Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Reaches Out to the Community

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The Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (WHCMSC) team reaches a broad spectrum of groups and individuals through a variety of outreach opportunities. WHCMSC staff participate in local, regional, national, international, educational, cultural, and scientific events.

This article is part of the November-December 2017 issue of the Sound Waves newsletter

Student volunteers will have their breath measured for carbon dioxide and methane

Michael Casso, a physical scientist with the gas hydrates group at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, seeks volunteers from Children’s School of Science. The volunteers will have their breath measured for carbon dioxide and methane, greenhouse gases that USGS scientists measure in the ocean. Credit: Dann Blackwood, USGS

Facility Tours

Welcoming the general public to WHCMSC is one example of how we connect, support, and communicate with up-and-coming scientists from elementary school students to post-doctoral candidates. Opportunities to engage with research scientists, tour labs and facilities, participate in demonstrations, and ask questions of subject matter experts are offered to those with an expressed interest in science and scientific research. Tours and specialized demonstrations are available by request and depend upon availability of scientific staff and space. Personnel at WHCMSC also host many meetings, tours, and seminars for the scientific community, educational groups, and institutions.

Keynote speaker at the Sturgis Charter School Science Café

Laura Brothers, marine geologist, was the keynote speaker at the Sturgis Charter School Science Café. Credit: Andrea Babb, USGS

USGS geologist leads a professional-development workshop for science teachers on geologic mapping of the Massachusetts seafloor

USGS geologist Elizabeth Pendleton leads a professional-development workshop for science teachers on geologic mapping of the Massachusetts seafloor. Credit: Andrea Babb, USGS

Charter School Science Cafe

Marine geologist Laura Brothers was the keynote speaker at the Marine Technology for Teachers and Students (MaTTS) Project Spring Science Café at the Sturgis Charter School in Hyannis, Massachusetts (MA). The MaTTS Project focuses on providing opportunities for teachers and students to learn about and experience new technologies related to exploring the ocean and discover pathways to marine careers. Brothers’ talk focused on how the USGS studies the seafloor using geophysical mapping, acoustics, and advanced imaging techniques. There were over 100 students and staff in attendance and Brothers’ talk was very well received. Feedback from Sturgis teachers was very positive and this visit has inspired the Science Club to begin hosting a regular Oceanographic Speakers Series. According to teacher feedback, a few students who stayed to speak with Brothers felt lucky to have a one-on-one chat with her. One of the students is so passionate about sea turtles that she feeds the ones in the science department every day, and has kept careful data about their eating habits and growth. Watching her take the initiative to stay behind and ask Brothers well thought out questions was a big highlight of the day.

Teaching the Teachers!

Geologist and data analyst Elizabeth Pendleton offered an interactive presentation on geologic mapping of the Massachusetts seafloor, sharing data and information on the geologic framework, glacial history, and glacial geomorphology of Massachusetts for approximately 25 teachers and program staff from the National Marine Life Center and the Museum Institute for Teaching Science. Kathy Zagzebski from the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay, MA, in collaboration with the Museum Institute for Teaching Science in Quincy, MA, organized a Professional Development Institute for K-12 educators focusing on exploring earth science and curriculum frameworks in the coastal and marine environment.   In addition to the interactive presentation, Pendelton distributed CDs of USGS Open-File Report 2001-1072, Geophysical and Sampling Data from the Inner Continental Shelf: Duxbury to Hull, Massachusetts, and demonstrated how to download Esri ArcReader in order to display and share data in the classroom. Coincidentally there were teachers from Hull, MA, participating in the workshop and they were thrilled to look at data from their home town. 

The group was particularly interested in a tour of our core lab. Brian Buczkowski, core lab manager, was happy to oblige the teachers. Buczkowski demonstrated how core-sampling techniques are used for analyses and how cores provide a look back through geologic time.

3rd Annual Science Stroll

This August, WHCMSC participated in the 3rd annual Woods Hole Science Stroll. This free, family-friendly event offered participants a variety of opportunities to explore interactive displays, tour a research vessel, take part in science demonstrations, and engage with local scientists from 18 science centers, institutions, and organizations.

