Friday, August 29, 2008

Educational Opportunities

One of the benefits we have been touting of the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument is the potential increase in educational and research opportunities. These opportunities would be for the children and students living here, but there could also be applications for students living elsewhere.

For example, National Geographic has a great lesson plan on the Mariana Trench.
The Mariana Trench is the deepest location on the entire Earth. If you set Mt. Everest down in the Mariana Trench, there would still be over 7,000 feet of water above it. What's down there? How are we able to explore such deep seas? How might the resources of the deep sea benefit people on land? In this two-part lesson, students explore the From Sea to Shining Sea map (PDF, Adobe Reader required) to learn about the Mariana Trench's location, who has jurisdiction over it, what lives down there and how we can reach it, and why its resources are of value. Then students will learn about the increasing accessibility and vulnerability of deep-sea resources as they consider how the Mariana Trench's natural assets could affect communities worldwide. Although the Trench is a remote and harsh environment, students will come to understand the global value of researching and exploring its varied resources.
I find it exciting that the Mariana Islands are a part of the lesson plan and that one of the lessons learned is how the ocean environment relates to the people living on the land.

When I first came back to Saipan the slogan we came up with for our coral reef project was "What we do on the land can affect our marine environment." It works the other way around, too.

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Speaking of education and research, the scientific report titled "A Scientific Case for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument" is now available online. I also have hard copies in the office. We just got them today. If you want one, swing by to pick one up. If you are off island, shoot me an email and I'll snail mail you one.

1 comment:

Lil' Hammerhead said...

Time and time again.. this government has refused to support a mariculture center. John Furey and a few volunteers tried to forge one out with a small grant from NMHC.. but even then, additional funding was routed to other projects by local officials.

It would be great if a world class monument visitor's center, could be merged with a world class mariculture center.. so folks who don't dive can experience our sealife, and so we can help replenish our oceans.