Presentation Abstract

The Ocean Research College Academy, an interdisciplinary, two year program at Everett Community College, has been utilizing the Salish Sea as a classroom for the past 16 years. Through embedded localized research in an estuary, enrolled 11th and 12th grade students conduct original research on the State of Possession Sound (SOPS) Project. This project is the backbone of the first year curriculum, where 60 students work collaboratively asking questions and gathering water quality data about the local estuary. Students analyze and interpret complex datasets that include temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, chlorophyll concentrations, and turbidity coupled with tidal influence. As these parameters drive the biodiversity of plankton, seabirds and marine mammals, the students collect longitudinal data on these indicators. Students co-author papers and present their findings at the annual Possession Sound Student Showcase and Talks, an event developed to share this research with the local community and at scientific conferences like the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. Large leaps forward in the breadth and depth of research happened eight years ago, catalyzed by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Initiative that included partnerships and financial support. Three additional NSF grants also support the undergraduate research efforts at ORCA. These grants/partnerships support individualized student projects during the second year of the program. A recent NSF-GEOPATHS grant provided a REU-type summer experience (Research Experience for Undergraduates), supporting student manipulation of big data sets, connections to professionals, and connecting students to the biogeochemical processes of the estuary. The ORCA example represents opportunities for engaging students not only in applicable research, but also increasing their awareness of the Salish Sea as a system.

Session Title

Trans Boundary K-12 Salish Sea Currricula

Conference Track

Education, Community & Social Science

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2020 : Online)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

2020_abstractID_5531

Start Date

21-4-2020 9:00 AM

End Date

22-4-2020 4:45 PM

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Language

English

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Apr 21st, 9:00 AM Apr 22nd, 4:45 PM

Engaging High School Juniors and Seniors at the Ocean Research College Academy as Researchers in a two year study of an estuary in the Salish Sea

The Ocean Research College Academy, an interdisciplinary, two year program at Everett Community College, has been utilizing the Salish Sea as a classroom for the past 16 years. Through embedded localized research in an estuary, enrolled 11th and 12th grade students conduct original research on the State of Possession Sound (SOPS) Project. This project is the backbone of the first year curriculum, where 60 students work collaboratively asking questions and gathering water quality data about the local estuary. Students analyze and interpret complex datasets that include temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, chlorophyll concentrations, and turbidity coupled with tidal influence. As these parameters drive the biodiversity of plankton, seabirds and marine mammals, the students collect longitudinal data on these indicators. Students co-author papers and present their findings at the annual Possession Sound Student Showcase and Talks, an event developed to share this research with the local community and at scientific conferences like the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. Large leaps forward in the breadth and depth of research happened eight years ago, catalyzed by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Initiative that included partnerships and financial support. Three additional NSF grants also support the undergraduate research efforts at ORCA. These grants/partnerships support individualized student projects during the second year of the program. A recent NSF-GEOPATHS grant provided a REU-type summer experience (Research Experience for Undergraduates), supporting student manipulation of big data sets, connections to professionals, and connecting students to the biogeochemical processes of the estuary. The ORCA example represents opportunities for engaging students not only in applicable research, but also increasing their awareness of the Salish Sea as a system.