The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partnered with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education's 21st Century Community Learning Centers program (21st CCLC) to bring exciting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities to student participants. This nationwide partnership included programs offered at 37 21st CCLC sites across the seven geographic areas served by the NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program. Participating students had opportunities to actively explore and better understand the aquatic ecosystem in their region during out-of-school time.
Students at 21st CCLC sites that participated in the NOAA program took part in local field studies that incorporated components of NOAA Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs). Through MWEEs, students became citizen scientists — members of the public who collect and analyze data on the natural world as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists. Working directly with scientists around the country, these students increased their understanding of watersheds and related ocean, coastal, riverine, estuarine and Great Lakes ecosystems as well as strategies to help protect and restore these aquatic environments.