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NOAA OED - ELG FY2009 Ocean Education Awardees
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Environmental Literacy Grants Program

Ocean Education Grants for AZA Aquariums: FY09

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Overview of Funding Announcement

In May 2009, NOAA's Office of Education (OEd) issued a request for applications to support education projects designed to engage the public in activities that increase ocean and/or climate literacy and the adoption of a stewardship ethic. Funded projects were required to be between one and five years in duration and support ocean education projects led by eligible applicants. Eligible applicants were 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that are either (1) aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) or (2) have a legally sanctioned affiliation with an AZA-accredited aquarium. Organizations that did not meet these eligibility criteria were allowed to be partners on projects with the eligible applicant as the lead institution.

Awards

The awards, which total over nine million dollars, support education projects designed to engage the public in activities that increase ocean and/or climate literacy and the adoption of a stewardship ethic. They support projects that involve: community outreach, citizen science, civic engagement, social networking, media campaigns, professional development for educators, interpretative training, building networks of aquariums, high level data visualization systems, and live video feeds.

The awards are summarized below. For more information regarding specific awards, please contact the Office of Education Grants Team.

Project Title

PI/Institution

Full Amount Awarded

Summary

Aquarium of the Pacific's Ocean Science Center

Jerry Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific

$1,086,936

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Climate Change and the Ocean: Awareness to Action Cynthia Vernon, Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation $913,593

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A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating about Climate Change (collaborative project)

Cynthia Vernon, Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation

$503,563

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A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating about Climate Change (collaborative project)

Nancy Hotchkiss, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Inc.

$484,751
A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating about Climate Change (collaborative project) William Spitzer, New England Aquarium Corporation $504,726
Summer Science in New England: Ocean Education through Informal Science Centers William Spitzer, New England Aquarium Corporation $342,232

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Using Marine Mammals to Communicate Solutions to Ocean Issues Peggy Sloan, North Carolina Aquarium Society $581,391

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Exploring Inner Space: Linking Aquariums with Ocean Scientists Dwight Coleman,Sea Research Foundation (in association with Mystic Aquarium) $1,799,964

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Shedd-NOAA Partnership for Student, Teacher and Public Engagement Christian Greer, Shedd Aquarium Society $1,100,000
Connecting Tennessee to the World Ocean George Bartnik,Tennessee Aquarium $1,352,253
Climate Change Community Outreach Initiative Debbi Stone, The Florida Aquarium, Inc. $628,419

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Title: Aquarium of the Pacific's Ocean Science Center
Institution: Aquarium of the Pacific
PIs: Jerry Schubel
Summary: The Aquarium of the Pacific proposes to create an immersive exhibit for exploring the roles of the ocean in climate change and its responses under different scenarios. The center of the experience is NOAA's Science On a Sphere (SOS), a proven platform for displaying a rich variety of earth system datasets that reveal global and large scale region processes and phenomena that are easily grasped by the general public. Combining SOS with a system of linked plasma screens allows additional local and regional stories that bring global messages down to a more personal level. Two programs will be developed initially: (1) the manifestations of climate change on coastal communities, and (2) the manifestations of climate change on marine ecosystems and fisheries. Both will explore how the vulnerability of these systems can be reduced and their resiliency enhanced through mitigation and adaptation. All programs also will be on the web.

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Title: Climate Change and the Ocean: Awareness to Action
Institution: Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation
PIs: Cynthia Vernon
Summary: As part of our on-going commitment to engage, inform, and inspire visitors around issues of critical importance to ocean conservation, the Monterey Bay Aquarium will open the nation's first live aquatic animal exhibition on climate change and the ocean in March 2010. We are planning a comprehensive and integrated suite of associated informal educational activities, designed to extend the exhibit experience and allow visitors to explore this critically important topic in more depth during their visit and after leaving the Aquarium. Over the course of three years, this initiative will reach more than 4.5 million people and: - raise public awareness about the connection between climate change and ocean health; - demonstrate that public actions do have an impact on climate change (and therefore ocean health); and - encourage meaningful action to address climate change.

