What if you’ve never seen the ocean? Donor’s Choose Project – In Search of Marine Diversity

While my illustrious co-blogger has taken over running the Donor’s Choose challenge for Southern Fried Science this year, I decided to take up a single, worthy project to focus on. One of the challenges with Donor’s Choose is that it’s hard to fund the most expensive projects. People like to see the results of their donations, and funding a project to completion is extremely gratifying. From our experience over the last few years, most donations coming from our readership are small, so the project in the $200 to $500 range reap the bulk of the donations. This is great, but there are some big budget proposals on Donor’s Choose that are worthy of funding, too.

Which brings me to the title of this post: What if you’ve never seen the ocean?

Sometimes it’s not enough to set up aquaria, provide books, or design in-class experiments. In addition to all of that, students need to actually experience the ocean, which is exactly what In Search of Marine Diversity plans to do. From the project page:

Our students have great difficulty understanding ocean concepts because they have never visited an ocean beach.

This project will provide opportunities for them to get answers to their questions when they visit the Center for Marine and Education Research in Gulfport, Mississippi, to participate in relevant, hands-on learning at a three-day Sea Camp conducted by the University of Mississippi in coordination with CMERS.

Our school is a small rural public school in Arkansas. Much of the school district lies in a remote mountain range far from cities or major bodies of water (ocean). Students who ride the bus to school from this remote area are on the bus over three hours every school day (90 minutes each way). Our school had approximately 78 percent of the students receiving free or reduced lunches during 2011-12, so this year all students receive meals at no charge. Many families receive income from farming (cattle, chickens or timber) or from farming-related occupations. According to the 2010 census, the per capita income was $14,710 with only 52.3 percent of the population employed. This project is needed to provide opportunities for student learning that cannot be met in the classroom. The Gulf Coast studies includes snorkeling underwater adventures, a fossil dig, and hands-on exploration of freshwater turtles, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, sting rays, blue crabs, sea urchins, dolphins, etc.


This is an expensive trip. In order to send 20 students to University of Mississippi Sea Camp, the teacher is asking for almost $14,000, half of which is being met by the Walt Disney Company. Although this project launched almost a month ago, they have yet to receive a donation.

So, while my co-blogger manages the larger Donor’s Choose Project for SFS, I’m making it my personal mission to get this project funded.

Because no one should grow up without a chance to see the ocean.

Climate change deniers continue to be wrong, science words with friends, and support science in the classroom

The bliggityblogsphere has been abuzz with recent finding by the Berkeley Earth Project that independently confirm that global climate change is real. From the BBC:

The Earth’s surface really is getting warmer, a new analysis by a US scientific group set up in the wake of the “Climategate” affair has concluded.

The Berkeley Earth Project has used new methods and some new data, but finds the same warming trend seen by groups such as the UK Met Office and Nasa.


Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, has a nice, in depth write-up, that provides some caveats missing from most of the press releases: New independent climate study confirms global warming is real.

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And the winner is…

Last week, Andrew asked readers to send us their marine themed Halloween costumes. We are pleased to announce that our winner is Gabriella M! Gabriella, please e-mail us with your mailing address to collect your prize (a Southern Fried Science t-shirt). We will also donate $50 to the Gam Donors Choose Initiative project of your choice, so please let us know which one is your favorite.

Here is Gabriella’s winning entry:

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Three Ways to Support Science!

There’s still a week left in the Science Bloggers Donors Choose challenge and we’re short of the $50,000 goal. So if you haven’t yet, head on over to our Donors Choose giving page and make a donation. No matter how small, every dollar helps.

Can’t make the donation? That’s ok, too. We’re offering a $50 prize donated to Donors Choose in your name for the best marine themed Halloween costume! Competition is fierce. Submit a picture of you in costume for a chance to win. Contest ends tomorrow night.

Didn’t dress as something marine for Halloween? That’s still ok! Veteran Science Blogger Christie Wilcox is a finalist for a $10,000 blogging scholarship, but she needs your help! Head on over to the contest, check out all the finalists, and vote for the one you think is best. Southern Fried Science enthusiastically supports Christie Wilcox.

So today, do something for the future of science, or go for the hat trick and do all three.

~Southern Fried Scientist

Science students need your help!

We’re a little more than half-way through this year’s Donors Choose initiative. To date we’ve raised $618, helped complete 16 projects, and reached 541 students. The support from our readership has been tremendous, and I’d like to personally thank everyone who’s given to Donor’s Choose through any of the blogs participating in the Science Bloggers Challenge, but we still have a long way to go. HP is matching all donations up to $50,000, so all your donations count twice as much. Any donation, from $1 up helps. If you can’t personally make a donation, please consider promoting our initiative through social media, e-mail, or just telling you friends. There’s so many great projects out there left to fund. Here are just a few:

Exploring with Jules Verne

Ever wanted to explore the ocean, or travel around the world, or even wonder if you could travel to the center of the earth? With the help of author, Jules Verne, students can do all of these things and read some classic literature with great vocabulary.

