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Teachers on the Estuary Get a Marine Debris Experience

JUNE 17, 2019 — On June 5 and 6, the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) hosted their annual Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) workshop at the Weeks Bay NERR in Baldwin County, Alabama.

Two people watch a presentation on a screen.
MDP Regional Coordinator Caitlin Wessel teaches Alabama teachers about marine debris issues facing the Gulf. Image credit: Angela Underwood, Weeks Bay NERR.

This research and field-based training program improves teachers’ understanding of the environment using local research and promotes the stewardship of watersheds and estuaries. This year the workshop was dedicated to exploring estuaries and the challenges of sea level rise and marine debris. Caitlin Wessel, Gulf of Mexico Regional Coordinator for the MDP, taught 15 educators about different types of marine debris that impact the Gulf Coast and the NERR provided teachers with supplies to take marine debris activities back to their classroom. The field event included a visit to the site of an MDP Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant project, where the NERR recently removed 6 derelict vessels and replanted the marsh. The teachers paddled out to the site, conducted a plankton tow, and processed the sample by picking through to identify plankton, algae, and microplastics.

For more information, contact Caitlin.Wessel@noaa.gov.  

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