Jon White – From the President’s Office: 11-25-2019

2019-11-25T16:55:38+00:00 November 25, 2019|

Giving Thanks – Ocean Legacies from Those Who Teach

A few weeks ago, in my Veterans Day President’s Corner, I reflected on the exemplary military and scientific service of Dr. Eugene Haderlie. I have been incredibly touched by the outpouring of notes from ONW readers and members of Dr. Haderlie’s family expressing gratitude and sharing additional reflections. These moving and thought-provoking notes have led me to think on the amazing legacies educators of all levels leave behind in the students they teach and mentor and how often they probably don’t even realize the life-changing impact they have had.

For my part, a whole host of dedicated teachers, from kindergarten though graduate school, are chiefly responsible for the knowledge, interest, and passionate dedication to ocean science and technology I have felt throughout the vast majority of my life. On top of that, lessons I learned in the “three R’s”— reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic — and many, many other topics related to academic, professional, and life skills have been responsible for my success in the Navy and now at COL. (This included a very patient 8th grade school English teacher; amazingly, she was able to teach me the proper use of conjunctive adverbs.)

I know everyone reading this can probably call out teachers and others in the education profession who have had profound impacts on their lives and successes. When I consider the amazing discoveries and advances humanity has made in the ocean and Earth sciences over the past several decades, I know they can be attributed to individuals who dedicated their time, resources, and often the majority of their lives to ensuring the success of others through their teaching. I agree wholeheartedly with Craig Strang, past president of the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) who posited in a recent NMEA newsletter that great educators teach students “to think critically, to form explanations based on evidence, to evaluate the strength of evidence, to engage in civil discourse, and to argue from evidence with integrity,” all of which reach far beyond the subject they teach. I am optimistic that the countless educators who inspire knowledge, imagination, and innovation will allow us to overcome the challenges that face our ocean planet in the coming years. I can think of no greater legacy for an educator, and I am truly grateful and humbled for those committed to this profession. I hope everyone will join me this Thanksgiving in thanking those teachers who have influenced your lives for the better. A very Happy Thanksgiving to them — they have certainly earned it.

Member Highlight
Can the long-lost abalone make a comeback in California?
How to save the white abalone has become a scientific puzzle. No one had thought to study them when they were abundant: What do they eat? How often do they reproduce? By the time this information was crucial to their survival, there were few left to study. Scientists, aquarists, abalone farmers and retired divers have spent years trading notes, searching for wild abalone, and getting them to reproduce. This project is a collaboration between several groups, including the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory and Bay Foundation of the Aquarium of the Pacific.

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