Teachers Workshop on the Estuary
Oysters, rockweed, and living shorelines, oh my! Ten educators explored the Bay Area’s intertidal zones in a professional development workshop hosted by the San Francisco Bay Reserve. It included a series of virtual webinars, a research experience with oyster monitoring sites, and an in-person workshop at the Estuary and Ocean Science Center. Designed for upper elementary and middle school science, the series was part of Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE), a teacher training program at National Estuarine Research Reserves across the System.
“This workshop was unique because it combined research and pedagogy,” says Bella Mayorga, education program coordinator at the San Francisco Reserve. “Teachers got to work directly with scientists on an active oyster monitoring project and then connected that experience to classroom activities that meet Next Generation Science Standards and get kids thinking about their local estuary.”
Teachers were able to share what they learned with their students. One teacher replicated quadrat sampling with hula hoops in the schoolyard. Another planned to search for native oysters in a part of the Bay near their school using a monitoring protocol learned during the workshop. And another wanted their students to develop a testable research question about the Bay—similar to what the educators did in their training. At the final workshop, the educators presented on how they incorporated what they learned with their students.
This program was the result of a partnership between Karina Nielsen, Executive Director of San Francisco State University’s (SFSU) Estuary & Ocean Science Center, faculty from the SFSU Graduate College of Education, researchers from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), and the San Francisco Bay Reserve. It was made possible by NERR funding, the Marin Community Foundation, and the California State Coastal Conservancy.