Monday, September 15, 2014

From fish surveys to the DUOY educator workshop!

Hi Sea Fans!

My Texan adventures continue...

I got to attend the annual "Down Under, Out Yonder" (DUOY) educator workshop and scuba field experience at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS).  Participants learned about coral reefs (including reef fish ID) and how to teach about them in the classroom.   Everyone had fun because this involves lectures AND some fun activities that help everyone remember what they are taught (always handy!)  :) 

I helped Geri Kizior, one of the teachers, turn her hand into a coral polyp.  I also helped her keep a journal of all the activities that were going on during the workshop.
Building coral colony shapes out of Lego bricks with teachers Nancy Smith and Sheila Suarez.  (The bumps on top of each brick look like coral polyps sticking out from their skeletons).
More information about the DUOY workshop is available at

All FGBNMS educational activities are available as free downloads from the website at for those mommy's and teachers out there who may be interested
The DUOY workshop wasn't only on land though! On one of the evenings, everyone from the workshop boarded a live-aboard dive boat to head out to Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary for some diving. The sanctuary is over 100 miles from shore and it
takes 7-8 hours to get there, so everyone slept on the trip out to feel rested for the fun ahead. 

When we woke up in the morning we had arrived at the sanctuary and it was time to dive. 
I was ready to dive, but they didn't bring dive gear small enough for me!
Seas were quite calm and visibility was good, so we got some fantastic views of the reef and its inhabitants. Participants also conducted fish surveys as part of their training which gave them an appreciation for the difficulties of working underwater. 
I helped Kelly record her fish count data.  When added to the other participants' data, the total over 3 days added up to 107 different species spotted!
The nice thing is that they can continue doing this type of citizen science (google this, it means that everyone can get involved and help the scientists!!!) on their own after the workshop.

More information on the fish survey program from REEF is available at

In between dives we got to have some fun spotting wildlife and saw 7 whale sharks feeding near the surface!!!
Hard at work : )
And at the end, even teachers have to take tests!
Final fish ID test for teacher Amy Bujacz.
So a little bit of sunburn and a lot of fun later, I'm off to my next host...where will it be?

Have a great week Sea Fans!
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PS. All NOAA images credited to NOAA Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

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