MVYLI’s Virtual Field Station Project
Martha’s Vineyard youth will inherit an ocean environment at-risk. A large portion of the Vineyard’s economic strength relies on the unique marine life that surrounds us, yet Island fisheries and coastal habitats are deteriorating at a greater rate every year. If we want to protect our oceans for future generations, then we must educate and engage youth in the process. This year the Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative (MVYLI) continues to focus its educational and outreach goals on ocean sustainability.
The goal of The Virtual Field Station is to educate and engage youth and to inspire Island schools to expand their curriculum to include blue sustainability e-learning opportunities. Clickable elements on the “Virtual Field Station” will allow the user learn from scientists, business owners and community organizers who focus on blue sustainability issues, learn about what is behind the threats to our ocean environment through “hands-on” virtual science experiments, and learn about what we can do to protect our ocean.
• From the Martha’s Vineyard Blue Map, we will design and build the Virtual Field Station.
• Locations on the map will be linked to interviews, talks & research with people from MVYLI’s Ocean’s Video.
• Virtual game-like experiments will be created to appeal to youth while teaching how hard science is connected to problems in our ocean environment.
• Pages will be created “how to be the change” section with guidelines on what ordinary people can do to improve the heath of the oceans.
• A Virtual Blue mentorship program will be designed and conducted via Skype connecting young people with Blue professionals around the world.
• The goal is a “semi-scientist” experience that could be entered at different levels and motivate people to increase their skill level through virtual tutorials and reading also available through the Virtual Field Station. The Virtual Field Station will be linked to Google Earth were users can see areas being harmed or under threat.
• Links will be created to live webcams viewing instruments that measure pollution, salinity, temperature etc.
• E-learning opportunities will be offered in partnership to institutes of higher learning.
• The Virtual Field will host a database of college and university programs and service-learning, travel and scholarship opportunities dedicated to supporting blue sustainability.
The Martha’s Vineyard Blue Map & Virtual Field Station Project builds on the success of the MVYLI Oceans Education Video Project. . This Video Project is an important educational tool to increase understanding of the great work being done by Vineyard organizations on our marine environment. The individuals and organizations researched and interviewed for the Oceans Video are the foundation for the development of the “Blue Map” of Martha’s Vineyard. This digital “Blue Map” will be developed on Google Maps and help guide the development of a “Virtual Field Station.”
MVYLI believes strongly youth of our Island will determine the future of our oceans. Our youth are going to be future leaders, and if trained properly, they will be able to tackle even the most complex problems. Students aspire to a variety of different careers, from policy makers, to scientists, and engineers. All of these professions have the ability to generate solutions, whether it’s the establishment of new policies, or the implementation of a new-engineered device. MVYLI teaches young people it is not one career path that makes a difference, but many different ones working together. Our oceans are in need of help, but if we work together, we can make a difference.
MVYLI will showcase a demo of the Virtual Field Station at the MV Commission Ocean Forum with local, state, national leaders of ocean sustainability. MVYLI youth hope to bring the work of protecting our oceans into Island schools through interaction with the Virtual Field Station. This is an amazing opportunity for our young people’s voices to be heard – and for this project to ultimately lead to funding for a real field station so that more young people will learn how to preserve their Island.