2017 Synthesis Unit immerses students in Ocean Health
Before the Ocean Health Synthesis Unit, I knew vaguely about ocean acidification and temperature changes due to climate change. The Synthesis Unit opened my eyes to how these things happened and the impact they have had on both humans and marine life. – 10th grade
Anacapa’s mission to engage students in the big issues that affect all of us was on full display for the first three days of the new semester. Our 2017 Synthesis Unit Ocean Health brought 17 world-class scientists and environmentalists into Elliott Hall to speak to our students and faculty about the health of oceans worldwide. The theme for this year’s Synthesis Unit was created in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, which generously provided educational resources and three speakers via SKYPE from Seattle, Mexico, and Washington, D.C.
Ocean Health probed the impacts humans are having on the oceans of the world and ways to improve the health of the oceans. In addition to the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, the following organizations helped bring the world into our students’ lives: the UCSB National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS); UCSB’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program; UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management; the California Academy of Sciences; the Southwest Fisheries Science Center; the UCSB Sustainable Fisheries Group; the Ocean Media Institute; Heal the Ocean; Santa Barbara Channelkeeper; and Ocean Futures Society.
Students are now busy working on their individual research reports and group film projects, which include the following six groups: Garbage, Over fishing, Habitat destruction, Chemical pollution, Warming, and Acidification.
Additional Student Testimonials:
I learned that there is no ocean space untouched by humans. That is important because it means that we have done more damage than I realized. I also learned that some coral reefs are dying. I think this is important because coral reefs are diverse ecosystems. Without the coral, the other species will die. – 7th grade
Before the Synthesis Unit, I saw these [climate change and pollution] as problems that can be resolved quickly, but it is not so easy. Everyone has to do something to make our ocean healthy. – 9th grade
One of the most important points I learned is how I can personally monitor my use of plastics, and the need to be hyper vigilant about where my fish comes from, to only eat organic, sustainable fish. – 12th grade
As man became such an important influence on all our surroundings, human impact is the major cause of any ocean changes. It is fearful to think about our capability of destruction, and that should inspire us to do more to protect the environment, the best we can. – 12th grade