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MapMaker Activity: Explore and Protect the Ocean With Pristine Seas

MapMaker, National Geographic’s geovisualization tool, contains an ever-expanding list of map layers curated for students. Together, they form a geographic data set that learners can use to illustrate a concept or tell a story. These map layers are data that learners can overlay on a basemap, like a transparency on a projector. In September, we shared tips for getting started with MapMaker. Now, we have … Continue reading MapMaker Activity: Explore and Protect the Ocean With Pristine Seas

Mexico Creates One of the Largest Marine Reserves in the Pacific

ENVIRONMENT Mexico’s government has created the largest ocean reserve in North America around the Pacific archipelago of the Revillagigedo islands. (The Guardian and National Geographic) What’s going on around the Revillagigedo islands? Learn more from our Pristine Seas expedition. Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.   Discussion Ideas Mexico just created a 150,000-square-kilometer (57,000-square-mile) marine reserve surrounding … Continue reading Mexico Creates One of the Largest Marine Reserves in the Pacific

U.S. Creates Largest Marine Protected Area

ENVIRONMENT The United States has announced that it will create the largest marine reserve in the world by expanding an existing monument around U.S.-controlled islands and atolls in the central Pacific. (National Geographic) Use our resources to learn more about marine protected areas and how they are managed. (And scroll down for some beautiful photos!) Today’s current-event connection was written by Nat Geo Education’s once-and-future ocean authority, … Continue reading U.S. Creates Largest Marine Protected Area

Kerry Supports Creation of Antarctic MPA

ENVIRONMENT Kerry Supports Creation of Antarctic MPA Calling himself a “child of the ocean,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry voiced his strong support for the creation of a marine protected area (MPA) in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. Kerry emphasized the environmental and economic value of the Ross Sea and all the world’s oceans. “We call this beautiful planet Earth, but it could well have been … Continue reading Kerry Supports Creation of Antarctic MPA

She Sells Seashells By The Seashore

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Lori Roberts is a high school biology teacher in Muscle
Shoals, Alabama. Lori is a leader in ocean education and is a graduate
of National Geographic Education’s two-year professional development
program, the National Teacher Leadership Academy.

The more we explore the ocean, the better we understand the need for conservation efforts. Expeditions like DEEPSEA CHALLENGE can shed light on a dark topic and hopefully make the public aware that our ocean is in trouble. I approach this topic from the bottom-up in my biology classroom. I teach trophic levels, which are the positions that organisms inhabit within food chains. The ultimate energy source for Earth is our sun, and energy flows from this source through the trophic levels: from producers, to consumers, and then to decomposers. Every link in a chain is vital to sustain life in the ocean web. I tell my students that their actions matter, that their choices have an impact. After all, we are all consumers, and consumers determine what is available in the marketplace.

Life can rebound after a natural disaster (a type of density-independent limiting factor). While on a trip to Fort Pickens National Park near Pensacola, Florida, I took a picture of an osprey on its nest. It gave me hope. Ospreys are large birds that feed almost exclusively on fish. They inhabit coastal regions, and were once on the endangered species list. The nest pictured below is at the top of the remnant of a pine tree, in what used to be a small coastal forest. This part of the Gulf Islands National Park was almost destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The return of the osprey shows that life can rebound. But, once it is completely gone, it is history–like the dodo bird.


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