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Title: A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating about Climate Change (collaborative project)
Institution: Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation
PIs: Cynthia Vernon
Summary: This collaboration led by three major national aquariums Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq will develop a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean. Over three years, we will increase climate literacy among informal science educators by: 1) creating a national network for training, resource sharing and support; 2) developing climate change activity carts to support exhibit interpretation; 3) providing training for youth interpreters; and 4) hosting regional and national summits to strengthen collaboration and showcase and disseminate model programs Outcomes for educators will include increased knowledge of climate change science; knowledge of strategies, tools and materials for educating about climate change; and confidence in their ability to communicate about climate change.

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Title: A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating about Climate Change (collaborative project)
Institution: National Aquarium in Baltimore, Inc.
PIs: Nancy Hotchkiss
Summary: This collaboration led by three major national aquariums Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq will develop a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean. Over three years, we will increase climate literacy among informal science educators by: 1) creating a national network for training, resource sharing and support; 2) developing climate change activity carts to support exhibit interpretation; 3) providing training for youth interpreters; and 4) hosting regional and national summits to strengthen collaboration and showcase and disseminate model programs Outcomes for educators will include increased knowledge of climate change science; knowledge of strategies, tools and materials for educating about climate change; and confidence in their ability to communicate about climate change.

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Title: A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating about Climate Change (collaborative project)
Institution: New England Aquarium Corporation
PIs: William Spitzer
Summary: This collaboration led by three major national aquariums Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq will develop a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean. Over three years, we will increase climate literacy among informal science educators by: 1) creating a national network for training, resource sharing and support; 2) developing climate change activity carts to support exhibit interpretation; 3) providing training for youth interpreters; and 4) hosting regional and national summits to strengthen collaboration and showcase and disseminate model programs Outcomes for educators will include increased knowledge of climate change science; knowledge of strategies, tools and materials for educating about climate change; and confidence in their ability to communicate about climate change.

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Title: Summer Science in New England: Ocean Education through Informal Science Centers
Institution: New England Aquarium Corporation
PIs: William Spitzer
Summary: The Summer Science in New England project establishes a regional network of summer camp programs grounded in ocean science. In year one, six institutions - New England Aquarium, Northeastern University's Marine Science Center, University of Rhode Island's Alton Jones Camp, the University of Connecticut's Project Oceanology, the Seacoast Science Center in NH, and the Marine Environmental Research Institute in Maine - will work alongside research scientists to engage campers, ages 14 and up, in near-shore biodiversity monitoring. In years two and three, the number of partners will increase to 10, then 12. The project provides a citizen science experience across a wide geographical area, supports and trains informal science center staff to incorporate citizen science while using environmental literacy principles with teens, and offers opportunities for all participants to share findings with peers at annual forums. Thomas Trott, PhD, of Suffolk University will serve as science advisor and RMC Research Corporation will complete evaluation.

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Title: Using Marine Mammals to Communicate Solutions to Ocean Issues
Institution: North Carolina Aquarium Society
PIs: Peggy Sloan
Summary: Using marine mammals to illustrate impacts of climate change on ocean health the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, along with the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, will create a comprehensive, innovative, and engaging approach to inspire ocean stewardship among young people. Through professional development, integration of advanced technology, and targeted presentations to under served audiences this project serves to build connections between marine mammals, ocean health, climate change, and people. Materials created for this project will be sustained past the life of this grant through permanent exhibitory at the Aquarium and Museum. The North Carolina Aquarium Society (a non-profit organization) is organized to develop, encourage, and promote public awareness and appreciation for North Carolina's coastal, natural and cultural heritage; to serve as a philanthropic society for the support, maintenance of programs, and development of facilities of the North Carolina Aquariums, and to solicit, hold, invest, and expend funds for such purposes; and to render assistance as requested by the North Carolina Aquariums.

