Sunday, November 4, 2012

SMORE is back for another year of discovery and challenge. The new school year brings new classrooms of students and new teachers together. Teacher Matt Conforti and his students from Barrow High School join SMORE AK. Coincidentally, his 9th grade students were last years 8th graders working with teacher Deb Greene. Sadly, Deb is unable to work with us this year, but will continue as a mentor to Matt. We look forward to working with Matt and his students in the Arctic!

Texas Teacher Lollie Garay is back with new back with a new group of middle school students to carry on the work. Actually, she has five students who worked alongside the 8th graders last year doing the freshwater sampling on the upper watershed. This year they'll work the Trinity Bay area all the way down to the Bolivar Peninsula. They are preparing for our first sampling to be done on Oct. 5.

Of course I am back in the classroom our high school students from Bradwell Institute and at this writing have already completed our fall sampling! Also Mrs. Lindsey Martin's class will be joining us in our sampling this year from Bradwell. Read about it soon in my blog. I have also recruited fifth grade teacher Becky Busby from Frank Long Elementary to work with my students and am in a local sampling collaboration. We are excited to have them and look forward to reading more about them!

For anyone reading this blog for the first time, there's history on how SMORE (Students Monitoring Ocean Response to Eutrophication) began in the archived blogs for 2011. Just click on the archived section on the right hand side!

I hope you'll continue to check in and read the blogs posted by our teams in Alaska, Texas and Georgia ( links are on the right hand side of this blog page). I've also provided links to webpages for the research scientists working with us on this ocean science project: Dr. Tish Yager, University of Georgia at Athens, and Dr. Marc Frischer, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

Back soon with a report on our first sampling !!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Welcome to GA SMORE!

   A research-based project  that partners middle and high school classrooms with researchers Dr. Patricia (Tish) Yager (University of Georgia at Athens) and Dr. Marc Frischer (Skidaway Institute of Oceanography) to monitor and compare human impact on biogeochemical interactions in coastal waters. Eutrophication, the pollution of water caused by excessive nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, impacts watersheds and in turn upsets the balance of marine microbial communities when freshwater meets the ocean.

   Project Manager Lollie Garay and her students at Redd Middle School (Houston, TX) will team up with  Joy McCook's high school students at the Bradwell Institute (Hinesville, GA), and Deb Greene’s students at Eben Hopson Middle School (Barrow, Alaska) to conduct the sampling and reporting.  So, what do students in coastal Texas, Georgia, and Alaska all have in common? They’re all part of the same ocean!

   Working in their own unique coastal environments, students from three distinct cultures will be actively engaged in sample and data collection to monitor nutrient loads in freshwater sources and in coastal estuaries. They will share their data and results with each other and with mentor scientists to develop an understanding of locale specific impacts on the global ocean.

   By learning about their local watersheds and coastal oceans, conceptual understanding of the intricate relationship between us and the global ocean is strengthened, as well as the understanding of how all Earth systems interact. Moreover, it immerses students in ocean science topics that are traditionally underrepresented in classroom curricula, such as the oceanic carbon, nitrogen and biological cycles. Through SMORE, students will experience the process of authentic research and gain new knowledge about people and science in unique parts of the country.

   The idea for SMORE was born out of Lollie’s efforts to integrate Dr. Yager’s research on critical biogeochemical cycles into classroom curricula and educational outreach.  Lollie and Dr. Yager teamed up after they met on an international PolarTREC Antarctic expedition in 2007 ( Later she joined her in the mid-Atlantic as a member of the ANACONDAS team (  This year she worked with the Arctic Nitro team in Barrow where she also met Dr. Frischer. You’ll learn more about their research and the participating classrooms as the project unfolds!

   Throughout the SMORE project, students, teachers and mentor scientists will post blogs and podcasts to share their experiences. You’ll be able to access their sites at . The project is funded through a 2011 Toyota Tapestry Award in Environmental Science.

   SMORE creates a platform for transforming abstract climate change debate into a learning experience that looks at human impact on global change from a different view- the ocean!

   Join us on the adventure :)