Students at the Johnson Elementary School complete field studies as part of the school’s Marine Science program.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
NAHANT — The Johnson Elementary School is the recipient of this year’s Ocean Stewardship Award, which is granted annually by the New England Aquarium to a program that aspires to take an active role in protecting the ocean.
Science teacher Meredith Tibbo and Nahant Education Foundation president Elizabeth Carlson will attend the New England Aquarium’s World’s Ocean’s Day to accept the award on June 4.
“Having the Johnson School teachers and Northeastern University’s outreach staff recognized in this way is a true honor,” said Principal Kevin Andrews in a statement. “Many in the community have worked hard to connect the students’ learning to the many natural resources in their town.”
Last year, Tibbo was awarded the Massachusetts Marine Science Educator of the Year award by Massachusetts Marine Educators.
The school has partnered with Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center to develop a schoolwide academic focus on marine science, ocean literacy, and maritime history, promoting the use of these areas in all disciplines and activities.
Each class participates in three or more marine science lab activities annually, ranging from learning how marine animals use their senses, to food webs and adaptation on rocky shores.
Classes take full advantage of their coastal surroundings and visit sites with their teachers and Northeastern’s outreach educator, Val Perini. The Council on Aging supports the effort by providing a bus for travel.
Perini and the university have brought programs to the classroom, including a Skype session with a scientist in Antarctica.
The school also uses a community garden behind the building to bring lessons outside. Each grade level maintains a garden bed and students learn about everything from growing to plant anatomy and the social studies connection between gardening and native inhabitants of the area.
The Nahant Education Foundation provides a marine science program with a different focus at each grade level, ranging from Pre-K through grade 6 and provides funding for much of the marine science programming at the school.
Bridget Turcotte can reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.