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Title: Exploring Inner Space: Linking Aquariums with Ocean Scientists
Institution: Sea Research Foundation (in association with Mystic Aquarium)
PIs: Dwight Coleman
Summary: The program proposed here is a pilot project and collaborative effort to develop partnerships and educational programming using state of the art technology. The project partnership is comprised of a leading ocean science research and education institution, the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography and its new state of the art Inner Space Center (ISC), two strong national ocean science education networks: the National Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Network and NOAA's Office of Exploration and Research (NOAA-OER) Education Alliance. In addition, two partner sites will serve as proof of concept sites and education hubs - Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration (CT) and South Carolina Aquarium (SC), both affiliated with COSEE, the Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center Network (CELC), and NOAA-OER. Through this initiative, the ISC will install new Exploration Command Stations (ECSs) and enhance Ocean Today kiosks at the partner sites, strategically selected aquariums. Through this pilot project, the ECSs and kiosks (modeled after the original Ocean Today kiosk in the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History new Sant Ocean Hall) will form an Ocean Interpretive Station at the partner sites. The ISC will provide live links from the Center's facilities to the newly installed ECSs and kiosks using feeds from various remote Ocean Exploration platforms, including the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and the exploration vessel, E/V Nautilus. The project's Content Development Team (CDT) will develop associated educational materials for use in public programs at the partner sites.

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Title: Shedd-NOAA Partnership for Student, Teacher and Public Engagement
Institution: Shedd Aquarium Society
PIs: Christian Greer
Summary: Shedd Aquarium is recommending a large-scale effort to address the long-standing need to better connect citizens in the Great Lakes region to their local Great Lakes watershed, to engage them in making positive changes to help the ecosystem, and to engage decision-makers and leaders to enact large scale change to improve the ecosystem over the long term. Shedd will position itself strategically, over the next two years, as the regional hub for Great Lakes education and behavior change by promoting Great Lakes civic engagement. Shedd Aquarium's Center for the Great Lakes will bring scientists, business and government leaders, visionaries, and Great Lakes citizens together to formalize a strategic framework for increasing Great Lakes literacy and fostering Great Lakes stewardship. With the help of leading organizations: NOAA, COSEE Great Lakes, and members of the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition, a new vision for the Great Lakes region will be created. This civic engagement project will produce needed outcomes: increasing Great Lakes literacy while promoting policies of sustainability that ultimately will support the adoption of a stewardship ethic among our target audiences in the Midwest. Our effort will empower citizens and civic entities to be critical thinkers who fully participate in the advancement of a sustainable society.

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Title: Connecting Tennessee to the World Ocean
Institution: Tennessee Aquarium
PIs: George Bartnik
Summary: Located more than 300 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the Tennessee Aquarium concentrates its educational efforts on an inland region of the country where ocean stewardship is not always a priority. Speaking to an audience often left untouched by nationally-recognized conservation programming, the Aquarium connects its audience to the world ocean through the Tennessee River, its watershed and its outlet to the greater ocean at the Gulf of Mexico. The Aquarium, through a unique project called Connecting Tennessee to the World Ocean, will advance both its own strategic plan and NOAA's mission to understand and predict changes in Earth's environment and to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet out nation's economic, social and environmental needs.

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Title: Climate Change Community Outreach Initiative
Institution: The Florida Aquarium, Inc.
PIs: Debbi Stone
Summary: To promote ocean and climate change literacy that addresses the needs of the Gulf of Mexico region, six aquariums based on the Gulf will partner to educate the communities on both risks and ways to contribute locally to sustainability. The aquariums will combine community outreach programs, stewardship promotion, social networking and workshops for non-formal educators to reach broad audiences throughout the Gulf in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mexico. Each partner will develop content that emphasizes local ecosystems and consequences of climate change, tailoring stewardship activities to address them. Over five years, the aquariums will reach out to diverse audiences in their communities, which have populations that total over five million people. With evaluated programs, exhibit and website in place, the partners will be able to continue building stewardship and educating their communities after the grant ends.

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