NOS Management and Budget Office
The NOS Management and Budget Office (MBO) is the focal point for all planning, management, budget, internal and external communications, and education activities. MBO provides key planning, management, and leadership expertise; develops Web products and services; and organizes events to communicate both internally and externally the significant work of NOS.
MBO highlights from fiscal year 2009 include:
- Launching an online game encourages students to learn about estuaries. NOS Education launched WaterLife: Where Rivers Meet the Sea, an interactive online game about estuaries. Set in California’s Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, the game explains what an estuary is and describes diverse ecosystems in estuaries, tidal influences, restoration efforts, and marine debris. It emphasizes personal responsibility in caring for the environment. Following a young girl named Valerie, players interact with Oscar the sea otter, and the fictional Claminator, a geoduck clam. To succeed, players must learn about the factors that produce healthy estuaries, food webs, and why estuaries are essential to both ocean life and to humans. Students recycle and clean up trash, remove obstructions in waterways, restore habitat to bring back food webs, and battle “pollution monsters” to restore Oscar’s home. The game was developed through a partnership with Montgomery College’s Computer Gaming and Simulation program and designed in cooperation with NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System for students at the fourth through seventh grade level.
- Helping to develop a climate change toolkit for educators. NOS Education partnered with six other federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Department of Agriculture/Forest Service, to update a Climate Change Toolkit: Wildlife and Wildlands. The resources are designed for formal and informal educators in classrooms, parks, refuges, forest lands, nature centers, zoos, aquariums, and science centers to teach middle school students about how climate change is affecting our nation's wildlife and public lands, and how everyone, even students, can become climate stewards.
The toolkit includes case studies which characterize the entire nation using 11 eco-regions in the U.S., highlighting regional impacts to habitats and wildlife, and information on what people can do to help. NOAA science is highlighted in many areas of the kit including how climate change is impacting estuaries, coral reefs, Chinook salmon, and monk seals. The materials are also posted on the NOS Education Web site.
- Launching a "planet arcade." Educational games have huge potential in reaching the 50 million pre-kindergarten through high school students in the United States. Modern video and computer games offer challenge and adventure to a growing number of Americans, but the power of gaming is particularly relevant to today’s K-12 students – the “digital natives” – who have grown up with interactive digital technologies. Because interactive games are an effective means of reaching and teaching young people, NOS Education created and launched a new Web site that is a portal to games and interactive activities that focus on environmental themes. The site highlights NOAA science games that have been developed by student interns and NOAA staff, as well as games from other agencies and organizations promoting environmental stewardship.
- Helping to celebrate 2009 as the "Year of Science."
In 2009, NOAA joined hundreds of organizations and agencies in a national, year-long celebration to make science more accessible, personally meaningful, and locally relevant. NOS Education produced a 2009 Year of Science NOAA Education Sampler DVD that highlights ocean, coastal, atmospheric, and climate science education resources gleaned from across the agency. Interactive activities, lessons, curricula, audio, video, and animations help build understanding of the science of Earth's systems and the stewardship of our planet. Over 15,000 copies of the DVD have been distributed to educators at national and regional conferences and events. The DVD content is also available online.
- Developing an NOS Emergency Notification System test to protect the safety and well-being of NOAA employees. In order to provide timely emergency-related information to staff, NOS worked with the NOAA Chief Administrative Office and NOAA Homeland Security Program Office to establish and test an Emergency Notification System (ENS) for NOS. The ENS has the ability to reach all NOS staff using several communication methods in minutes. This fast and comprehensive system helps NOS’s ability to inform staff about an incident, and, if needed, allows NOS to receive feedback from staff after that incident. The ENS will help NOS to quickly know the safety status of employees during national or local emergencies.
- Hosting 2009 NOAA Restoration Day events in Maryland and Virginia. In June, 250 NOAA employees and partners participated in the sixth annual NOAA Restoration Day event in two states – one in Maryland and the other in Virginia. The Maryland event took place in Abingdon, Maryland at Otter Point Creek, part of the Maryland Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Virginia event took place at First Landing State Park in northern Virginia Beach. The event is one of the largest voluntary federal employee-sponsored environmental stewardship events in the Chesapeake Bay watershed region, and an annual opportunity for NOAA employees to help restore critical coastal habitat in the Chesapeake Bay.
This year’s restoration activities included planting underwater grasses grown previously within 22 NOAA office tanks; removing invasive plants; planting 40 native trees and several other plants; monitoring area fish, birds, turtles, and amphibians; removing trash; and performing digital elevation mapping activities such as benchmark setting and recovery. The event was organized by NOS and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
- Helping to develop the second Gulf of Mexico Alliance Governors' Action Plan. NOS provided federal leadership in support of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and its regional priorities by contributing to the development of a second Gulf of Mexico regional action plan, entitled the Gulf of Mexico Governors’ Alliance Action Plan II. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas initiated the Gulf Alliance in 2004 with the goal of increasing regional collaboration to enhance the environmental and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA played a key role in developing the actions included in this five-year action plan (2009-2014). These actions will improve water quality, reduce nutrient impacts, enhance coastal community resilience, conserve and restore critical habitat, and promote education and outreach in the Gulf of Mexico.