Like many scientists, I work to foster the next generation of scientists and science enthusiasts. These efforts come in many forms, from formal mentoring to being a present and active member of the community. While my formal classroom days are largely behind me, those classes and students were formative to my development as a scientists and I carry their lessons forward. Thanks to the students of Green Futures, Environmental Media, Environmental Biology, and Social Media for Environmental Communications.

A student holds a piglet during a field trip to the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Greensboro, NC.

Mentoring can happen through many venues, and I participate in a wide variety of options from guest seminars to research collaborations to summer internship programs and sitting on graduate committees. NOAA offers funded internships like the Hollings Scholar program and the Experiential and Research Training Opportunity as well as PhD and postdoctoral opportunities through our cooperative institutes. I regularly mentor students through all three programs.

Throughout my courses, guest lectures, and outreach events, I’ve developed a collection of favorite classroom and outreach activities that highlight the human dimensions of the environment, especially the marine environment. Please contact me if you would like to use these in your classroom and want more detailed lesson plans:

Marine spatial planning board game: A cooperative game where players place proposed coastal uses among existing uses. They must get all uses on the board, negotiated by use rights and direct payments.

Garden in a cup: Grow a collard green according to your food ethic. You must analyze the cost-benefits of your major decisions and decide how you might ‘farm’ next year.

Follow your toothbrush: Pick an object you use everyday, like your toothbrush, and follow it from cradle to grave. Present a lifecycle analysis to the class and choose what production style you will now look for.

Fishing: Using a variety of snack foods, set up a ‘fishery’, including nursery habitat. Students can choose their gear and choose regulations to see how their own behavior changes as a result.

One of my first classes, Backpacking in the Finger Lakes, taking a water break.