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

Grants for Informal/Nonformal Science Education: FY10

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Overview of Funding Announcement

In January 2010, NOAA's Office of Education (OEd) issued a request for applications to support projects to engage the public in educational activities that leverage NOAA assets to improve understanding and stewardship of the local and global environment. Funded projects use emerging and/or advanced technologies to (1) facilitate outdoor experiences involving scientific inquiry and exploration of the natural world apart from formal K-12 curricula and (2) visualize, display, and interpret data to improve understanding and provide a systems perspective of Earth's dynamic processes. The funding opportunity had two priorities: priority 1 was for large-scale projects (2-5 years in duration) with regional to national implementation, while priority 2 was for small-scale projects (1-3 years in duration) with local to regional implementation.

Awards

The awards, which total over $8 million, support projects that enhance museum exhibits using data visualization, expand citizen science networks using emerging technologies, develop family programs for underserved/underrepresented audiences, and enhance teen environmental education programs. A total of seventeen institutions received awards to support thirteen unique projects.

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

Priority 1:

Project Title

PI/Institution

Total Project Funding*

Summary

Interpretation of Real-Time Weather and Climate Data for Spherical Displays (collaborative project) Steven Ackerman, University of Wisconsin $1,001,637

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Interpretation of Real-Time Weather and Climate Data for Spherical Displays (collaborative project) Phillip Arkin, University of Maryland $158,250

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The Worldviews Network: Ecological Literacy Programming for Digital Planetariums and Beyond (collaborative project) Ka Chun Yu, Denver Museum of Nature and Science $939,674

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The Worldviews Network: Ecological Literacy Programming for Digital Planetariums and Beyond (collaborative project) Healy Hamilton, California Academy of Sciences $311,847
CoCoRaHS: Capitalizing on Technological Advancements to Expand Environmental Literacy through a successful Citizen Science Network Chris Kummerow and Nolan Doesken, Colorado State University $1,252,392

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Exploring Earth Systems: Expanding Data Visualization Experiences for Museum Learners Vivian Trakinski, American Museum of Natural History $826,112

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Priority 2:

Project Title

PI/Institution

Total Project Funding*

Summary

Science on a Sphere and Flood Forums: Education to Action Catherine Brandes, Nurture Nature Center $341,274
Engaging ESL adult and youth learners in technologically facilitated outdoor experiential learning to improve environmental, ocean, climate and English literacy (collaborative project) Peter Tuddenham, College of Exploration $200,000
Engaging ESL adult and youth learners in technologically facilitated outdoor experiential learning to improve environmental, ocean, climate and English literacy (collaborative project) Mary Casanova, Literacy Volunteers of America $201,715
Families by the Seaside: Building community-based outdoor ocean science learning experiences Wendy Lull, Seacoast Science Center $489,574
Science on a Sphere--Earth Systems Display Center at Science Museum of Virginia Richard Conti, Science Museum of Virginia $295,948
Planet Earth Decision Theater Patrick Hamilton, Science Museum of Minnesota $501,581
Hurricanes and Climate Change: Local Impacts and Global Systems Jennifer Santer, Miami Science Museum $501,220
Teen Conservation Leadership Rita Bell, Monterey Bay Aquarium $451,581
Raindrop: an innovative educational toolkit for river awareness Timothy Carter, Butler University $258,622
Embedding NOAA in a Public Learning Laboratory - The Environmental Scientist-In-Residence Program at the Exploratorium Mary Miller, Exploratorium $519,756

*Excludes matching funds, but includes other support not provided through the award

 

 

Title: Interpretation of Real-Time Weather and Climate Data for Spherical Displays (collaborative project)
Institutions: University of Wisconsin, University of Maryland
PIs: Steven Ackerman, Phillip Arkin
Summary: The overarching goal of this informal education project is to utilize the Science on a Sphere (SOS) Network to enable meaningful interpretation of real-time weather and climate data by museum docents and visitors viewing SOS exhibits nationwide.

