Fun Stuff

NOAA, NOS and Coral Reefs

The Technical Part:

OceanThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an agency of the US Department of Commerce.   NOAA’s goal is to enrich life through science, and to keep Americans informed about the changing environment around them from the sun’s surface to the ocean’s floor.  NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) is the nation’s premier science agency for oceans and coasts.

The Educational Part:

NOS has a section on their website called Five Things You Should Know About Coral Reefs.  It is both nicely presented and educational.

Page One advises that coral reefs are the ocean’s version of land-based rainforests.  With rich biodiversity and thousands of creatures, coral is one of the largest living structures on earth.

Soft coral reef sceneNext, think about the number of people who depend upon reefs.  Do you think the number of people who are totally dependent on reefs is 5 million?  15 million?  20 million?  Or 30 million?  Then guess how much money is generated annually by coral ecosystems?  Both answers can be found on Page Two on the website.

Then NOS invites us to consider the sad news that around 20% of the world’s reefs are damaged beyond recovery, and about 50% are seriously at risk.  Both manmade and natural threats exist, from climate change to marine debris to invasive species.  Check out Page Three for more information.

Page Four mentions the activities of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program.  The program also helps international reefs since, similar to other animals and plants, reefs don’t know what a border is.

Page Five wraps up the section with what you can do to help reefs. Awareness is step one, so check out this section and other parts of their website.  And managing your impact is important, so follow their invitation to check out their Coral Reef Conservation Program.

The Fun Part:

Dolphins jumpingCheck out NOS’s fun section.  In particular, The Migration Game is a fun way to learn about topics including shipping lanes, animal migrations, and other ocean facts.  The game has a few technical twists to learn, but soon you’ll be zipping around the board.

The Ocean Guardian Activity Book is fun for younger kids, while Nim’s Island teaches about special ocean places such as national marine sanctuaries.

If you like seeing storms, the Tornado section shows some fascinating photos.

And so on.  This website is worth poking around.  It is very multi-layered and one trail will lead to another.  Have fun checking it out!

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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