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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Teaching about Coastal Impacts of Climate Change

Posted by | March 10, 2016

Teachers on the Estuary Returns in 2016

TOTE kayaking

The four New England research reserves are putting teachers on the estuary again this summer by offering free workshops that will give educators data-driven climate change activities to bring back to their classes. Each of the four TOTE (Teachers on the Estuary) workshops, one 3- or 4-day session per reserve, will train a dozen educators in reserve-style environmental monitoring, "coastal blue carbon" concepts, and ways to understand and address climate change.

Please note: The workshop at Wells Reserve will be held Monday, July 11 through Thursday, July 14, 2016. Review of applications will begin May 31, 2016.

Wells Reserve TOTE Application

Wells Reserve TOTE Draft Agenda

Wells Reserve TOTE Promotional Flyer

To learn more about TOTE workshops, see the articles at


Teachers often don't get much exposure to estuarine and watershed concepts during their own education, so it can be daunting for them to develop a curriculum (and locate suitable data sets) around these topics. TOTE workshops show teachers how to access and employ custom curricula and data that already meet Next Generation Science Standards or state education frameworks.

What to Expect

In the 2016 workshops, teachers will examine the relationship between salt marshes, watersheds, climate change, and the global carbon trading economy. Waquoit Bay Reserve recently produced a high school STEM curriculum through its Bringing Wetlands to Market (BWM) initiative on Cape Cod, which focused on the economic value of salt marshes as carbon sinks  natural places to store carbon so it wont be released into the atmosphere to act as a greenhouse gas. The BWM curriculum will be shared with teachers at the New England TOTE workshops.

Teachers will also be introduced to information from around the country that focuses on sea level change and coastal inundation, and given access to the resources of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations collaborative Sentinel Site program.
When TOTE teachers return to their classrooms, some 2,500 middle and high school students will be connected to estuarine science and about 50 student-driven stewardship projects will begin across New England and beyond.


  • Wells Reserve
  • Waquoit Bay Reserve
  • Great Bay Reserve
  • Narragansett Bay Reserve


This work is sponsored by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative, which supports collaborative research that addresses coastal management problems important to the reserves. The Science Collaborative is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by the University of Michigan Water Center.


From Watermark 32(2): Fall 2015

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