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September 25, 2006

Contact:  Ben Sherman, NOAA
(301) 713-3066

Jodie Peterson, NSTA
(703) 312-9214

NOAA, National Science Teachers Association Unveil Comprehensive Online Teaching Tool for Coral Reef Ecosystems

NOAA and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) announced today the unveiling of the Coral Ecosystem SciGuide, a new web-based "science toolbox" for teachers and other educators. The SciGuide was developed collaboratively by NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) and NSTA, as part of a cooperative agreement between NSTA and NOAA's National Ocean Service.

"NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program is proud to partner with the NSTA to create this innovative, peer-reviewed education resource for teachers," said David Kennedy, manager of NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. "The Coral Ecosystem SciGuide will help educators understand and teach about the coral animal, the complexity and fragility of coral reef ecosystems, and the vital importance of protecting these valuable ecosystems for future generations."

The Coral Ecosystem SciGuide pulls together the best of the internet's resources on coral science, and organizes these resources according to three major theme areas for the classroom: coral reef biology, coral ecosystems, and coral conservation. Every web-based resource included in the SciGuide is aligned with national science education standards for a range of grade levels, and was reviewed and approved by a team of NSTA "master teachers" and NOAA scientists.

In addition to these web-based resources, the SciGuide also provides access to field-tested lesson plans, classroom activities, computer simulations and teaching aids, including samples of student work and lessons learned from pilot teachers. Many of NOAA's online coral reef educational resources are included within the SciGuide.

"A SciGuide is a teacher's pathway to top quality online resources that can be counted on to be effective, up-to-date, accurate and appropriate for their students," said Dr. Gerald Wheeler, NSTA Executive Director. "The Coral Ecosystems SciGuide will be especially useful for early career teachers who urgently need practical ideas, lesson plans, and high-quality curriculum resources to help them teach science."

The SciGuide, which can be accessed at, is part of a larger suite of coral reef resources created by NOAA and NSTA for teachers who want to explore coral reef ecosystem science in their classrooms. Additional teaching and professional development resources include a half-day coral reef science symposium at NSTA's 2006 annual conference, and a series of online web seminars for teachers.

The Coral Ecosystems SciGuide is the first in a series of ocean- and atmospheric-themed SciGuides to be developed by NSTA in collaboration with NOAA. Future topics include "Estuary Ecosystems" and "The Ocean Effect of Weather on Climate."

The Arlington, Virginia-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA's current membership includes more than 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.

NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program supports effective management and sound science to preserve, sustain and restore valuable coral reef ecosystems. The CRCP is a partnership between the NOAA Line Offices working on coral reef issues, including the National Ocean Service (NOS), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and the National Environmental Satellites, Data and Information Service (NESDIS).           

In 2007 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation.  From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. 

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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On the Web:

Coral Reef SciGuide:


NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program:






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