2012, Oceanography 25(1):286–298, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2012.28
Liz Goehring | Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
Véronique Robigou | COSEE-Ocean Learning Communities and REVEL Project, University of Washington, School of Oceanography, Seattle, WA, USA
Katherine Ellins | Institute for Geophysics, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
The "Ridge" community has pioneered not only scientific exploration of and research on the global mid-ocean ridge system but also innovative and attractive ways of reaching out to the public with fascinating stories of scientific discovery and cutting-edge deep-sea technology. This article summarizes 30 years of education and public outreach (EPO) projects conducted by scientists and outreach professionals in the Ridge community to highlight the key principles of effective EPO, such as the importance of targeting specific audiences' needs and expectations. Other elements discussed include collaboration with professionals outside of the scientific community, increased participation of individuals from underrepresented groups in science, and rigorous evaluation to strengthen the impact of future programs. The article also explores how cyber technology and observatory science offer new opportunities for sharing discoveries as they occur and involving the public in the research endeavor. By reaching audiences on a more direct and personal level, these novel approaches may hold the most promise for increasing public appreciation for the marine environment. Scientists' perspectives on EPO programs, lessons, learned, and personal benefits address the question "Why should I do outreach?" Ridge EPO programs highlighted include (1) "Research and Education: Volcanoes, Exploration and Life" (REVEL)—a seagoing, research-focused professional development program for K–12 teachers; (2) "Why is Earth Habitable?"—an iconic American Museum of Natural History exhibit; (3) "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea" and "Aliens of the Deep," two popular IMAX films; (4) "Dive & Discover," an online resource and expedition archive; (5) Extreme 2000, Student Experiments at Sea (SEAS), and From Local to Extreme Environments (FLEXE), three innovative education projects for K–12 students; (6) the Ridge 2000 Distinguished Lecturer Series targeting institutions without marine science programs; and (7) "Beyond the Edge of the Sea," a traveling exhibit of vent-ecosystem illustrations.
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