To achieve this goal we will:

  • Generate and provide real-time NOAA weather, climate and ocean data to the SOS Network along with appropriate training for docents
  • Provide annotation to SOS displays via an XML script ("playlist") generator that will allow docents to display the daily analysis text on a screen with the imagery.
  • Provide data interpretation summaries, data discussions and concise talking points on a regularly updated blog.

This project will be implemented by a collaborative team of two weather and climate centers of NOAA/NESDIS: the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) and Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS), in association with the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory (EVL), the I.M. Systems Group (IMSG), and the Maryland Science Center.

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Title: The Worldviews Network: Ecological Literacy Programming for Digital Planetariums and Beyond (collaborative project)
Institutions: Denver Museum of Nature and Science, California Academy of Sciences, University of Louisville
PIs: Ka Chun Yu, Healy Hamilton, Rachel Connolly
Summary: The Worldviews Network - a collaboration of institutions that have pioneered Earth systems research, education and evaluation methods - is creating innovative approaches for engaging the American public in dialogues about human-induced global changes. Leveraging the power of immersive scientific visualization environments at informal science centers across the US, we are developing transformative educational processes that integrate the benefits of visual thinking, systems thinking, and design thinking. This "seeing, knowing, doing" approach empowers educators with tools and techniques that help audiences to visualize, comprehend, and address complex issues from a whole-systems perspective. The Worldviews Network will make explicit the interconnections of Earth’s life support systems across time and space as well as inspire community participation in design processes by providing real-world examples of successful projects that are increasing the healthy functioning of regional and global ecosystems.

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Title: CoCoRaHS: Capitalizing on Technological Advancements to Expand Environmental Literacy through a successful Citizen Science Network
Institution: Colorado State University
PI: Chris Kummerow, Nolan Doesken
Summary: CoCoRaHS (The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network) is a citizen science program where thousands of volunteers across the entire country measure and report the amount of precipitation that falls each day in their own neighborhood. In the next three years CoCoRaHS will use strategies from the "Citizen Science Toolkit" and align activities to the "Essential Principles to Climate Science" to engage thousands more participants in collecting, reporting and exploring precipitation. Evapotranspiration measurements will be added to better teach and demonstrate the hydrologic cycle in action. Through strong NOAA partnerships with the National Weather Service, the National Climatic Data Center, the Earth Systems Research Lab and the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center, precipitation data quality and accessibility for professional users will be enhanced. The CoCoRaHS network will be constructing training, data entry and visualization tools utilizing Web 2.0 concepts, cyberlearning tools and hand-held device applications with a goal of increasing participation and expanding the current volunteer network into broader, younger, more diverse and more interactive audiences.

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Title: Exploring Earth Systems: Expanding Data Visualization Experiences for Museum Learners
Institution: American Museum of Natural History
PI: Vivian Trakinski
Summary: The American Museum of Natural History, in association with several NOAA entities, will be creating a suite of media products employing visualization of Earth-observation data as well as associated professional development programs to expand educational experiences in informal science institutions nationwide. Interactive versions of the visualizations will also be disseminated via the AMNH website. Visualization assets will be distributed to NOAA for utilization on climate.gov and Science on a Sphere. The creation of training programs and educational materials for informal education professionals will enhance the experience and efficacy of the data visualizations as tools to understand and build stewardship of Earth systems.

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Title: Science on a Sphere and Flood Forums: Education to Action
Institution: Nurture Nature Center
PI: Catherine Brandes
Summary: The Nurture Nature Center (NNC) in Easton, PA, a joint project of the multi-state Nurture Nature Foundation and NNC, Inc., will install a Science on a Sphere and develop a new SOS module about climate and flooding.

Working with the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown, PA, and science advisers from NOAA and research universities, NNC will use existing SOS datasets, as well as new data formats, to create a docent-guided program that explains the connections between climate patterns and flooding. The Flood Forums: Education to Action program will engage audiences in deliberative forum programming to promote public understanding of the atmospheric, oceanic, and other climatic factors affecting flooding in some regional communities.

