I spend a good amount of my time giving lectures and presentations at many leading universities throughout the United States on shipwreck exploration. The youthful enthusiasm of these students for viewing a nautical research expedition unfold in front of their eyes is truly an uplifting experience for me. I have always had a wonderful reaction from the audience to my presentations and have been quite intrigued by the diverse questions that accompany each talk. Obviously with the proliferation of underwater exploration documentaries on television, many student have a vast interest in undersea adventure.
Since I have been involved with close to 50 television documentaries (and growing), it is very easy for me to see the correlation between these underwater television specials and the interests in oceanography, marine sciences and nautical archaeology. On Monday, I presented my latest Titanic documentary to the Hunterdon Central Regional High School's novel Oceanography course taught by Ms. Kathleen Keoughan. I must commend this high school for putting together an introductory "college course" for oceanography to expose its students to the wonders of the sea. A point that I was very fascinated about was that the interest and enthusiasm that I have found at such schools like Columbia, Penn State, Rutgers, Harvard etc. was manifested in the same eyes of these talented high school students. Congratulations to those students enrolled in this course and the teacher, Ms. Keoughan, for putting together such a fascinating syllabus!
Scientists know more about the far side of the moon and the planet Mars than we know about the deep ocean floor. There are many excellent organizations that specialize in K-12 ocean education that could assist your high school or even middle school to have oceanography or marine sciences taught at your schools. Two groups that I have done work with is NOAA and their coordinator is Paula Keener-Chavis - National Education Coordinator/Marine Biologist NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and the Mote Marine Laboratory headed up by Dr David Niebuhr and their coordinator is Lorienne White. Another great source for ocean education is CORE - Consortium for Ocean Research and Education, a Washington, DC non-profit educational group that represents many leading academic and institutional oceanographic facilities throughout the country. Please visit these sites and see why it is so important to get the study of our oceans to our next generation. My thanks to Hunterdon Central for a thoroughly enjoyable experience!