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Founded by COSEE New England in 2005 and now sustained through ongoing grants, the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative (NEOSEC) is a regional collaboration focused on ocean science literacy. NEOSEC’s mission is to leverage New England’s extraordinary assets, to engage the public in understanding the vital connections between people and the ocean.
NEOSEC now encompasses more than 45 institutions from across the region, including aquariums, museums, universities, and science and research centers, and includes representation from COSEE-OS, COSEE-TEK, and COSEE OCEAN.
NEOSEC is led by a Governing Council representing each member organization, with paid staff providing coordination and support. NEOSEC has been instrumental in bringing the Ocean Literacy principles to New England through a variety of joint programmatic activities including:
Ocean Literacy Summit. Biannual conferences bring together informal/formal educators, scientists, and science writers/filmmakers, and outreach specialists. For example, the Census of Marine Life leveraged the 2010 Summit’s focus on OL Principle #5 (“The ocean supports great diversity of life and ecosystems”) to present the results of their 10-year, worldwide effort to New England audiences. The fourth biennial Summit in 2012 focused on Principle 7 (“The ocean is largely unexplored”), and brought together 180 attendees to interdisciplinary panels, presentations, and exhibits on topics such as “why should we explore the ocean,” new technologies, and career paths. The 5th biennial Summit will be held in early November, 2014 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Summer Science in New England. Summer camps in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine are collaborating to train camp counselors in field science, and scientists in field education. Teenage campers collect near-shore biodiversity data according to a Census of Marine Life protocol, which is then uploaded to an international database. Participating teens, educators, and scientists share their findings at regional forums. (Funded by NOAA October 2009.)
Get WET in New England. Science centers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut are providing professional development to middle- and high-school teachers each summer. Teachers develop a field trip for their classes focused on coastal conservation, and share their programs at regional conferences. (Funded by NOAA July 2010.)
Families by the Seaside. Project teams of community-based organizations and science centers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire conduct focus groups to learn what families want to see and learn when they visit the shore, and then develop coastal field experiences with learning activities that serve people of all ages. (Funded by NOAA September 2010.)
COSEE-Ocean Systems. NEOSEC is working with COSEE OS to increase scientists’ involvement in NEOSEC and members’ programs; support member institutions efforts to assist NSF-funded ocean scientists in expanding their education and outreach efforts; employ COSEE-OS content resources and concept mapping tools; and document and disseminate our collaborative model. Activities have included workshops on how to achieve broader impacts of ocean science research, mini-grants to support effective models for scientist-educator collaborations, and strategic planning for NEOSEC’s work in engaging both scientists and educators in New England. (Funded by NSF September 2010.)
Coastal Ocean Observing and Ocean Literacy. The Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) is partnering with NEOSEC to promote application of ocean observing data in ocean science education, tapping our collective expertise and regional reach. (Funded by NOAA March 2010.)
Summer on the Marsh. This new project builds on the success of Summer Science, expanding this program model to a new ecosystem (salt marshes), a younger audience (summer campers ages 9 to 12), and an additional focus (human health impacts). (Funded by EPA January 2014.)
COSEE New England sought to strengthen the New England region's capacity to develop and provide high-quality ocean science education in both formal and informal settings by understanding the needs of working with, and facilitating interactions among, educators, researchers, and the public. COSEE New England's long term goal was to strengthen understanding and appreciation of the oceans and their importance in audiences of all ages in both informal and formal education settings.
The National COSEE Office (NCO) facilitates national meetings, provides an infrastructure for the Network’s online presence, coordinates the National Advisory Committee, and provides guidance and support to individual Centers and Network working groups. The NCO also engages in Network level activities such as the facilitation of broader impact activities, the establishment of partnerships and collaborations, Ocean Literacy initiatives, and the promotion of ocean related careers. Ultimately, the NCO serves as the hub of the Network, coordinating all COSEE Network activities and providing leadership.