The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Team had a number of opportunities this month to spread the good news on the program and introduce the revolutionary capabilities the OOI will offer to a variety of new audiences.
Thousands of young aspiring scientists and oceanographers and their families and teachers got a hands-on lesson on how to measure ocean properties at the OOI Exhibit during the 2012 USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., on April 28-29.
Members of the OOI Team led visitors, ranging in all ages, through a hands-on data collection and measurement experiment to get a glimpse of what information and data will be available with the OOI. Many of the visitors were excited about the OOI and were amazed by what a step forward it represents in our ability to study and understand the ocean. Click here for more Information and Photos of the OOI at the USA Science & Engineering Festival.
Earlier in the month, members of the OOI Team conducted an outreach event at a local elementary school near Washington, D.C., allowing students to dive to the deepest depths of the ocean, explore the continental shelves and learn about data collection.
Though just learning the basics of ocean science in their classroom today, these young students could be the users of OOI data that will be available for a 25-30 year plus time period. The idea of learning about the deepest depths of the ocean and using robotic instruments to collect scientific data on the ocean seemed to fascinate the young ocean enthusiasts who had more than enough questions of their own.
Leslie Smith, a University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography alumnus who works in communications for the OOI Program at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, gave the 100 students attending the event an overview on the global oceans as a start to their ocean science curriculum for this year and an introduction to the OOI. She encouraged the young audience that they too could someday become oceanographers if they work hard at their math and science now.
Linking the real world to the classroom, the presentation focused on highlighting many state-mandated standards of learning as a preview to provide interesting examples of concepts from someone who works in the field. The students were particularly impressed when Smith showed a Styrofoam cup that had been sent down 1,000 meters in the Sargasso Sea causing it to be shrink to about a quarter of its original size from the pressure of the dive.
These outreach events are just a few of the many taking place across the OOI program as program scientists and engineers reach out to educators and students in various communities.