My students are identified gifted and talented in a school that is 50% impoverished. Many of my students have never traveled outside of our small town, so understanding the world and all of it’s wonders does not happen easily. Their quest for knowledge is something I admire and want to foster!! They want to explore and learn everything there is in all areas!

The three novels by Jules Verne will introduce my students to some classic literature, science fiction, and allow them to explore the world without ever leaving our town. They will be introduced to great vocabulary, science terms and questions to tweak their curiosity more as they explore the world around them.

What’s Flowin’ On? Water Quality Testing Kits

“There is no life without water.” ~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi. Water is the most important factor in agricultural life. I want my students to understand the importance of this fragile and limited resource, because without water, there would be no life!

I teach mainly Agriculture Biology Students in the central valley of California. The majority of my students come from low income families who work in agricultural jobs. I am very lucky in that the students who I have want to be in my class. Agriculture Biology is a class that meet Life Science Credit for graduation, but the students must elect to take Ag Biology over Regular Biology in order to be in my class. My students are inquisitive, fun, and pillars of character. Most of my students are 10th graders, how ever, I do occasionally get 9, 11, and 12th graders. My students are encouraged to participate in leadership activities, community service, and expand their learning through after school activities at the school farm. Most of my students want to better themselves through education and hope to attend college.

With your support, I will be able to show my students how important water quality is. In Biology, we talk about the water cycle, water quality, and the importance of water on Earth. However, I have been unable to show my students how important water quality is since I have never had the supplies to do so. Agriculture needs water, and to be good stewards of the land, my students will be able to analyze and view the importance by preforming water quality tests.

A Visit to Barrier Island

Is there a field trip you took in elementary school that was one you will never forget? That is exactly what I am trying to give my 5th grade students. We are lucky enough to have gotten a date for just this type of trip. However, a few of the students cannot afford to pay for this opportunity.

At my school in the upstate of South Carolina, we have almost 500 students. Nearly 90% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Although our students do not have much money, they usually do have good support from home. Many come from single family homes where the only parent works one or two jobs. Many of the students in the upper grades are responsible for caring for younger brothers and sisters at home while the parents are working.

What I am asking for is an opportunity for some of my least advantaged students to be able to attend a life-changing field trip. If you help, they will be able to travel to a barrier island here in South Carolina for 3 days and 2 nights. For many of the students it will be their first time away from home over night. For many of them it will be the first time they have seen the ocean. For many of them it will be the only chance they might ever have to stay in a camp setting. For almost all of them, it will be their first chance to roast marshmallows over a camp fire or actually hold a lizard or snake.

In addition to all of these first time experiences, the students will also be able to see first hand what we have been learning about in the classroom. What better way to understand an ecosystem than to actually walk around in one? What better way to understand the human effect on the environment than to see it first hand?

Let’s get some science into the classroom!

~Southern Fried Scientist

Support science in the classroom: expose students to sharks!

We are now a little more than a week into the Donors Choose science blogger challenge. Ocean and geology bloggers have united to raise money for worthy science-related projects in public schools throughout the country.

Every few days, we’ll be highlighting a specific project from The Gam Classroom Initiative, though you can donate to any of our favorites from our Donors Choose Page.

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Support Science in the Classroom and send students to the field

Today marks the official beginning of the Donor’s Choose Science Blogger Challenge! This year the Ocean and Geo Bloggers have united to compete against other science blogging networks, so let’s show the landlubbers that we take out science education seriously! On top of that, we’re also having a little friendly competition among ocean and geo bloggers, and right now the Gam is proudly in the lead.

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Support Science in the Classroom!

Once again the Science Blogosphere is uniting behind Donor’s Choose to support science in the classroom. For those who don’t know, Donor’s Choose is a charity that funds projects proposed by school teachers. The Gam has selected (and will continue to add) several notable projects for our giving page. This year there’s a little twist, the blogs of the Gam, Deep Sea News, and several independent ocean blogs, will be teaming up to once again show that science blogosphere that ocean scientist mean business when it comes to supporting the next generation of marine scientists. We will be competing to see which group of bloggers can raise the most – Ocean Bloggers, Scientopia, Labspaces, GeoBlogs, and other science blogging networks, matter what, the real winners are the students.  The contest officially begins October 10.

We have a widget in the left sidebar for donations.

~Southern Fried Scientist