National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation Teams up with
Inwater Research GroupTo Form an International Education Program

Back in April, the National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation contributed $31,350 to Inwater Research Group (IRG) of Jensen Beach, FL. The grant was awarded to IRG for the sole purpose of beginning an education department within the organization.

“We want to be able to support the community through free education,” said Rebecca Mott, Education Program Manager heading up the department. “Our goal is to translate what we do as researchers on a day-to-day basis and make it applicable to the public,” she continues.

One of the avenues the organization sought to tackle this endeavor was by creating dynamic and free lesson plans for K-12 teachers that align with state science standards. The lesson plans get students out of their seats, working solo or in teams to problem solve and learn about marine conservation in a hands-on way. Lessons were developed to put students in the role of biologist and to cater to myriad learning styles. Teachers were able to request the curricula best suited for their class and have it delivered free of charge to their doorstep.

What both organizations thought would be a local effort, quickly became something much bigger. Not only did teachers from all over the U.S. request the lesson plans, but educators from as far reaching as Hong Kong, Guam, and Egypt expressed interest. To date, the curricula has been sent to 33 states, 5 countries and reached more than 33,000 students.

“I have one student with autism that thought today was the best day of his life,” said Mrs. Zavala, teacher at Hamlin Charter Academy in West Hills, CA. She has been implementing the free lesson plans over the past couple of weeks. “I've never seen so much excitement over learning,” she added.

In addition to the lesson plans, IRG is now offering free classroom outreach presentations to local schools. This will allow the organization to bring sea turtle biology and information directly to students. Biologists and educators will be available for career days, science nights, public events, lectures and more, by request. For more information on the education programs now offered through the grant, please contact Rebecca Mott at rmott@inwater.org or visit inwater.org/education.
Infographic displaying the reach of the grant-funded curricula.
Kindergarten class from Hamlin Charter Academy in West Hills, CA
shows their post-lesson excitement for sea turtles.

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