The aerial imaging and mapping (AIM) group provided Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) demonstrations to crowds of drone enthusiasts of all ages. The USGS pilot chose “co-pilots” from eager bystanders, walking them through the pre- and post-flight operational and safety checklists. The co-pilots were thrilled to get firsthand experience with a USGS pilot and were fascinated by the real-time flight imagery displayed on the computer screens.

The Seafloor Mapping Group’s SEABed Observation and Sampling System (SEABOSS) was a big hit with the crowd. Navigation specialists provided a live, interactive demonstration of underwater video capabilities in the shallow waters off the wall at Waterfront Park, near the USGS display tent. Geologists and navigation technicians talked about how seafloor sediment sampling, photography, and video are critical components of their operations, and how they use the data from a variety of sources—including the SEABOSS—to conduct research. 

The Sediment Transport Group displayed the Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment Transport (COAWST) Modeling System, to show basic computer modeling operations along with some of COAWST’s common applications. USGS staff demonstrated how the computer models help them understand physical processes such as coastal erosion. Many kids could relate to the idea of models by talking about video games where you have to follow some rules to obtain an objective, similar to how the COAWST modeling system follows the physical laws of waves, ocean currents, sediment movement, and air.

WHCMSC‘s science has global implications and many of its world-renowned scientists relish an invite to present their scientific discoveries at symposiums all around the world. But often, it is the participation in local outreach activities such as those described here that provides the most reward, where USGS scientists can share their knowledge with and give back to their own community.

 

 

 

Brian Buczkowski, manager of the Core Lab, discusses the different types of equipment used in the core lab

Brian Buczkowski, manager of the Core Lab, discusses the different types of equipment used in the core lab. Credit: Andrea Babb, USGS

A drone‘s eye view of the Woods Hole Science Stroll

A drone‘s eye view of the Woods Hole Science Stroll. The green USGS tent has a large cluster of visitors. Credit: Emily Sturdivant, USGS drone pilot, USGS

A USGS drone pilot demonstrates flying an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)

It's a bird? It's a plane? It's a drone! USGS drone pilot Emily Sturdivant (seated) demonstrates flying an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), much to the delight of the onlookers. Credit: Dann Blackwood, USGS

Emily Sturdivant, with the help of her co-pilot, hits the landing target.

Emily Sturdivant, with the help of her co-pilot, hits the landing target. Credit: Dann Blackwood, USGS

Families had fun taking selfies with SEABOSS cameras

Families had fun taking selfies with SEABOSS cameras. Credit: Dann Blackwood, USGS

Group shot of Science Stroll 2017 personnel

Science Stroll dream team: (left) Dann Blackwood, Andrea Toran, Emily Sturdivant, Ellyn Montgomery, Meagan Gonneea, Laura Brothers, Sara Zeigler, Neil Ganju, and Seth Ackerman. Credit: Ivar Babb, University of Connecticut

USGS scientific programmer Tarandeep Kalra talks to children about ocean modeling

USGS scientific programmer Tarandeep Kalra talks to children about ocean modeling. Credit: Dann Blackwood, USGS

USGS research oceanographer Neil Ganju shares a time-lapse video showing salt marsh erosion

USGS research oceanographer Neil Ganju shares a time-lapse video showing salt marsh erosion. Credit: Andrea Babb, USGS

Children measure water salinity to learn about climate warming and how it affects wetlands

Children measure water salinity to learn about climate warming and how it affects wetlands. Credit: Dann Blackwood, USGS

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Date published: December 1, 2017

Sound Waves Newsletter - November-December 2017

Detailed new USGS study of a Hurricane Sandy-created breach at Fire Island, three new oceanographic time-series datasets released, San Clemente Dam removal field trip to the Carmel River for graduate students, WHCMSC participates in a variety of outreach opportunities, USGS scientists participate in annual SACNAS conference, and more in this November-December 2017 issue of Sound Waves....