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Presenting Cooperative Research and Community Education

Photo: WHOI Sea Grant educator Grace Simpkins and Marine Extension team member Abigail Archer, holding a model of a floating oyster cage, which, she says, is "a much easier way of showing people what oyster growing gear looks like than lugging around the real thing!"

When the organizers of the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative (NEOSEC) Ocean Literacy Summit put out a call for speakers to co-present at this year’s meeting, WHOI Sea Grant Educator Grace Simpkins and Marine Extension Lead Abigail Archer immediately put their hats in the ring. The organizers wanted to highlight educators who work with researchers and others, to communicate about ocean literacy principles.

Grace and Abigail’s talk focused on two principles: “The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems” and “The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.” As examples of these principles, they highlighted the WHOI Sea Grant marine extension team’s shellfish aquaculture research and their extension work with shellfish growers. They showed how as an educator, Grace brings awareness to the research through teaching activities like the shellfish matching game of sustainably harvested shellfish species on Cape Cod and “OA in a cup,” an activity that asks participants blow through a straw into a cup of water to demonstrates how carbon dioxide makes sea water more acidic. She demonstrated the activities for the Summit participants, who clearly enjoyed themselves while learning something new! All these efforts help promote sustainable use of our coastal resources and reinforce the many different and important ways in which humans and the ocean are connected.

WHOI Sea Grant advisory board member Cheryl Milliken, a Falmouth High School teacher, presented a poster at the Summit highlighting a project called "Visualizing Sea Level Rise on Cape Cod," for which she worked with Grace and coastal extension team member Shannon Hulst.

You can learn more about all the Summit presentations and posters on the NEOSEC website.