Quahog Bowl 2017 – The Results Are In!

quahog_bowlSaturday Feb. 4, 2017 at UConn Avery Point
Hosted by Connecticut Sea Grant

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) is an academic competition for high school students focusing on ocean-related topics. The competition combines a Jeapordy-style question and answer round with Team Challenge Questions, requiring analysis and synthesis of scientific data and/or concepts. The Quahog Bowl is a regional competition of the NOSB is composed of 16 Connecticut and Rhode Island teams and is held annually at the Avery Point campus of the University of Connecticut. Connecticut Sea Grant organizes and sponsors the competition. This year’s competition was a huge success and came down to a buzzer-beater question with only seconds remaining.

Congratulations to all of the winners and a big thank you to all who participated!

The Ledyard team will go on to compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Corvallis, OR. This year’s theme for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl: Blue Energy: Powering the Planet with our Ocean.

Check out their feature story in The Day (!


Collaborative Research to Improve Coastal Literacy in Connecticut

Collaborative research on teaching and learning practices in high schools could pay off by improving coastal literacy in Connecticut.

“All residents of the state of Connecticut are intimately linked with the coastal ecosystem. Our state’s coastal resources provide food, jobs, and recreational activities” says Michael Finiguerra, a coastal scientist at the University of Connecticut. Yet, he notes, these coasts, like others, are faced with threats from pollution, altered land use, and environmental changes.  A thorough knowledge about the processes that shape and change the coasts is necessary for making good decisions and policies, as well as for voter support.  Finiguerra is a believer in teaching practices that both enrich the teaching experience and keep students interested.  In the ecology classes he teaches, he’s taken students snorkeling, on numerous field trips, including a two-day camping trip to New Hampshire. “I love showing students that what they learn about in the textbooks surrounds them in their everyday lives.” In fact, some students have lamented that Finiguerra’s courses have transformed the outdoors from recreational to educational activities.

field tripFiniguerra and Rachael Gabriel, an educational researcher also from UConn, want to improve Connecticut’s level of coastal literacy–the ability to understand, communicate and make informed decisions based on coastal sciences.  But what factors most influence success in this task?  We really don’t know.  So, working with high school biology teachers, Finiguerra and Gabriel are implementing a Connecticut Sea Grant-funded educational research project designed to find out what factors are correlated with coastal literacy. They are focusing their efforts on high school biology classes, because classes at the high school level offer a broad opportunity to affect the overall future coastal literacy rates for the state.  They also plan on testing their hypotheses to determine if including certain factors in curriculum can increase coastal literacy. “We want to create a roadmap of how schools can maximize their resources to improve coastal literacy values among their students. More informed students are, after all, more likely to protect our valuable coastal resources,” Finiguerra says.

thumbnail_Finiguerra FlyerSo far the team has contacted many STEM teachers through a variety of ways and also set up a booth at the Connecticut High School Teachers 2016 meeting.  They want to attract science teachers interested in participating in the project and networking with peers. It is important that they get a wide range of participating schools, not just those that have marine science programs. Students in science classes taught by those teachers will be assessed on their knowledge of coastal processes. The teaching practices used and other information from surveys will be analyzed with the student assessment results to identify factors involved and approaches that may work best in the classroom. The project has another year to go, and the researchers expect to expand their efforts in 2017.  A web site for this project has been created, at which teachers can find out more and sign on to participate:

Living Treasures: Plants and Animals of Long Island Sound

Wrack Lines - no cover

Lisa Wahle and Nancy Balcom
Connecticut Sea Grant has revised its old favorite, “Living Treasures: Plants and Animals of Long Island Sound” has more beautiful line drawings and updated expanded text. Reading level: middle school. Also in Spanish translation: Tesoros Vivientes. Single copies are FREE! Shipping charges apply for bulk orders. To receive a copy, contact: Office manager

Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher (LISMT) Program

LISSMT Program
Long Island Sound Mentor Teachers (LISMT) assist their peers in incorporating Long Island Sound content into curricula within the scope of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Connecticut educators are strongly influenced by standards in multiple subjects in terms of curriculum, instruction and assessment. With the release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), there is a significant change in the way science is taught and assessed. Since the release, states across the country are considering adoption, in whole or in part, of the NGSS. Connecticut officially adopted NGSS on November 4, 2015 with a unanimous vote of the Connecticut State Board of Education. A four year implementation plan to transition to NGSS is in development. An online short course (Next-Gen Science CT) has been developed to assist Connecticut educators with the transition.

