NERACOOS Education and Outreach
NERACOOS is the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems, the Northeast component of the U.S. Integrate Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and covers the coastal waters of the Canadian Maritime Provinces to the New York Bight. NERACOOS collects and delivers ocean and weather information to support a wide variety of end users including emergency managers, commercial and recreational mariners, weather forecasters, scientists, educators and many more. NERACOOS information supports the development of critical forecasts and warnings including hazardous ocean and weather conditions, harmful algal blooms, coastal inundation and water quality.
Promoting Ocean Literacy
Ocean literacy is an understanding of the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean. An ocean-literate person:
- Understands the essential principles and fundamental concepts about the functioning of the ocean;
- Can communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way; and
- Is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources.
In October 2005, several national organizations (National Geographic Society, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, College of Exploration, and National Marine Educators’ Association) published a list of seven Essential Principles and 44 Fundamental Concepts that currently define Ocean Literacy.
NERACOOS works closely with NEOSEC, the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative, though a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote Ocean Literacy. The Ocean Literacy Principles provide framework to engage people in education and outreach activities related to ocean observing. NERACOOS provides information that helps audiences develop their own understanding of the ocean’s influence on weather and climate, and the relationship between oceans and humans
Utilizing ocean observing information
- The Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH, works with research scientists to create exhibits and programs that teach the general public and school children about marine science. The Seasons of the Sea exhibit encourages visitors to learn about the upwelling, seasonal migration through the Gulf of Maine and about phytoplankton blooms using ocean observing information.
- Earth as System is Essential: Seasons and the Seas (EaSiE) is a three-year project funded by the NOAA Environmental Literacy Program for K-12 Education. The overarching goal of EaSiE is to transform the traditional middle school study of seasons and weather into an exploration of the dynamic interactions between Earth’s land, oceans, atmosphere and living world. Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire middle school teachers are working with the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance and NOAA partners to develop a relevant, unifying systems theme that bridges the gap between existing materials and concepts related to seasonal and climatic changes in the Gulf of Maine. The EaSiE Project has incorporated ocean observing information and the Seasons in the Gulf of Maine lesson into the units available to educators on the project website.
- Researchers with the Gulf of Maine Census of Marine Life use ocean observing data in order to better explain diversity, abundance and distribution of marine life and the relationship to physical parameters, such as temperature and currents in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem.
- Boat Camp, Inc uses buoy data to discuss current conditions, variences in temperature, and the wind's effects on the seas.