NOAA TEACHER AT SEA PROGRAM RELEASES ITS FIRST CHILDREN'S BOOK
April 8, 2005 ó The NOAA Teacher at Sea program unveiled its first children's book at the National Science Teachers Association conference in Dallas, Texas, where coauthors-teachers Mary Cook and Diane Stanitski and NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown Chief Boatswain-illustrator Bruce Cowden signed books by the thousands. (Click NOAA image for larger view of Teacher at Sea book cover art. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Please credit “NOAA.”)
"The book signing was the hit of the conference," said Rear Admiral Samuel P. De Bow, Jr., director of NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations and the NOAA Corps. "The best part was knowing we have this talent within the fleet. Bruce Cowden wanted to illustrate the book not for himself, but for NOAA." De Bow was a speaker at the conference on the subject of marine science careers, which took place last weekend.
The NOAA Teachers at Sea sailed aboard Ronald H. Brown in December 2004. The idea for the book blossomed when Cook and Stanitski met Cowden and discovered he had a talent that could bring the narrative to life with his colorful and detailed illustrations. In fact, Cowden had already illustrated a children's book and planned to do more.
"We wanted to make our experience aboard Brown understandable for my middle school students and to share it with other educators and students across the country through the NOAA program," Cook said. "When we learned that Bruce was a published illustrator and saw his beautiful work, a book seemed like the perfect way to do this." (Click NOAA image for larger view of Teacher at Sea book signing at the National Science Teachers Association conference in Dallas, Texas. Seated (left-right) are Diane Stanitski, Mary Cook and NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown Chief Boatswain-illustrator Bruce Cowden. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Please credit “NOAA.”)
After the three of them collaborated on what to include, Cowden drew a story board for them to go by and each day produced a full-sized illustration. The teachers wrote the book based on the illustrations. The book covers the oceanic and atmospheric research that was conducted onboard the ship, including deployment of a tsunami buoy off Chile just days before a giant tsunami decimated several Indian Ocean nations, and NOAA's new "Adopt a Drifter" (a drifter is a buoy) program.
The hard-cover book is written at the middle school science level and was reviewed and edited by middle school science teachers and scientists. Its content includes science and math activities, a glossary of terms and full-color images. The collaborative effort included Dave Brenner from the NOAA Decision Coordination Office, who used his desktop publishing skills to prepare the book for printing, and Jennifer Hammond, Teacher at Sea program manager, who coordinated the production and publishing of the book.
Mary Cook teaches eighth grade Earth science at Southside Middle School in Batesville, Ark. Diane Stanitski is currently on leave of absence from her position as an associate professor in the Geography-Earth Science Department of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania; she is currently a program manager in the NOAA Office of Climate Observation in Silver Spring, Md. Bruce Cowden is chief boatswain and dive master of NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown, and does cartooning and water color painting as a hobby.
Cowden has agreed to illustrate more books for NOAA, including one on the Teacher in the Air pilot program.
Since its inception in 1990, the NOAA Teacher at Sea program has offered educators around the country the opportunity to see NOAA's exciting scientific research first hand. In the past 14 years, more than 400 teachers have participated in the program, representing 45 states, American Samoa, Chile and Argentina. The program provides kindergarten through college level teachers the chance to live and work side-by-side, day and night, with those who contribute to the world's body of scientific knowledge, and then take that experience back to the classroom.
Representative Marion Berry (D-Ark.) will host a reception on Capitol Hill May 3 to recognize constituent Mary Cook's accomplishments.
Copies of the book are being distributed at other education conferences. Teachers may request a copy by contacting the NOAA Outreach Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nationís coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
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