High School Marine Science Sympoisum a resounding success
For the past thirty years, the Massachusetts Marine Educators (MME) have put on a grand conference-style symposium for high school students, which has been taking place at UMass Dartmouth for many years. Last year, they decided to create two separate events, one in southern Massachusetts and one in the North Shore, to accommodate even more students.
The NU Marine Science Center Outreach Program teamed up with MME to create a fantastic experience for students at the second North Shore High School Marine Science Symposium, which was held on March 20, 2014 at Endicott College. The event involved 20 presenters and 200 high school students from around the region, including eight faculty, staff, and graduate student presenters from the Marine Science Center and a team of teens from the Beach Sisters program, a collaboration between the NU Marine Science Center and Girls Inc. of Lynn.
The day started off with a bang with a live video-chat with Bob Farrell, the station manager at Palmer Station in Antarctica. We were lucky enough to see Bob outside of the building, with dramatic glaciers, icebergs, and islands behind him – a place most of us will only ever see on a screen. Moderated by NU Professor Bill Detrich, Bob answered questions about his job, the scenery, and the challenges of daily living and logistics in such an isolated location.
Next, the students broke down into smaller groups for two back-to-back workshop sessions. With 14 different presentations to choose from, students were able to sample a variety of marine science related topics from many different organizations: squid dissection (Maritime Gloucester), climate change (NU Marine Science Center, Girls Inc; NEAq), food webs (NU Marine Science Center), underwater TV production (Jonathan Bird Productions), drifters and currents (NERACOOS and Swampscott High School), sea-floor drilling (R/V Joides Resolution), aging fish (MA Division of Marine Fisheries), and much more.
The day ended with a second keynote presentation made by Alan Palm the Alliance for Climate Education. This organization gives an exciting and inspiring program encouraging students to break down barriers and work to individually make a difference now with regard to our changing climate.
Based on teacher feedback, the event was great success, thanks to the many volunteers whose collaborative spirit and energy was well spent. Special thanks to Endicott College for hosting the event. The planning team is already looking forward to what next year has to bring.
[PHOTOS: TOP – Professor Brian Helmuth and Research Technician Francis Choi present to students about remote sensing on the rocky shore. MIDDLE – Research Technician Dr. Isaac Westfield, leads a demonstration on ocean acidification. BOTTOM – Graduate student Marissa McMahan talks to students about food webs.]