"When teaching, I often push scientific field work as an employment opportunity and a way to make a difference. This fellowship makes me walk the talk," said an Oakland teacher, leaving today on a Fund for Teachers fellowship to enhance elementary science lessons on marine debris. For three weeks, she will tour the Bocas Del Toro Turtle hatchery in Panama, join the Turneffe Sea Turtle Research project in Belize and visit Glover’s Reef, aslo in Belize, to explore the sea turtle habitat and dialogue with leading world experts on sea turtles and marine preservation efforts. Throughout her fellowship, she will document, film, sketch, photograph, research and write about the experience to author a narrative journal and short video for her students at Peralta Elementary in Oakland, CA.
"This fellowship is an opportunity for me to have the luxury of studying with top scientists who are passionate about an environmental issue that is close to my heart — marine debris. I will acquire a great deal of specific information in a few short weeks. This knowledge and experience will enrich a program that I’ve worked very hard to establish concerning debris in the San Francisco Bay. Moreover, it will help me answer the questions with students:
- Why are sea turtles important to sustaining healthy marine ecosystems?
- How does the health of the sea turtle impact marine ecosystems?
- What does the sea turtle mean to our global ecosystem?
- What is happening to protect sea turtles?
- What pollutants are particularly detrimental to sea turtles?
- What local/international actions are being taken concerning marine debris?
The parent of a student in this teacher’s class said, “Teachers teach best when they know their subject deeply. This scientific study will deeplly enhance your knowledge, allowing you to bring back first-hand information on the devastation caused by marine debris — and more importantly, what students can do to help. Sea turtles are a perfect subject because they are compelling animals that students really relate to. Having a teacher who is an expert will allow this class of students to adopt this issue as its own, for in-depth study and action.”