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Teachers from New Mexico Schools Converge to Learn about Incorporating Ocean Science into the Classroom

Workshop organized by ABQ BioPark and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Feb. 4, 2019 - The ABQ BioPark recently welcomed 19 educators from New Mexico middle and high schools to participate in a marine science workshop made possible by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This January, teachers from across northwest New Mexico including Shiprock, Newcomb, Navajo, Gallup, Grants, Santa Fe and Albuquerque were in attendance. A majority came from schools that serve largely Native American populations (80-100 percent of students).

During a full-day professional development session in January, educators learned about the importance of ocean exploration, current exploration technologies and recent deep-sea discoveries, and how they can incorporate these topics into the classroom. Specific topics addressed included ocean health, unique underwater habitats, underwater mapping and remotely-operated vehicles are just a few of the topics to be addressed.

“I really enjoyed all the activities that we had today,” one attendee said. “They're all engaging, pretty simple to execute, and the materials needed where were relatively affordable.  I definitely plan to be using some of these activities in my classroom.”

The NOAA Ocean Exploration and Research program seeks to raise awareness of ocean-related issues and STEM education to create a more ocean-literate population. The program aims to foster a new generation of ocean explorers, scientists, engineers and stewards within diverse student populations, including the Native American community.

“The ABQ BioPark’s mission is to discover nature and inspire action," said Pamela Dupzyk, ABQ BioPark Aquarium education coordinator. "We hope this workshop will help New Mexico educators inspire the next generation of ocean explorers.”

The ABQ BioPark is one of 14 facilities in the nation that partners with NOAA for these workshops. This is the fifth year that the ABQ BioPark has participated since 2014. The workshop was funded by a grant from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

The ABQ BioPark will host another free workshop like this one in the fall. It will include breakfast, lunch, a $75 stipend and educational materials.