Robert Chen
Principal Investigator
Alan Friedman
Adrienne Sponberg
Director of Public Affairs and co-editor, Limnology & Oceanography Bulletin
Arthur Eisenkraft
Carol Baldassari
Kristin Uiterwyk
Project Manager
2013 Update
COSEE Ocean Communities in Education and social Networks (OCEAN) uses existing social and professional relationships to strategically engage ocean scientists in education and outreach activities. One route is to offer scientists professional development opportunities at annual American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) meetings and to connect them to COSEE Network activities. With over 4000 members ASLO represents one of the largest communities of ocean scientists, and the partnership between COSEE and ASLO is resulting in a cultural, and therefore sustainable, shift at ASLO with more attention to high quality education and outreach opportunities. “The meetings now are quite evolved from 15-20 years ago; there is a much stronger emphasis on education.” (ASLO Board Member). By collaborating with COSEE centers, experts, and resources, COSEE OCEAN has been involved in full-day broader impacts workshops, lunchtime workshops, a mentoring program, and distribution of 5500 Best of COSEE Hands-On Activities at Aquatic Sciences and Ocean Sciences meetings.

Extending existing working relationships, COSEE OCEAN has adopted the Ocean Science Sequence, a research-based curriculum developed by COSEE CA partner, Lawrence Hall of Science, and implemented the curriculum in both the Milton and Boston Public School districts. This model of district-wide adoption ensures sustainable delivery of state-of-the-art science curriculum and ocean science content to a diverse student population. COSEE OCEAN is continuing to support the implementation of this curriculum with scientist interactions including classroom visits, field trips, and science videos specifically taylored for the curriculum. Over 1300 5th grade students will be learning ocean science each year.

By bringing together a diverse set of blue ribbon experts in informal science education, COSEE OCEAN has worked to create a report entitled “Opportunities for Creating Lifelong Learning of Ocean Science Literacy” that will be published on-line and hopefully introduce ocean scientists to the wonderful and creative world of informal education, a much more open approach to broader impacts than the sometimes constraining formal education arena. The overall approach of COSEE OCEAN is to leverage existing networks and communities, some outside ocean sciences, by strategically investing COSEE OCEAN resources. By supporting the connectivity between people and resources, COSEE OCEAN acts catalytically and in a sustainable fashion.

Following are some of the highlights from the last year, as well as some of our plans for the year ahead.

Inquiry Group Report

Through the New York Hall of Science COSEE OCEAN organized an Inquiry Group that examined the field of Ocean Science Literacy and offered observations about opportunities and needs. Modeled after the Inquiry Groups developed by the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (http://www.insci.org), the group has completed a report titled Opportunities for Creating Lifelong Ocean Science Literacy.

The Report provides a fresh look at how broader ocean science literacy can be developed, especially through less-recognized channels such as opportunistic learning, the private and “third” sectors, and the enormously varied activities under the heading of “informal science education.” The ten authors of this report have been working together for two years to find and review a range of issues and resources for current and potential ocean science literacy providers, both professional and volunteer.

Members of the group and report contributors are:

  • Paul Boyle, Association of Zoos and Aquariums
  • Vince Breslin, Southern Connecticut State University
  • Lisa Craig Brisson, Consultant/CAISE Coordinator for Visitor Studies Association
  • John Fraser, Institute for Learning Innovation (formerly with the Wildlife Conservation Society)
  • Alan Friedman (Co-P.I.), New York Hall of Science/Consultant
  • Katie Gardner, Liberty Science Center
  • Sarah Schoedinger, NOAA
  • Jerry Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific
  • Steve Uzzo (Co-P.I.), New York Hall of Science
  • Steve Yalowitz, Institute for Learning Innovation (formerly with the Monterey Bay Aquarium)

The 90-page report will be published officially online by the School for the Environment, University of Massachusetts Boston. Repostings and links will be encouraged throughout the ocean science literacy community and by other informal science education organizations. As of September, 2013, the report is being professionally laid-out for publication as an online readable document and as a downloadable PDF document. Formal publication is expected in the next 6 weeks.

OceanScienceWordle illustration


A primary goal of the COSEE program is to engage ocean scientists in education and outreach. What better way to do that than to partner with a large professional society of ocean scientists? Being a part of COSEE OCEAN has transformed the way meetings are planned by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO). Starting with the 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting, COSEE has had a strong presence at ASLO meetings, including such events as:
  • A “Doctor Is In” booth to provide one-on-one education and outreach advice to OSM attendees in Salt Lake City;
  • A pre-conference workshop for early career professionals touching on such topics as understanding how people learn, deconstructing and communicating their science, and utilizing professional networks;
  • Lunchtime workshops for attendees to empower them to communicate their science better, whether to students in large classrooms or to the public;
  • Providing 5500 copies of the “Best of COSEE Hands-On Activities” CD to participants of the 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting and the 2013 Aquatic Sciences Meeting to put teaching resources directly in the hands of researchers so they are better prepared to engage with classrooms of pre-collegiate students and the public.

