Hampton University in Norfolk, Virginia recently hosted a professional development workshop for K-12 teachers in Puerto Rico, focusing on the topic of African dust storms and their impact on the environment of islands in the Caribbean Sea. The workshop, held July 13-17 at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, featured instructors from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, and Kennedy Space Center; Hampton University; Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES); and the Science on Wheels Educational Center of Puerto Rico. Dr. Edward Celarier of NASA GSFC and the University of Maryland - Baltimore County demonstrated how to utilize Giovanni to view and analyze atmospheric aerosol data acquired by NASA satellite sensors.
The twelve teacher participants in this workshop were able to visit the AERONET site in La Parguera, Puerto Rico and a talk to an AERONET scientist. The group also visited La Parguera to see the mangroves, and snorkeled to observe coral reefs. At night, participants were taken by boat to one of La Parguera's bioluminescent bays to witness the bioluminescence of dinoflagellates. All of these field experiences allowed the educators to see changing environments and note the impact of climate change and African dust on Puerto Rico's rain forests and marine realms. One of the activities of the workshop was to learn how to make sun photometer measurements of light transmission through the atmosphere, and how to correlate these measurements with NASA satellite data.
Another field trip took the group to Arecibo, the largest radio telescope in the world. Educators were taken in a basket to the catwalk 750 feet above the radio telescope disk, and heard a talk by a local scientist on the work being done at Arecibo.
Read more about the workshop, and see images taken at various workshop activities. (This site also includes workshop presentations).