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Clay S. Tucker, Jill C. Trepanier, Pamela B. Blanchard, Ed Bush, James W. Jordan, Mark J. Shafer, and John Andrew Nyman

Abstract

Environmental education is key in solving environmental problems and for producing a future workforce capable of solving issues of climate change. Over the last two decades, the Coastal Roots Program at Louisiana State University (LSU) has reached more than 26,676 K-12 students in Louisiana to teach them environmental science and has brought them to restoration sites to plant 194,336 school-grown trees and grasses. The co-directors of Coastal Roots are continually searching for opportunities to enrich the experience of teachers and students in connecting school subjects, Coastal Roots, and stewardship. In school year 2018–2019, students in five local schools entered a pilot program to learn how tree-ring science informs environmental science broadly. During their scheduled restoration planting trips, students were asked to collect the following tree data: tree cores, tree height, tree diameter, tree species, and global positioning system location points. Datawere given to scientists atLSUfor preliminary analysis, and graphical representation of the data were shown to the students for their interpretation. Results from this program indicate that bringing students into the field and teaching them a newscientific skill improved their understanding of environmental science and their role in coastal restoration, and tree-ring data showed significant correlations to various climate parameters in Louisiana. Additionally, we find that bringing this knowledge to teachers allows the knowledge to spread for multiple generations of students. Here we present tree-ring data from this project, lessons learned during the pilot program, advantages to student-based citizen science, and recommendations for similar programs.

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Nirnimesh Kumar, James A. Lerczak, Tongtong Xu, Amy F. Waterhouse, Jim Thomson, Eric J. Terrill, Christy Swann, Sutara H. Suanda, Matthew S. Spydell, Pieter B. Smit, Alexandra Simpson, Roland Romeiser, Stephen D. Pierce, Tony de Paolo, André Palóczy, Annika O’Dea, Lisa Nyman, James N. Moum, Melissa Moulton, Andrew M. Moore, Arthur J. Miller, Ryan S. Mieras, Sophia T. Merrifield, Kendall Melville, Jacqueline M. McSweeney, Jamie MacMahan, Jennifer A. MacKinnon, Björn Lund, Emanuele Di Lorenzo, Luc Lenain, Michael Kovatch, Tim T. Janssen, Sean R. Haney, Merrick C. Haller, Kevin Haas, Derek J. Grimes, Hans C. Graber, Matt K. Gough, David A. Fertitta, Falk Feddersen, Christopher A. Edwards, William Crawford, John Colosi, C. Chris Chickadel, Sean Celona, Joseph Calantoni, Edward F. Braithwaite III, Johannes Becherer, John A. Barth, and Seongho Ahn

Abstract

The inner shelf, the transition zone between the surfzone and the midshelf, is a dynamically complex region with the evolution of circulation and stratification driven by multiple physical processes. Cross-shelf exchange through the inner shelf has important implications for coastal water quality, ecological connectivity, and lateral movement of sediment and heat. The Inner-Shelf Dynamics Experiment (ISDE) was an intensive, coordinated, multi-institution field experiment from September–October 2017, conducted from the midshelf, through the inner shelf, and into the surfzone near Point Sal, California. Satellite, airborne, shore- and ship-based remote sensing, in-water moorings and ship-based sampling, and numerical ocean circulation models forced by winds, waves, and tides were used to investigate the dynamics governing the circulation and transport in the inner shelf and the role of coastline variability on regional circulation dynamics. Here, the following physical processes are highlighted: internal wave dynamics from the midshelf to the inner shelf; flow separation and eddy shedding off Point Sal; offshore ejection of surfzone waters from rip currents; and wind-driven subtidal circulation dynamics. The extensive dataset from ISDE allows for unprecedented investigations into the role of physical processes in creating spatial heterogeneity, and nonlinear interactions between various inner-shelf physical processes. Overall, the highly spatially and temporally resolved oceanographic measurements and numerical simulations of ISDE provide a central framework for studies exploring this complex and fascinating region of the ocean.

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