Featured Outreach

 

Rutgers University Marine Field Station Outreach

Recently, the Rutgers University Marine Field Station (RUMFS) in Tuckerton, NJ has connected with the public giving them hands-on experience with research, the opportunity to interact with scientists, and teaching them about the estuarine environment.

A continuing education course sponsored through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Rutgers drew participants from throughout New Jersey and even a few from Pennsylvania! This program engaged adults in hands-on activities such as seining and kayaking, and informed them of the history of the field station and surrounding environment.

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Next to visit the field station was the winning team of the Shore Bowl. These students drove all the way from West Windsor, New Jersey to explore the Mullica River – Great Bay Estuary. The students participated in long term sampling of minnow traps in the RUMFS boat basin, an explorative marsh walk, and seine sampling at the end of Great Bay Boulevard.

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Lastly, in early June thirty five Advanced Placement Biology students from the Atlantic County Institute of Technology visited RUMFS. During their time at the station they applied concepts learned in class to help explain observations they made throughout the day. Through hands on experience with a long term seining program, students identified various fishes and crabs, recorded data on these individuals, and gained a much greater appreciation and understanding of the work research scientists undertake as evidenced by the student quotes below:

“Thank you for showing us how real research works. A lot of people talk about research and I picture a sterile lab and scientists in white lab coats and goggles but that’s not all research is. My time at the station helped me realize that I would love to be a part of research during my own experience in school. Thank you for taking the time to show us what you do!”

“Thank you all for helping us out on our trip. I had no idea how much work and effort goes into biology research and have a renewed respect for your occupations. On top of that, thank you for taking your time to help us all learn about the local marine life and giving us a sneak peek on the research process. We are all grateful for your time and effort.”

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Shore Bowl 2017

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Shore Bowl is one of the 25 regional competitions of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. Local high school teams compete head-to-head on rapid memory recall and critical thought questions. Topics cover biology, physics, geology, geography, technology, history, policy, and current events, as related to the oceans. The winning team advances to the NOSB finals.

Shore Bowl 2017 will be held on February 4, 2017, on Cook Campus, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

For more information, contact Jackie Specht, Regional Coordinator, at .


Project Converge

Science Research Context:

converge3Scientists from 5 institutions – Rutgers University, University of Delaware, Oregon State University, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Polar Oceans Research Group – collaborated on a multidisciplinary project between 2013-2016. The team used a field study to investigate the impact of local physical processes on Adélie penguin foraging ecology in the vicinity of Palmer Deep off Anvers Island, Antarctica. The study utilized multiple platforms including remotely sensed surface current maps, an in-water (sub-surface) mooring, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), small boat acoustic surveys, and satellite telemetry of the Adélie penguin to collect data to answer their questions. The data was collected to help the science team determine the distribution of the phytoplankton and zooplankton which influence Adélie penguin foraging ecology to understand how local flows structure the ecosystem.

Education & Public Outreach/Broader Impact Work:

  • converge1Educators from New York and New Jersey were selected for the yearlong collaboration with scientists as part of Project CONVERGE to bring the polar research to middle and high school students. The teachers began preparing in the summer of 2014 with a weeklong workshop at Rutgers University. In January 2015, the teachers and their middle school students participated in a series of live video calls with the scientists in Antarctica, and followed a professional science blog. Following, the students conducted their own ocean science investigations; the top groups from each school presented their results to the science team at the Student Research Symposium at the Liberty Science Center. This project was designed to help students experience and practice the skills of scientists: asking science questions, analyzing and interpreting data, and planning and carrying out science investigations. These are important goals and objectives of the Next Generation Science Standards, which had been newly adopted in New Jersey and were being considered in New York at the time of the project.
  • By partnering with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology we were able to host two hour-long live video broadcasts with ornithologists from the Adélie penguin colony on Torgersen Island. The featured researchers described their research project that was based out of Palmer Research Station, Antarctica, how they were investigating the functioning of the Antarctic ecosystem and how changes in the ecosystem were affecting the Adelie penguin populations. Questions from the participating audience members directed the conversation and information shared.

Audience Reached:

  • 22 Science Teachers from grades 6-9 and their students (~950) participated in the year-long comprehensive partnership with the science team.
  • ~7,000 science-interested members of the general public participated in the 2 hour-long video broadcasts from the penguin colony.

How and Why Project Converge was Successful

converge2These outreach components provided both a deep connection into the content and process of science for almost 1,000 teachers and students as well as connected over 7,000 people throughout the globe to the collaborative research being conducted down at Palmer Research Station in the winter of 2015. The teachers and students felt a part of the research mission and were extremely invested in the scientists’ work and findings. The participants of the live video broadcasts were able witness a live penguin colony and have their questions answered in real time about the birds, ecosystem, and polar research.