The Reserve’s Professional Teacher Development (PTD) programs focus on our coastal environments and local estuaries, encompassing watershed concepts that influence and impact areas across the state and region. The NERRS ‘Teachers on the Estuary’ (TOTE) program is a system-wide initiative designed for formal and informal educators that includes field-based learning and vetted, classroom-ready activities and incorporates National Estuarine Research Reserve’s Estuary Education Program resources (coast.noaa.gov/estuaries). Our TOTE workshops focus on estuary education and ocean literacy concepts. The program includes a15 hour contact minimum for trainings, and pre and post evaluations of participants.
Since 2009, our ‘STEAM Team’ of environmental educators, skilled instructors from the classroom, and professional artists and writers have worked to offer teacher opportunities to enhance confidence in incorporating creative art and writing skills in their science, math and English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms. To date, over 130 local and regional teachers have participated in professional development activities with the SC NERRS and partners.
In June 2018, ACE Basin and Sea Grant cohosted a ‘Data on the Estuary’ (“DOTE”) workshop in the ACE Basin and Edisto Environmental Learning Center with design and construction of basic observation buoys, water quality monitoring units, and data collection and visualization incorporating a suite of NOAA and NERRS resources, including the NERRS System Wide Monitoring Program and its real time and archived water quality data from across the 29 reserves, maintained by the Centralized Data Management Office (CDMO).
In July 2018, NIWB staff offered the first advanced training for STEAM alumni, and were excited to have twelve past participants from various years attend with the goal of further enhancing their skills, reconnecting with like-minded educators, and discovering new resources to take back to their classrooms. Highlights of the workshop included a morning birding session, the opportunity for teachers to observe and learn oil painting techniques in real time with Mary Edna Fraser in an impromptu afternoon “paint-in” session, and an ‘Art Walk’ for our alumni teachers to showcase their students’ work incorporating knowledge and skills acquired from previous STEAM trainings.
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