sea alumni during the May 2012 workshop at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium before they were deployed from the F/V Kathy Ann. Photo credit: NEFSC/NOAA.
stacey with students and turtle shell
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Ocean Day coordinator Stacey Klimkosky helps students measure a turtle shell, one of the classroom activities with NOAA researcher Heather Haas. Photo credit: Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC/NOAA.
class with drifter
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Truro Central School fifth graders pose with a drifter they built with oceanographer Jim Manning from NEFSC (standing in back) at Ocean Day in April 2014. Photo credit: Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC/NOAA.
Turtle named Pamet
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Ron Smolowitz of Coonamessett Farm Foundation displays a photograph of the second grade class at Truro Center School, while turtle researcher Heather Haas of NEFSC holds some classroom art during a loggerhead turtle tagging project in 2013. The students named the turtle Pamet, the Wampanoag Native American name for the area around Truro on Cape Cod. Haas participated in Ocean Day at TCS in 2014. Photo credit: NEFSC/NOAA.

February 9, 2015
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

NOAA Scientists and Teachers: A Match Made at Sea

For Stacey Klimkosky, a few weeks at sea in 2009 as a NOAA Teacher at Sea has led to on-going partnerships with scientists and staff at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) in Woods Hole. It has also resulted in an opportunity to present lessons learned at the International Teacher-Scientist Partnership Conference Feb. 11-12 in San Francisco.

Klimkosky will be joined by Grace Simpkins, project manager of the NOAA Outreach and Education on Protected Species (NOEPS) program, developed by the NEFSC’s Protected Species Branch at the Woods Hole Laboratory. Both are looking forward to sharing lessons and experiences learned from the successful NOAA Ocean Day program held in April 2014 at Truro Central School on Cape Cod, Mass., where Klimkosky is the librarian and media teacher.

Growing up, Klimkosky spent summers on the Cape exploring marshes, combing beaches and wondering about the ocean. As a NOAA Teacher at Sea she traveled to the Pavlof Islands in Alaska aboard the NOAA Ship Rainier to map uncharted waters with NOAA scientists in the Gulf of Alaska.

Since then, she has continued her involvement in the NOAA Teacher at Sea program, attending a workshop for program alumni at the NEFSC in Woods Hole in 2012 and serving as the New England Teacher at Sea Alumni (NETASA) Coordinator. She also developed ongoing partnerships with NOAA scientists and staff at the NEFSC’s Woods Hole Laboratory. She has co-presented at a national conference and written grants for a school surface current drifter program with fellow NETASA alumni.

Simpkins earned her B.S. from Boston College and her M.S. in marine biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she worked on sea birds and stable isotopes. She started her journey into outreach science by traveling all over Washington State with the Pacific Science Center’s “Science on Wheels” program. She performed assemblies, arranged exhibits, and delivered lessons to hundreds of kindergarten through 6th grade classrooms on topics ranging from the human body to physics. She later taught biology courses at several Seattle area community colleges.

Upon relocating to Massachusetts, she returned to her “roots” by co-developing NOEPS, a kindergarten through fifth grade marine mammal outreach program based on the research being done at the NEFSC’s Protected Species Branch. This program delivers hands-on lessons in area elementary schools to promote protected species awareness and conservation.

At the conference, Simpkins will share NOEPS material and lessons and Klimkosky will speak about the Teacher at Sea program and the New England alumni group as well as her partnerships and collaboration with NEFSC scientists and staff.

Students and staff at Truro Central School (TCS) are currently tracking the drifter constructed by fifth graders during a workshop at Ocean Day with NOAA oceanographer Jim Manning of the NEFSC’s Woods Hole Laboratory.  As of February 9, 2015 it had entered the Gulf Stream and is drifting above the New England Seamounts.  It has been transmitting since late October 2014 and is the third surface current drifter that TCS students have tracked.

The International Teacher-Scientist Partnership Conference is jointly led by the Science and Health Education Partnership of the University of California at San Francisco and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). It precedes the AAAS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, to be held February 12-16.

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