An Empowering and Rewarding Environmental Science Experience
by Anita Brown, Program Officer
“We often talk about biodiversity, species interaction, and community service, but cannot replicate it in the class. This field trip allows such experiences to happen. Authentic work in citizen science is empowering and rewarding.” – Joseph Senn, Oakland Technical High School Science Teacher
Joseph Senn, a science teacher at Oakland Technical High School, used his grant to have his students participate in the statewide LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) program, a hands-on environmental monitoring and education program connecting over 5,000 students to the ocean and knowledge of marine environments and species each year.
Through this program, students use real-life tools and methods used by field scientists as well as an online data entry system to archive, view, and analyze results over time. “This program was developed to monitor the ocean and coastal ecosystems of California’s national marine sanctuaries to increase awareness and stewardship of these important areas.” Additionally, the valuable scientific data that is collected by students is made available to researchers, natural resource managers, and policy makers.
In the fall, Mr. Senn’s students at Oakland Technical High School took a bus to Ocean Beach in San Francisco to measure the biomass of sand crabs, and they input their data to the citizen science database. “Students enjoyed the trip, learned about ecosystems, applied scientific sampling procedure, and experienced the wonders of our community. I am sure most will remember it the rest of their lives. And this is all thanks your support,” said Mr. Senn. Furthermore, the students’ research will inform the work of real scientists, which is empowering.
PVF is proud to support students’ environmental education in this way.