IMG_4070More than 400 Bay Point Elementary (BPE) students and family members participated in “Waters of the World,” a family event hosted on April 6, 2017, by GCOOS-RA Outreach and Education Lead, Dr. Chris Simoniello, in partnership with the University of South Florida College of Marine Science’s Jen Cannizzarro and the BPE Parent Teacher Association. The festival, held in conjunction with the school’s annual science fair, attracted many local science-based organizations to conduct hands-on activities for the K-5 students and their families.

IMG_4115Students received explorer passports and rotated through ocean gyres, completing activities as they flowed along. In addition to five GCOOS-hosted stations, activities were offered by The Art of Science, Great Explorations, Duke Energy Progress, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, Bay Point Middle School, USF and the Friends of Weedon Island, a long-time BPE partner that provides summer camp scholarships to the top five science fair winners.

IMG_4078This year’s activities had the participants test skills and knowledge about topics ranging from catch and release fishing practices and sea turtle migrations to local Native American history. Simoniello, who has been working with BPE gifted students teacher Renee Hale all year to implement grants from the NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project and the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network, engaged the students in developing many of the activities for their peers. She is now working with GCOOS educator Grant Craig to make the lessons developed during the course of the year web-ready for other educators to use in their own formal and informal learning settings. These should be posted to our website soon.

IMG_4112The GCOOS-RA extends thanks to all who helped transport young minds across the waters of the world, reminding all of us, as Leonardo da Vinci so eloquently stated, that “Water is the driving force of all nature.”