|NOAA Diving Center Manager, Doug Schleigher |
(outside the tank) and NDC Training Specialist,
Zach Hileman (inside the tank) take
questions from students.
The ninth annual NOAA Science Camp was held in Seattle in July 2011. During the sessions, which ran for two weeks from July 18-22 and July 25-29, a diverse group of middle-school campers learned about NOAA science and careers through a variety of hands-on education activities led by Scientists from nine NOAA offices.
The Diving Center hosted the campers three days a week for two hours. The campers took turns both driving and diving in the Jeff chamber on a simulated 60’ dive. They were shown different types of diving equipment, including SCUBA and surface supplied, and they had the opportunity to try on SCUBA equipment as well as breathe off an AGA mask. They also observed divers in the training tower. The divers were outfitted with comms so the campers could ask questions.
Every week, a group of campers would come back to the Diving Center as a team to conduct a mock dive in hopes to glean useful information about a hypothetical environmental incident – a fish kill discovered on a Puget Sound beach. They took turns searching the parking lot in blacked-out masks to simulate a zero visibility dive. The campers found evidence of a boat wreck and on the final dive, discovered a sunken boat. They were encouraged to use problem solving skills that divers often use and work together as buddy teams to convey what they had found to topside via radios.
NOAA Science Camp’s unique approach demonstrates NOAA’s wide diversity of science in one integrated educational camp, where campers and their families learn how NOAA offices work together to provide information and address environmental issues which affect their daily lives.