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The Wrack

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

TOTE II Teachers Reunite

Posted by | November 6, 2012

Nearly four months after their Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) II summer workshop at the Wells Reserve, eight middle and high school teachers from New England reunited for an exciting day of professional development and comradery. In the morning, the group reconvened at Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Falmouth, MA, where they reported on their student-driven stewardship project progress. TOTE II presentationsThis team of TOTE II teachers is a truly inspirational bunch. They are fostering a sense of stewardship in their students while getting outside and teaching with a systems-based approach. Their students are becoming agents of change within their watersheds and local communities.

Following is a sampling of the year-long TOTE II projects being implemented:

  • Student-run environmental impact assessment of school's energy use and waste
  • Vernal pool and water quality investigation of a site slated for high impact development
  • Storm drain stenciling to raise awareness of water pollutionAlvin WHOI
  • Invasive species removal
  • Creation of a schoolyard butterfly garden
  • Creation of a schoolyard rain garden
  • Salt marsh cordgrass cultivation and planting

Following the teachers' project updates, the group traveled to Woods Hole, where they visited the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute's (WHOI) Exhibit Center. Stephanie, Debbie, and Debbie were especially intrigued with the lifesize model of the famous submersible, Alvin (right). The highlight of the day for many of the teachers was unexpectedly meeting the real Alvin moments later in the workshop at WHOI, where it was being maintained while in between deep sea expeditions.

David Fisichella, WHOI Research Associate and Manager of Shipboard Scientific Services, provided a behind the scenes tour for the teachers, complete with up-close views not only of the current Alvin (below left)--but also the original Alvin (below right) that explored the Titanic deep beneath the surface of the sea in the 1980s.

Bob and AlvinOriginal Alvin



David also treated the teachers to a tour of Alvin's mother ship Atlantis (below), which serendipitously happened to be in port--a rare event! The group visited the vessel's research lab, sleeping and eating quarters, and a highlight--the bridge.


Earlier this week, a couple of days following the TOTE II reunion, one of the teachers reflected, "I wanted to thank you profusely for yet another great TOTE experience!!! Saturday was amazing and chock full of excitement. My experience with TOTE has always been awesome, but I felt truly challenged this time overall with utilizing the systems method approach, the service learning model, and developing a true project based experience for my students. I look forward to when I can report to you the other side of our project."

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