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The Marine Debris Program Empowers Teachers at a Weeks Bay NERR Workshop
Group of people working together.
Educators learn how to use density separation to sample for microplastics. Image credit: Weeks Bay NERR.
Group of people listening to someone speak on a beach.
Educators learning how to sample for microplastics and conduct shoreline monitoring for marine debris. Image credit: Weeks Bay NERR.

JUNE 15, 2018 — On June 6 and 7, the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve hosted its annual Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) workshop at the Weeks Bay NERR in Baldwin County, Alabama.

This research and field-based training program improves the teachers’ understanding of the environment using local research and promotes the stewardship of watersheds and estuaries. This year the workshop was dedicated to learning about challenges to estuaries, including marine debris. Caitlin Wessel, Gulf of Mexico Regional Coordinator for the Marine Debris Program, taught approximately 20 educators about different types of marine debris that impact the Gulf Coast, and the NERR provided teachers with supplies to take various marine debris activities back to their classroom. The teachers were also taken on a demo field trip to sample for microplastics in the water and sediments of Weeks Bay and learn how to use various applications for shoreline monitoring. They were encouraged to bring their classes back for future sampling!

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