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Teacher's Sentinel Site Lesson Plan


Through this project, formally "Using Sentinel Site Data to Teach about Coastal Impacts of Climate Change," each New England reserve offered a Teachers on the Estuary workshop focused on the story of climate change impacts on coastal habitats using data from the NERRS sentinel sites, the System-wide Monitoring Program, and blue carbon projects. By combining new and existing curricula, more than 50 teachers were provided the tools and confidence needed to bring the climate change discussion into the classroom.


Teachers and students understand the impacts of sea level rise on salt marshes and what blue carbon is. They gain the skills necessary to act as stewards of estuarine and watershed resources.

Project Period

October 2015 to September 2017


TOTE 2016 Teacher's Sentinel Site Lesson Plan (table of contents):

  1. Habitat Mapping: A River Mouth of Change by Suzanne Kahn and Susan Bickford, Wells Reserve
  2. Salt Marsh Vegetation & Sampling Techniques by Maureen Dewire, Narragansett Bay Reserve
  3. Sea Level Rise and Coastal Wetlands by Kelle Loughlin, Great Bay Reserve (adapted from the "Bringing Wetlands to Market" curriculum)
  4. Student Sentinel Sites at Schools by Joan Muller, Waquoit Bay Reserve

Download the TOTE 2016 Sentinel Site Lesson Plan booklet (5MB PDF)


  • Wells NERR
  • Great Bay NERR
  • Waquoit Bay NERR
  • Narragansett Bay NERR


$44,313 science transfer grant from the NERRS Science Collaborative

The National Estuarine Research Reserve Systems Science Collaborative supports collaborative research that addresses coastal management problems important to the reserves. The Science Collaborative is managed by the University of Michigans Water Center through a cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Funding for the research reserves and this program comes from NOAA. Learn more at or

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