At the end of every Digital WAVE session, we celebrate the students’ accomplishment with students, Museum staff, invited families and friends … and of course, chocolate cake! At our recent Family Event at the end of this year’s spring session, students presented the virtual world projects they’d created, which were designed to illustrate water pathways and the impacts of climate change on south Florida. Throughout the program, students gathered information for their projects through all kinds of fun activities. They went on a field trip to Anne Kolb Nature Center, met in-person with University of Miami scientist Dr. Arthur Mariano, met Dr. Annmarie Eldering of NASA via virtual worlds, conducted their own research, and built model aquifers. They even met virtually with students from Maloka Interactive Science Center in Colombia, who were also working on water and climate related projects, through the Museum’s SCEnaRioS project. The final result was truly impressive, because not only did each group create south Florida environments like the Everglades or downtown Miami, but all of the groups worked together to make these environments fit in one interactive map of south Florida. All of the students received well-deserved certificates of completion, not to mention some yummy cake.
Many young people wonder… How do I take what I’m interested in, and turn it into a career? For Dr. Arthur Mariano, it was a a simple love of fishing and being on the water that sparked his career. He is one of the world’s leading experts in ocean dynamics, and is a Professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Dr. Mariano recently came to speak to students in the Museum’s Digital Wave program about his work and his career path. His research concentrates on modeling and predicting ocean variability, and he spoke to students about various research methods of understanding ocean dynamics. Methods include numerical circulation models as well as direct measurements using a system of buoys and satellite observations. Two applications of this knowledge really made students stop and think about how science applies to our everyday lives. 1) How can we best predict and stop the spread of oil after a spill? 2) How do we find someone if they’re lost at sea? The answer to both questions is: Go to scientists like Dr. Mariano, who can predict, based on knowledge of the ocean and currents, how the oil is moving through the water, or where to search for the missing boater. And all of this knowledge, and this amazing career, all started with a young boy’s love of fishing.
Dr. Mariano and Digital Wave participants