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Teachers on the estuary = climate science in the classroom

Sep 25, 2016 | Clean Water, Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts

Photo courtesy of our Waquoit Bay Reserve.
Money does not grow on trees, but it could be growing in our coastal salt marshes. A team from the Waquoit Bay-based Bringing Wetlands to Market project studied the connections between coastal wetlands, carbon dioxide uptake and storage, and the global carbon trading economy. They found that wetlands have the potential to serve as valuable assets in carbon trading markets—but only if we protect them and don’t dig up the “treasure.”

To bring this cutting-edge science to the classroom, educators from the Waquoit Bay and South Slough reserves teamed up to create a high school STEM curriculum, which is linked to the Next Generation Science Standards, and introduces teachers and the science behind “blue carbon.” This curriculum offers an authentic context for studies of the carbon cycle, ecosystem functions, the process of science, the engineering and technology design process, calculating economic value for natural resources, and student field studies and stewardship projects.

The reserves also offered bi-coastal Teachers On The Estuary (TOTE) programs that brought teachers to the field to pilot the curriculum and explore the relationship between salt marshes, climate change, and the economic value of salt marshes as carbon sinks. Educators who attended the TOTE programs in Oregon and Massachusetts piloted the curriculum with their students last fall.

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