SCIENCE-BASED OUTREACH

Science-based Outreach

The United Nations declared the period 2021-2030 as the "Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development", emphasizing the need to address fundamental issues related to the Ocean and the future of humanity on a scientific basis and knowledge. The seventh main goal of this “Ocean Decade” puts Ocean Literacy in the center and affirms the need for: Inspiring and attractive oceans whose functioning and value for well-being and sustainable development are understood by society.

The science-based outreach activities linked to the REFINE project are in line with this objective and REFINE wants to develop a major contribution to the Ocean Literacy movement. Mainly dedicated to a non-scientific audience and with a focus on reaching out to young people, the REFINE team thus elaborates specific activities and resources that shall find their place in a formal but also an informal educational context. Taking benefit from the know-how and the outreach platforms our team developed over the past decade (see Culture Ocean), its approaches combine an adapted online dissemination with face-to-face communication in order to enhance Ocean Literacy.

One of the main objectives of the program mon ocean & moi is to generate awareness and interest in Ocean topics by sharing oceanographic research with a wider public. The program favors a participative approach and its pluri-disciplinary team is composed of (future) researches, engineers, science communicators, web-designers as well as school and university teachers and their students. Thanks to the multiple supports at diverse levels (e.g. European projects, educational authorities, COI/UNESCO), the program proposes many activities. It is based on an online dissemination of scientific information including educational resources (e.g. animations, pictures and maps), hands-on activities as well as quizzes and games.

The program puts an emphasis on topics like Ocean observation and tools, seasons in the Ocean, marine plankton and the Southern Ocean. Within the context of the REFINE project, the team seeks to use this unique opportunity to additionally put into light the mysteries the Ocean Twilight Zone.

The science outreach program adopt a float is aimed at school students of all ages and from all over the world! It offers the opportunity to adopt an underwater robot of the profiling float type. The trajectory of the float brings the students closer to an oceanic zone (e.g. the Mediterranean or the North Atlantic) and, in real-time, allows them to participate in the observations collected by this float as well as to the sciences that are associated.

When adopting a profiling float, the school students and their teachers become part of the "Ocean Voyagers" community of participating classes. Via the web platform specific to this program, each classroom has access to educational resources including an interactive map. Joining the adopt a float adventure also means to communicate, exchange and meet with Ocean science professionals!

The team accompanying this program is committed to foster an ocean-literate generation. It thus contributes with inspiring and pedagogic activities to enhance student’s and teacher’s knowledge and understanding of the marine environment.

Within this context, thanks to the REFINE project, a focus on cutting-edge Ocean observations becomes possible, and the topic of carbon cycles will be highlighted. For example, the use of highly instrumented profiling floats equipped with a camera analyzing zooplankton and collecting unprecedented data for scientific purposes, makes it promising to share a better understanding of the role of small marine animals in contributing to carbon sequestration with the wider public.

Frontiers for Young Minds is an online journal written by scientists and reviewed by a board of young people aged from 8 to 15. During the review of the manuscripts that either focus on core concepts or new findings, experienced scientists take the role of science mentors and accompany the kids and teens in this science-typic process.

While this approach is shared with the other Frontiers for Young Minds collections, “The Ocean” Collection particularly centers on ocean-related issues. Launched in 2019 and running through the whole “Ocean Decade”, this collection aims to provide young readers with information that will help them better understand the Ocean and its central role in nature and our lives. The editors (two members of the REFINE team are among the five funder editors that run this collection since its creation) hope to empower them to make informed decisions in these challenging times and to commit to protecting, studying, and appreciating all of its riches.

Within this framework, the REFINE team strongly contributes, and wishes to add to the perspective a progressively increasing awareness to Ocean Twilight Zone topics e.g. in soliciting specific papers.