Educator Conference Focuses on Connecting Students with the Coast

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Newport, Oregon— It’s often said that in order to care deeply about a place, one must develop a meaningful, personal connection to it. The same holds true for encouraging students to take action for marine conservation. To inspire the next generation of ocean stewards, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is encouraging educators to turn their classrooms inside out with a crash-course on field-based education.

Oregon Coast Aquarium’s sixth-annual Coastal Learning Symposium invites pre-K through 12th grade educators, informal educators, higher education professionals and others to come together to share and refine their skills for using the ocean, forest and community as a context for learning across grades and subjects.

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The October 14th experience focuses on fun and practical ways to incorporate lessons about the ocean and local environments into schools, while addressing state and national trends and mandates like the Common Core and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). This year’s workshop themes include integrating the arts into science education, and going beyond the textbook by introducing current research by local scientists.

Anyone who visits the Oregon coast can feel that it is a special place, but how do teachers communicate its value to students? Educators themselves must first have an appreciation of the cultural and ecological wealth this coastal environment provides. Many of the unique break-out sessions at the Symposium bring participants outdoors, and each year attract as many as 300 teachers and informal educators from across Oregon.

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“We are very lucky here on the Oregon coast to have access to so many amazing natural areas which can serve as outdoor classrooms for kids to learn and discover. The Symposium provides educators with the tools to get their students outside and excited about learning, and aims to inspire a personal appreciation for our local natural resources,” said Sara Shaw Roberts, School Liaison for the Oregon Coast Aquarium and organizer of this event.

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The 2016 event will include presentations from practicing teachers, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon Parks and Recreation, Oregon Sea Grant, South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, CoastWatch and Audubon Society of Portland. The Symposium’s evening event, a mixer and gallery tour at Newport Visual Arts Center, is generously hosted by the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts.

To learn more about the Coastal Learning Symposium, and register for sessions, visit http://bit.ly/2cyRx5R.

The Symposium is just a small part of the Aquarium’s Ocean Literacy Initiative. To learn more about the nonprofit’s education programs, visit aquarium.org/education or contact education@aquarium.org.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is dedicated to the highest quality aquatic and marine science programs for recreation and education so that the public better understands, cherishes, and conserves the world’s natural marine and coastal resources. An accredited Association of Zoos & Aquariums institution, this 501(c)3 non-profit organization is ranked as one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit us at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. Follow us on Facebook.com/OregonCoastAquarium, or Twitter.com/OrCoastAquarium for the latest updates.

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