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San-Cap START trains Lee teachers on Coastal Classroom

By Staff | Feb 14, 2011

The Sanibel-Captiva chapter of START (Solutions To Avoid Red Tide) sponsored a training session last week for any Lee County School District middle school science teachers. The training session also qualified as a part of each teacher’s required continuing education requirements.

The session, led by Dr. Bruce Neill, PhD, director of the Sanibel Sea School, was held at a computer lab at Lee County School District’s headquarters. Teachers from all over the county attended and seemed to welcome the website —www.coastalclassroom.com — as a new tool to teach children about our oceans and especially on the importance of conserving and protecting them.

Dr. Neill used computerized “smart boards” to demonstrate www.coastalclassroom.com live and each teacher had a computer in front of them with the website up and running.

The San-Cap chapter of START launched www.coastalclassroom.com in December of 2010, which is an Internet-based teaching tool that any Lee County teacher can access and use in the classroom. It conforms to Florida’s education standards and contains 22 modules on a variety of topics including:

• Plastics in the Ocean,

• Ocean PH,

• Micro Algal Blooms

• Macro Algal Blooms

• Tides

• Acidification

• Oil in the Ocean

• Coral Reefs in the Gulf of Mexico

Funds for this ongoing program were generated at the San-Cap Cracker Fest, which is held on Sanibel each November.

“We are very appreciative of START’s initiative to provide us with this very valuable teaching tool, especially with budget reductions,” said Rick Tulley, science coordinator for the Lee County School District. “We could never have produced this program on our own.”

“While www.coastalclassroom.com is up and running, it is very much a work in progress and we will be updating and adding continuously,” added Dr. Neill.

Many of the teachers present made suggestions for changes that will help them in the classroom. Erica Milstone, staff member for Sanibel Sea School, fielded these suggestions and will work on implementing them.

The www.coastalclassroom.com was produced in partnership by San-Cap START and Sanibel Sea School. START’s vision is to improve the quality of our marine waters through research, public education and programs that restore marine habitats, preserve marine species and promote healthy beaches and coastal waterways. START is based in Sarasota and has chapters in Boca Grande, Fort Myers Beach/Bonita Springs, Englewood, Sarasota/Bradenton and Sanibel-

Captiva.