Here in Hawaii we are surrounded by the ocean; however, few students and communities get the exposure to marine science and conservation that is needed to have a better understanding of the ocean and its related science. The number of students interested in pursuing science disciplines has declined over the past two decades, and even fewer local students have pursued marine science degrees. Understanding the processes and resources of the aquatic world is necessary for ecological sustainability, which ultimately leads to economic stability, particularly for communities whose economic foundation relies heavily on their ocean resources. COSEE Island Earth hopes to contribute to changing this divide by partnering with other local entities to engage communities and schools in active science learning for an ocean literate population. It is critical that all people have access to the resources and materials needed for ocean literacy in their homes, in formal and informal educational settings, in whatever form is necessary to transmit, help them understand, and incorporate the information into their decision-making.
COSEE Island Earth values many was of learning and understands that, in order to encourage stewardship of the ocean, education must draw from all facets of knowledge including the cultural contexts of the location. The ocean serves as a source of water, food, medicine, jobs, transportation, recreation, and energy; it controls climate and weather. Because of the importance of the ocean to the island communities of the Pacific, science education should involve teaching students to apply ocean literacy concepts, in a way that makes sense, to improve their own lives. COSEE Island Earth hopes to shorten the time between discovery and transmission of new knowledge to students and the public by brining scientists and their research in direct contact with schools and communities. Our name, COSEE ‘Island Earth’ emphasizes the important land-sea connection, and highlights both the physically and philosophically association with the ocean. We hope to achieve these connections through some of our unique and collaborative programs.