Given the high participation rates and excellent feedback from these activities, ASLO plans to continue many of them at future ASLO meetings.

OSS in Boston Public Schools ... Catching the Wave

It has been three years since the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Science department started working with COSEE OCEAN, bringing in a new and exciting program focused on helping students from across the district engage in meaningful learning focused on the Ocean and Ocean science. At that time BPS had no formal ocean sciences program being taught at the elementary level. The program introduced was the GEMS Ocean Science Sequence for Grades 3-5, a 3-part program comprised of three units; Unit 1: What Kind of Place Is the Ocean?, Unit 2: What Is Life Like in the Ocean?, and Unit 3: How Are Humans and the Ocean Interconnected? Over the past three years teachers have been pilot testing this new program in schools around the district, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Teachers have expressed a renewed excitement for teaching science, and have reported that students are also finding the program engaging and exciting. The program has helped bring ocean science to the forefront of our students thinking and learning, and is helping them see the importance of the ocean as a habitat and resource for life on the planet. One teacher said, "It has been great to see students develop a better understanding of how the ocean is so important to us all in our daily lives." This year marks the first year that Boston is formally integrating the program into the instructional sequence. With approximately 50 teachers trained and ready to implement the Ocean Science Sequence this year, the district aims to engage about 1000 fifth graders in this exciting new program.


The COSEE OCEAN Graduate Students for Ocean Education (GrOE) Facebook page is taking off! With over 2300 users, GrOE is committed to becoming a reliable information hub for a growing network of graduate students who are interested in ocean science education. GrOE began in February, 2011 and has skyrocketed within the past few months. GrOE users can gain a wealth of information from the page with everything from photo caption contests to daily news articles to fellowship information. Recently, COSEE OCEAN sponsored a survey to gain demographic information from its community. Additionally, in the works is a video competition where users will submit their ideas for a research video and the winner(s) will receive a video camera in order to shoot their video. Now that the page has grown in size, the site is becoming more interactive. In addition to COSEE OCEAN members Hayley Schiebel and Catherine Cramer posting content on behalf of GrOE, other users are beginning to post opportunities, photos and news articles on the site. COSEE OCEAN PI Bob Chen is ready to take things to the next step, hoping to form small working groups committed to ocean science education within the GrOE community. Finally, GrOE will have 2013 gatherings in Boston, MA and Falmouth, MA (a sizeable portion of GrOE users are in the New England area) to allow users get some face time away from Facebook. COSEE OCEAN is also organizing a gathering at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu in February, 2014.

Science Cafes

In order to engage GrOE members in more social settings, COSEE OCEAN has embarked on organizing Science Cafes. The first one was held in in Cambridge, MA in August 2013. Four ocean science faculty gave presentations, followed by time for informal questions and answers and general discussion. Planning is underway for a café in Falmouth MA, with a planned topic of What Can You Do With A PhD? The evening will include presentations by several PhDs who are not following traditional academic paths.


In order to capitalize in the increased use of video in every imaginable setting, and for every imaginable purpose, COSEE OCEAN brought together a group of professional videographers to discuss how best to serve ocean science education and outreach. With their input, COSEE OCEAN published Make Your Own Video: A Simple Guide to Communicating Your Research Effectively. In addition to a website devoted to the guide, COSEE OCEAN contributed a presentation at ASLO 2012 with a goal to encouraging researchers to make short informal videos. The following year, a video of researcher Wally Fullweiler was developed and presented at ASLO 2013 in conjunction with Dr. Fulweiler’s research presentation, in order to highlight the usefulness of video in disseminating one’s work to the public. In addition, several post-docs at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are working on videos to be added to the OSS curriculum. And also in the works is a Home Video Festival at ASLO 2014.

World Maker Faire

For the second year in a row, COSEE OCEAN brought ocean science to [World Maker Faire] http://makerfaire.com/, held on the grounds of the New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY on September 21-22, 2013. This year’s World Maker Faire offered over 800 makers, and attracted 75,000 visitors over two days, many of whom stopped by the COSEE OCEAN activities area. There they could Build a Plankton and test it for buoyancy, Build a Plankton Net and take it home, learn to fly an ROV in the pool and look at a real ROV up close, and learn about coral reefs and the effects of climate change, and the effort to rebuild them. With activities drawn from the Best of COSEE Hands-On Activities collection and a large pool for running ROVs and plankton tests, the COSEE OCEAN booth was once again one of the most popular stops in the Faire.