When the list of all that COSEE-West had done in 2009 was compiled, an image came to my mind: Mr. Burns from the television show The Simpsons rubbing his hands together and saying, "Excellent…." If our list is any indication of our progress in furthering the COSEE mission of “nurturing collaborations among research scientists and educators to advance ocean discovery and make known the vital role of the ocean in our lives,” then we’ve made ‘excellent’ progress indeed.
Messages from students at the LA County Science Fair's Interactive Day. COSEE-West was one of the organizations asked to participate in this new addition to the Science Fair. Photo: Jane Lee
In addition to our many educator-oriented lectures and workshops, including our partnered lectures and workshops with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), COSEE-West staff has become involved in a number of Network and networked activities. We serve on a number of COSEE Network working groups, including the Decadal Review Working Group, the Scientist Engagement Working Group, Best Practices, Evaluation, Professional Development, Excellence in Networking Tools, Web Working Group, Diversity, and Informals.
And although our continuing online workshops reach a global audience of educators and researchers and our educator professional development efforts reach local audiences, our involvement with organizations that serve people who are not educators has expanded. By assisting organizations such as museums and aquariums that engage that broader audience, we can connect scientists and researchers with the people that disseminate messages about the ocean and marine sciences to the public.
COSEE-West participants at our annual Ocean Observing Systems week-long workshop. Photo: Gwen Noda
We’ve been asked to become a part of committees with institutions throughout southern California, helping to advise, connect and plan events, grants and meetings. COSEE-West staff are on the planning committee for JPL’s Climate Day 2010; we are on the board for the Greater Los Angeles Teachers’ Science Association and participate in Science Specialist meetings involving educators from charter and private schools in the greater Los Angeles area. We are also members of the Aquarium and Marine Science Center Collaborative for Marine Protected Area Education and Outreach, whose member institutions span the California coast from Santa Barbara to San Diego, and include the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Ocean Institute, the Ty Warner Sea Center, the SEA LIFE Aquarium, the Birch Aquarium and the SEA Lab.
The Dr. Susanne Lawrenz-Miller Education Award, given to COSEE-West, Spring 2009. Photo: Jane Lee
The number of scientists and researchers we collaborate with in their outreach efforts has also increased. They include, but are not limited to, graduate students and researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, Stanford University, Hiroshima University, California State University at Los Angeles, California State University at Long Beach, California State University at Fullerton, Redlands University, the Southern California Coastal Water Resources Project, and JPL.
Members of COSEE-West staff have also been invited to give presentations for various functions, including NOAA West Day, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Roots and Shoots teacher training, the QuikSCience Rally Event, and the Long Beach League of Women Voters. And although our activities have expanded, we continue our lecture/workshop series, our informal science center retreats, judging at science fairs at both county (Los Angeles) and individual school levels and our presentations at professional conferences (NSTA, NARST, NMEA, CSTA).
We continue to be a trusted, neutral party that brings an enormous amount of knowledge and expertise to bear on marine sciences in the southern California area. Our efforts have not gone unnoticed by the people and organizations with whom we work. This past spring COSEE-West was awarded the Dr. Susanne Lawrenz-Miller Education Award from the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for “significant contributions to ocean science education in Southern California.” We can enumerate our list of accomplishments, but to receive appreciation and thanks from the people we serve is much more informative. It is outside confirmation that what the COSEE Network is doing is needed and that it works. COSEE-West is quite strongly interwoven into the fabric of ocean sciences education in southern California and those ties will only strengthen in the future.
Contributed by Jane Lee