Project deliverables include a program on climate change and flooding for SOS users; the same program calibrated for Magic Planet users; Forum models on issues related to climate change and flooding; project and evaluation reports; and training materials for SOS network members and other informal educators.

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Title: Engaging ESL Adult and Youth Learners in Technologically Facilitated Outdoor Experiential Learning to Improve Environmental, Ocean, Climate and English Literacy
Institutions: Literacy Volunteers of America, The College of Exploration
PIs: Mary Casanova, Literacy Volunteers of America; Peter Tuddenham, The College of Exploration
Summary: Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA) - Monroe County, Inc. and The College of Exploration will develop and implement a pilot project to meet the requirements of Priority 2 of this funding opportunity. The project will target traditionally under-represented ethnic groups who are limited English proficient-- many reading and writing in English at the grade 0 - grade 5.5 level. The project goals are for learners of English as a Second Language (ESL) to use digital photo cameras, digital video cameras, waterproof underwater HD cameras and GPS technologies to geo-locate, explore, observe, record, display and tell stories in English both in words, photos and short HD video  clip sequences (two to five minutes).  Stories will be about the exploration of places like the National Marine Sanctuaries and other areas of the country and coasts where there are scientific observation and monitoring opportunities created and supported by the NOAA partners in this proposal.

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Title: Families by the Seaside: Building community-based outdoor ocean science learning experiences
Institution: Seacoast Science Center
PI: Wendy Lull
Summary: This 2-year program will advance the way informal ocean science education institutions reach underserved/underrepresented families by facilitating and formalizing relationships between informal science education centers and community based organizations. Project teams in five New England communities will collaborate to create a practicable, outdoor ocean-science learning experience specifically designed for families in their shared service area.
Building on a needs assessment produced through target-audience focus groups, the program will combine coastal field experiences with web-based interactive and participatory learning activities developed and tested by the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL; www.eol.org/) and the Northeast Regional Association for Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) to support in-field and ongoing learning. Science content will be informed and vetted by NOAA research scientists and work between the science centers and community organizations will be professionally facilitated. Formats and effectiveness will be evaluated by external evaluators and revised throughout the project.

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Title: Science on a Sphere--Earth Systems Display Center at Science Museum of Virginia
Institution: Science Museum of Virginia
PI: Richard Conti
Summary: The Science Museum of Virginia has assembled a unique team of federal, state, and private institutions to create The Earth System Display Center based on the Science on a Sphere (SOS) platform. The goal of the Center is to capture the visitor's attention and spur interest in climate change literacy and how impacts on a local scale can have an aggregate effect globally. Of particular significance are a docent training program to stimulate and facilitate visitor interaction with the Sphere through dialogue, and formative and summative evaluation of the impact of docent led Sphere experiences with the general public. SOS will anchor a new data display center for examining global impacts of energy consumption, stormwater management, agriculture practices, and climate change - tying together Earth system themes from four major projects now underway at the Science Museum in Richmond, Virginia. Use of NOAA data sets and the Sphere as a dynamic presentation tools coupled with flatscreens will enable the conveyance of local and statewide trends and issues into a compelling global context. NOAA partners in the Chesapeake Bay Office will support docent training, advise on uses for NOAA data visualizations, and suggest ways to tie NOAA data sets into the Museum's existing and future programs. Science on a Sphere will serve as an iconic centerpiece in the Museum's overall interpretive program and a catalyst for meaningful visitor-docent interaction and community learning.

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Title: Planet Earth Decision Theater
Institution: Science Museum of Minnesota
PI: Patrick Hamilton
Summary: Through the Planet Earth Decision Theater project, the Science Museum of Minnesota and its partners will upgrade the museum’s current SOS exhibit with new SOS learning experiences, produce for the SOS community a new SOS film about the role of humans as the dominant agents of global change and two new presenter-led SOS programs based on the film with one version utilizing an audience feedback mechanism called iClickers. SMM also will complement its Planet Earth Decision Theater and the Maryland Science Center’s SOS exhibit with the addition of Rain Table (a new interactive scientific visualization platform) at both locations to further reinforce the Anthropocene messages of the new SOS film and programs. SMM will conduct extensive evaluations of the new SOS film, programs and Rain Tables. SMM’s partners on this project include the NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab, University of Minnesota's National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics, University of Minnesota's Antarctic Geospatial Information Center, University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, Maryland Science Center, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Institute for Learning Innovation, George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at University of Illinois-Chicago.