Since its inception in FY02, the Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher (LISMT) program in Connecticut has consistently recruited high quality, creative and respected teachers to assist their peers in incorporating Long Island Sound content into curricula within the scope of the NGSS.

To date, 33 LISMT workshops in Connecticut have utilized 27 LIS mentor teachers to reach 445 formal and informal K-12 educators, and through them, a self-reported 24,992 students in 96 Connecticut cities, towns and regional school districts. With the release of the NGSS, the successful LISMT program is even more relevant. Educators are incorporating Earth systems science, which includes ocean, coastal and climate change topics, into the K-12 curriculum. The LISMT program will ensure that current science-based content will be utilized by mentor teachers and participants during the transition to the new standards. To help with this transition and with LISS support, Sea Grant hosted a three-day summer institute for middle and high school educators in 2014. The institute reached 22 teachers and through them, 2,749 students. The format of the institute was scientific presentations and related hands-on activities that linked current and relevant Long Island Sound science to NGSS Frameworks. The total number of Connecticut cities, towns and regional school districts reached through 2016 via both these programs is 96 or 57%.

Partnered with

Long Island Sound Study

Project number: ET-11

For more information, contact:

Diana Payne, CTSG Education Coordinator

Mentor Teacher Program

A Student’s Guide to the Phytoplankton of Long Island Sound

Wrack Lines - no coverPeg Van Patten, Judy Yaqin Li and Gary H. Wikfors.
A digital guide to the microscopic world of phytoplankton, which make possible all of the creatures in Long Island Sound. A wonderful aid for high school or freshman college biology classes. Funded by the EPA Long Island Sound Study. 60 pages, illlustrated.

Free download. Click here.

Long Island Sound Curricular Resource Guide

LIS Curricular Resource Guide - coverFunded by the EPA Long Island Sound Study and edited by Diana Payne, the 148-page guide is a resource for educators teaching about Long Island Sound. The Guide is divided into five sections: 1) background information about Long Island Sound (LIS), 2) LIS activities, 3) LIS lesson plans, 4) science lessons at a LIS field site, and 5) resources. The lesson plans and field site section were written by CT Sea Grant LIS Mentor Teachers, K-12 teachers who currently utilize LIS as a teaching tool in their curriculum. All lessons are aligned to the CT Science Frameworks, the NY Science Standards, the National Science Education Standards, and the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts. To obtain a print copy, please email Office Manager. Copies of  the Guide are free, but you must pay shipping charges unless you pick up the Guide at the Connecticut Sea Grant office.

Download free PDF copy here in 5 parts:

  1. Background (Pages 1-16)
  2. Long Island Sound Activities (Pages 17-31)
  3. Lesson Plans (Pages 32-73)
  4. Science Lessons at a LIS Field Site (Pages 74-122)
  5. Resources (Pages 123-150)

Salt Marsh Plants of Long Island Sound


R. Scott Warren, Juliana Barrett, and Margaret Van Patten

This 38-page guide provides an overview of salt marsh habitats in the Long Island Sound region, and includes 23 individual plant descriptions with color photos and line drawings. It has a centerfold depicting marsh habitats and the location of salt marsh plants within the marsh. Single copies are FREE to K-12 educators (write on letterhead); please include $2.00 postage per copy. for others, $5.00 per copy plus postage. Please make checks payable to Connecticut Sea Grant. Call 860-405-9128 for bulk orders, and we will estimate shipping charge.

Publication Number CTSG-09-14 and Arboretum Bulletin 40. Contact Office Manager or download order form.

Sound Facts: Fun Facts about Long Island Sound Second Edition


M. Van Patten, M. Moore and E. O’Muin

A fun and colorful, 80-page booklet about our favorite estuary, its biology, geology, chemical and physical parameters, and environmental concerns. This booklet is a compilation of features developed as a collaboration between Connecticut Sea Grant and The Day newspaper. Perfect for the classroom. Reissued in 2009, it contains some new info-graphics such as moon jellies, starfish, and nitrogen in the Sound. 80 pp. $5.00 per copy plus $2.00 postage/shipping for single copies. Please contact us for bulk shipping cost.

Publication Number CTSG-09-17
Contact Office Manager or download order form.

Long Island Sound Educational Resources CD-Rom


This CD is intended for K-12 teachers and educators only. It contains several educational resources for the classroom: a Long Island Sound Image Library, Living Treasures of Long Island Sound, and Sound Facts: fun facts about Long Island Sound. Free to teachers but shipping charges apply. Contact Office Manager or download order form.

This project was funded by the EPA Long Island Sound Study.