On Saturday September 20th the West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society held an Environmental Weather Education Workshop for Teachers.  This workshop was funded by a Bay Mini-Grant from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.  Seventeen teachers from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

     In this workshop teachers participated in several hands-on activities and watched presentations that illustrated the role of the weather on the environment.  The hands-on activities included

  • “Testing the waters”—teachers tested nitrogen levels in water mixed with fertilized and organic soil, and learned how fertilizer increases nitrogen levels in the water which can lead to harmful algae blooms.
  • “How does pollution get into the water ways”—teachers created model water sheds and examined how rainfall washes pollution from the water shed into local bodies of water.  This pollution contributes to harmful algae blooms.
  •  “Too much rain, too much pollution”—teachers were given an overview of a lesson where students graph monthly average rainfall and water pollution levels.  The lesson ultimately shows the link between high rainfall and nitrogen pollution levels during the summer months that lead to harmful algae blooms.
  • “How the water cycle cleans up pollution”—teachers made a model of the water cycle and saw how the process of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation purifies polluted water.

In addition to these hands-on activities we had three presentations for the teachers.  These included:

  • “How the weather affects harmful algae blooms”—teachers learned about harmful algae blooms (HABs), eutrophication, hypoxia and fish kills, health effects of HABs, and the role of the weather (rainfall, sunshine, cloud cover, and winds) on HABs.
  • “How the cold weather affects marine life”—teachers were shown how the cold weather affects manatees, fish, and sea turtles as well as an overview of the 2009-2010 cold weather manatee mortality event and the meteorological factors behind this very cold winter.
  • “Florida’s climate and invasive species”—teachers learned about various invasive species living in Florida and how Florida’s climate is similar to these species’ native homelands. 

Finally teachers learned about how they and their students can participate in the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRAHS) network.  They were given an official CoCoRAHS rain gauge along with activities to do with their students using rainfall data collected with their classroom rain gauge.

     We ultimately provided teachers with six lesson plans and student worksheets for the four hands-on activities we did in the workshop, Florida’s climate and invasive species, and to use with the classroom rain gauge.  In addition we provided teachers with enough materials for them to do all of the workshop activities in their classrooms.

     The West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society would like to thank the Tampa Bay Estuary Program for their generous Bay Mini-Grant.  Without this grant the workshop and the supplies purchased for the teach

Narrated PowerPoint | Pictures

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