If you know high school teachers who are as passionate about coral reefs as they are about diving, The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation would like to meet them. More specific, the Living Oceans Foundation wants them to join the CREW program aboard the megayacht Golden Shadow (pictured) when she heads to French Polynesia this year.
CREW stands for Coral Reef Educator on the Water. It permits high school teachers to gain personal experience working aboard a scientific research vessel and learn more about preserving coral reefs. Golden Shadow is currently conducting a four-year expedition of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, conducting collaborative coral reef research. The research will help identify those areas needing the most protection, plus help develop conservation strategies overall.
CREW teachers must be willing to commit to a handful of things. For example, they’ll need to spend two weeks aboard. (The Living Oceans Foundation will help arrange for a substitute teacher in their absence, a nice bonus.) They’ll interact with scientists aboard Golden Shadow to create educational programs for their school. They’ll also host live Q&A video chats with their students, and perhaps even students from other schools. Of course, they’ll also need their own dive gear in good working order so that they can dive alongside the experts during the research dives.
In March of this year, Mike Trimble, a teacher from Arizona, became the first CREW participant. Trimble joined the megayacht in Jamaica and blogged about the experience:
Learning and working alongside these professionals is inspiring and provides rich material for me to engage STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) students. As the first teacher in the Coral Reef Educator on the Water (CREW) program, I’m sharing the experience with my classes through emails, blogs, and video conference calls. …
But what has made the most impact for me? Exploring the coral reef itself.
I have had some exceptional dives and utilized some amazing technology. Monday provided a reminder of basic ocean forces as we attempted to descend in stiff current. By Tuesday we were exploring the reef with underwater communications gear. The dramatic visibility unveils colorful varieties of corals, sponges, and fishes. I am also reminded of the challenges facing coral reefs. Lack of coral density, evidence of disease, abundance of algae, and the small size and numbers of fishes are all apparent.
To apply to the CREW program, educators can download a CREW application from the Living Oceans Foundation. All costs are covered by the Living Oceans Foundation.