Explore Earth: CCRI - Blue Carbon
Thursday 04/01/2021
6:00 pm ET (3:00 pm PT)
FREE 1-hour Webinar
Educators in Grades 9-12

The NASA Educator Professional Development Collaborative at
Texas State University in conjunction with NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI) is providing a 1-hour webinar.

Join us in a conversation about Blue Carbon.  Learn how coastal wetlands, such as salt marshes, mangroves, and tidal freshwater wetlands provide a variety of ecosystem services.  They have the capacity to be a major sink of greenhouse gases since they store carbon in plant biomass, they are a source of great biodiversity, and serve as nurseries to a myriad of fish and other organisms.  Wetlands also protect our coasts and serve as natural water filtration systems.  They are, however, susceptible to human exploitation.  They are threatened by agriculture, drainage, commercial development, and climate change.

This unit has been aligned with NASA’s mission to expand our knowledge and scientific understanding of Earth as a system and its response to natural and human-induced changes and to improve our ability to predict climate, weather, and natural hazards.  The lessons are intended to provide students with background information on the importance of salt marshes as ecosystems, emphasizing the ecosystem services they provide as well as their intrinsic value.  Specifically, students are taking a deeper look at blue carbon, the carbon that is stored largely in sediment linked to coastal waters.  

Literature and data review are incorporated in order to give students firsthand experience reading, analyzing and presenting actual scientific research.  This would then be the impetus to have students create their own methods and protocols to design an experiment to probe for depth at a local saltmarsh or tidal freshwater marsh.  The rationale behind this is that students have a stake in the process and ownership of the design.  Finally, the culmination of this unit is in having students utilize ArcGIS to map local wetlands, compare and contrast wetland loss over time, and to conduct computational and applied mathematics.  Students then take data collected out in the field and work with ArcGIS to calculate carbon storage of the local wetland.   An alternative capstone project is included for a virtual environment where students can create their own ArcGIS Blue Carbon Story Map, researching and mapping a wetland from their home country or of significance to them.  This project serves three purposes—to emphasize the global importance of wetlands, international efforts towards conservation, and to also celebrate student diversity and inclusion.

This unit incorporates an abundance of NASA resources, such as those from Next Gen STEM, NASA Science Activation Learner Resources, NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, NASA’s Global Climate Change Vital Signs of the Climate, GLOBE, Earthdata, and NASA eclips.


Unit Plan on "Blue Carbon" can be found here:


This unit plan has successfully passed NASA SMD Independent Product Review.


For more information about this unit or CCRI go thttps://www.giss.nasa.gov/edu/ccri/ or contact:


Carol Wang-Mondaca | carol.wang-mondaca@nasa.gov

Matthew Pearce | matthew.d.pearce@nasa.gov

Rosalba Giarratano | rosalba.n.giarratano@nasa.gov


Check out another CCRI Webinar on 4/8/2021 at 4:30 pm ET

https://na.eventscloud.com/608635 on Urban Surface Temperatures and the Urban Heat Islands


Carol Wang-Mondaca currently teaches Science Research at Martin Van Buren High School (MVBHS) in Queens, NY. She did not start her career path in teaching, however. Carol was an Editor of Medicine for a large scientific publishing company for many years. Then one day, while riding the subway, she saw an ad that read “Do you remember your third grade teacher’s name? Who will remember yours?” That sparked something in her that day and she proceeded to join the NYC Teaching Fellows. While teaching was not her first career, her love for science and investigation has been a constant throughout her life. Carol has been teaching for 16 years, and her goals have always been constant- to inspire our future generation to love and pursue science. She loves working with underrepresented and underserved groups. In the summer of 2018, she was awarded an Earthwatch Kindle Fellowship that allowed her and 7 other NYC public school teachers to go to Little Cayman to study endangered coral reefs. She saw firsthand the result of climate change on the bleaching of coral reefs and the surge in algae that appeared. This trip reignited her passion for research in the field and reinforced her urgency to educate our future minds in climate change. In fact, in the Spring of 2019, she took 10 students on a research expedition to the Wrigley Marine Science Center, University of Southern California to participate in studies that look at how climate change has affected marine life along the Catalina coast. By joining the CCRI team on Climate Change in the Hudson Estuary, she is hoping to incorporate NASA resources throughout the year in a new Science Research class that focuses on environmental studies. In March 2020, with Carol leading the school team, MVBHS hosted a NASA In-Flight Education Downlink where students connected with astronaut Jessica Meir aboard the space station for a live question-and-answer session about living and working in space. This is Carol’s third year in CCRI and on Dr. Peteet’s team. Her first unit plan on the Wetlands also successfully passed NASA’s SMD Independent Product Review.

Barbie Buckner is a 20+ year STEM classroom teacher with a Doctorate’s Degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Louisville. Her research interest included the impact of technology on student achievement and teacher behavior. Buckner recently served as a 2013-14 Einstein Fellow at the National Science Foundation Education and Human Resources Directorate where she collaborated with colleagues on learning, learning environments, boarding participating and workforce development. Barbie sees education as her calling and has spent her life sharing her love for learning with everyone around her. Knowing that today’s student will compete in a global economy, Barbie says that “It is imperative that today’s students are prepared with consistent rigorous and relevant standards that produce more STEM majors, particularly women, to keep this great nation at the forefront in technology, innovation, and advancement.”