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Title: Hurricanes and Climate Change: Local Impacts and Global Systems
Institution: Miami Science Museum
PI: Jennifer Santer
Summary: The Miami Science Museum, in collaboration with Ideum and the Institute for Learning Innovation, will design and develop an interactive multiuser exhibit that allows visitors to explore the global dimensions and local impacts of climate change. The exhibit will raise public understanding about the underlying science, the human causes, and the potential impacts of climate change by combining the attraction of a 4-foot spherical display with a user-controlled interface that lets visitors control the sphere and choose from a range of global and local content they wish to explore. A particular focus will be on climate-related impacts on coastal communities, including the dangers posed by rising sea level and the possibility of more intense hurricanes. The project will emphasize engagement of diverse, multigenerational audiences through development of an interface that is fully bilingual and that promotes social interaction. The open-source learning module will be adaptable by other museums, to explore climate impacts specific to their region.

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Title: Teen Conservation Leadership
Institution: Monterey Bay Aquarium
PI: Rita Bell
Summary: Teen Conservation Leadership is a major integration and expansion of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's existing teen education programs (Student Oceanography Club, Young Women in Science and Student Guides). We plan to expand and enhance these programs through the following activities:

- Service-Learning and Leadership Activities, including:

  • Guest Service Track: professional development and training as interpreters
  • Camp and Club Track: serving as a mentor for other participants
  • Program Track: assisting in the delivery of programs

- Conservation and Science Activities, including participating in and leading projects with local organizations, and participating in technologically facilitated outdoor learning experiences

- Teen Network and Technology Activities, including onsite networking and information sharing through Web 2.0 technology

We expect to reach 930 teens. Each teen will provide 200 service-learning hours per year. The sequential nature of this project will encourage many teens to participate for multiple years.

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Title: Raindrop: an innovative educational tool for river awareness
Institution: Butler University
PI: Timothy Carter
Summary: This project will create a new educational tool for river awareness in the United States through a mobile device application called Raindrop. Raindrop traces the flow of water from the user's home location to a downstream watershed location. Raindrop is part of a larger installation named FLOW (Can You See the River?), which joins the cognitive power of science with the affective power of the arts by creating virtual and physical spaces for river awareness in the White River watershed in Indianapolis, IN. In addition to the flow path, Raindrop functionality includes watershed context and physical marker mapping, flow path water quality indicators, utilization of NOAA weather feeds and alerts, weather and climate comparisons, storm event size implications, and guidance on watershed restoration actions. Artist-designed physical markers are strategically located in the watershed to direct the virtual user to physical areas of interest.

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Title: Embedding NOAA in a Public Learning Laboratory - The Environmental Scientist-In-Residence Program at the Exploratorium
Institution: Exploratorium
PI: Mary Miller
Summary: The Environmental Scientist-in-Residence Program will leverage NOAA’s scientific assets and personnel by combining them with the creativity and educational knowledge of the pioneer hands-on science center. To do this, the program will embed NOAA scientists in a public education laboratory at the Exploratorium. Working closely with youth Explainers, exhibit developers, and Web and interactive media producers at the Exploratorium, NOAA scientists will share instruments, data, and their professional expertise with a variety of public audiences inside the museum and on the Web. At the same time the scientists will gain valuable skills in informal science communication and education. Through cutting-edge iPad displays, screen-based visualizations, data-enriched maps and sensor displays, and innovative interactions with visitors on the museum floor, this learning laboratory will enable NOAA scientists and Exploratorium staff to investigate new hands-on techniques for engaging the public in NOAA’s environmental research and monitoring efforts.

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