TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) will receive funding totaling $72,724 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). CAFS was one of five recipients of the two-year funding.
The program titled “From the Sky to the Sea: Investigating the Hydrologic Cycle in a Coastal Watershed, an Exemplary Pilot Program for K-12 Environmental Literacy,” was submitted to the NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program. B-WET is an environmental education program that supports experimental learning through local competitive grants. The key project personnel include Alfredo B. Lorenzo, Ph.D., Katherine A. Milla, Ph.D., Kimberly Davis and David White, Ph.D.
The NOAA funding will be used to train science teachers at the FAMU Developmental Research School on hydrological and weather cycles. Davis, environmental education associate, says the program will emphasize the importance of natural resources.
“The purpose of the program is to raise the public’s awareness and appreciation for the Gulf of Mexico and its resources,” said Davis. “The information that the teachers learned can be passed on to their students so they can understand the ecological and economic importance of the Gulf and how they upstream activities have an impact downstream.”
NOAA is an agency that specializes in scientific and environmental sustainability. The agency’s funding will help the hands-on program to increase student understanding of the hydrological cycle through various field trips, projects and lectures.
The program plans to utilize the USF Marine Lab and the FSU Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) program to complete the extensive project. Lorenzo, principle investigator on the project, says that the program will be the product of many collective efforts.
“FAMU faculty and USF Marine Lab faculty will collaborate on developing marine environmental sampling protocols and teaching these protocols to the teachers,” said Lorenzo. “FAMU faculty will work with the teachers during the school year to assist them with implementing environmental sampling activities in their classrooms. FSU COAPS will lend support to the project by providing climate data for field studies to be conducted by both teacher and student participants.”
The program falls under the colleges’ mission as a land grant component of FAMU and will also follow the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) protocol in its effort to train professional educators.
“The College of Agriculture and Food Sciences is dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and outreach services,” said Milla. “A major goal of this project is to help provide teachers with the tools necessary to prepare the next generation of scientists with critical thinking and inquiry skills to recognize and understand emerging problems in water quality and sustainability of natural resources and the environment.”
The Coastal Stewardship Program will begin on Sept. 1 and will continue for the next two years. For more information about the program, contact Alfredo Lorenzo, Ph.D., at 850-599-5649.