Watershed Stewardship in Action: Deaf Students on the Estuary

August 2017

This project will promote watershed stewardship by developing video modules in American Sign Language, providing professional development for teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing, and field experiences for their students. The project team will develop an American Sign Language video module focusing on the concepts and vocabulary of watersheds and estuaries. Education coordinators from the Wells, Waquoit Bay, and Narragansett Bay reserves, along with content experts, will provide training for teachers and interpreters at a Teachers on the Estuary workshop at the Waquoit Bay Reserve.

After receiving training, participating teachers will infuse the curriculum in their classes and bring their students to the reserve in their state for an estuary field study experience. The American Sign Language STEM module will be embedded in the new ASL Clear, an online STEM educational resource made possible through funding from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and developed by researchers at the Boston University School of Education and The Center for Research and Training at The Learning Center for the Deaf. The modules will be posted online for future use by other teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as for American Sign Language interpreters. This project has great potential to produce systemic change for deaf and hard of hearing students, their teachers, and interpreters on issues related to watersheds and coastal/marine habitats, furthering the Science Collaborative’s goal to address critical management issues identified by the reserves in order to improve the long-term stewardship of the nation’s resources.

 

The University of Michigan Water Center and partners are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement the NERRS Science Collaborative, by coordinating regular funding opportunities and supporting user-driven collaborative research, assessment and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by reserves.

See: National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative