Since 2008, students from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) have been sharing their love for science and ocean conservation with children from underserved Greater Miami communities through “Ocean Kids”. This event, founded by RSMAS faculty member Dr. Jill Richardson, is a day of of service, connection, and discovery.
To date, we have reached over 2000 K-12 students from high-needs education districts and inspired them with hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities and lesson plans. We motivate them to stay in school and be a part of the expanding movement to save our oceans.
Children are naturally inquisitive, but studies show that their interest in STEM wanes by the time they reach middle school. Additionally, lack of preparation in science among under-represented minority groups in elementary education results in reduced enrollment and success in secondary and collegiate settings.
All the while, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while others are growing at only 9.8% (U.S. Department of Commerce), and STEM careers are at the foundation of community stability, growth, and transformation (Science Pioneers, www.sciencepioneers.org).
"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught." (Baba Dioum, 1968)
- The global ocean has lost more than 90% of large, predatory fishes, and 75% of all major fisheries are over-exploited, fully exploited, or depleted.
- According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.
- Polar ecosystems, including some of the rarest and most fascinating animals on our planet, are on the verge of unprecedented change… or collapse.
- Coral reefs and coastal, marine habitats have experienced global degradation as a result of development, overfishing, and pollution.
- Ocean acidification, caused by the excessive uptake of carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels, is dismantling the ocean’s ecosystems.
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