Year 2 of Teachers on the Estuary in Wells
Fifteen middle and high school teachers, hailing from Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Florida, and Kentucky, attended the Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) workshop July 11-14 at the Wells Reserve. Due to a generous B-WET (Bay-Watershed Education and Training) grant, the workshop was offered free of charge, including hotel accommodations, most meals, and a variety of educational materials and equipment to use back in the classroom. In addition, each teacher will receive a $100 stipend and $200 to put towards a stewardship project with their students in the fall.
In addition to many other sessions, the TOTE teachers were treated to a presentation on phenology, the study of the timing of life cycle events in plants and animals. During this field experience, they learned about using Picture Posts to document seasonal changes. Many of the teachers now hope to install Picture Posts on their school grounds next year!
On day three of the workshop, the teachers went kayaking on the Webhannet River and conducted water quality tests, while learning about some of the stewardship projects happening at the Reserve.
During another session, Alyson Eberhardt presented her eel research to the group, followed by a trip to the marsh to visit eel habitat. Here, Alyson demonstrates how to use some of her research equipment.
The teachers also spent time indoors, collaborating and exploring the National Estuarine Research Reserve System's educational website, www.estuaries.gov, in addition to a variety of data graphing applications.
In November, the group will reconvene for a follow-up session, when each teacher will present their TOTE lesson plan and stewardship project proposal. This week, Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) in Rhode Island is hosting its TOTE 2011 workshop. Waquoit Bay NERR in Massachusetts will finish up for the season the week of August 8. These three New England Reserves have been partnering on the TOTE program coordination and implementation for the past three years.