Welcome to the new NEED Project Blog! Our teachers and students asked for more resources on our website and more details about the things we do each day to create NEED’s great curriculum, teacher training, and programming. NEED’s Creative Director, Johnna Hetrick came to me recently and said, “Why don’t you blog?” I looked at her and thought, “Who will read it?” Johnna continued to encourage and thus, the NEED Project blog was born. Often, I’ll have teachers, students and partners ask questions about a Day in the Life at NEED, so this first blog is dedicated to my travels and meetings last week – all dedicated to making NEED stronger, expanding our curriculum capabilities, and delivering great training and curriculum to classrooms.

Last week, I was fortunate to be the guest of Randall Luthi, President of the National Ocean Industries Association, (noia.org) at NOIA’s Fall Meeting in Colorado Springs, CO. Randall joined the NEED Board of Directors in May 2011, and appreciates the 20+ year history that NOIA and NEED have in partnership. Luckily, NOIA hosts their fall meeting in October each year – coinciding with the U.S Department of Energy’s Energy Awareness Month.

So together, NEED and NOIA host the NOIA Energy Awareness Month Teacher Workshop as part of the Fall Meeting.  You may be a little surprised that we hosted a workshop about offshore energy in Colorado. A totally land-locked state.  Well, we did, and over 45 educators joined us to learn about energy development on the nation’s outer continental shelf.  Teachers were introduced to the process and technology needed to develop oil, natural gas, wind, wave, and tidal energy resources offshore.  Hands-on activities were integrated with speakers from many areas of the energy industry.  Randall Luthi did a primer on offshore energy production – oil, gas, and renewables – and how NOIA sees the future of offshore energy. Kevin McEvoy, CEO of Oceaneering, shared about remotely operated vehicles (ROVS) and the work that Oceaneering does in the deepest water – helping oil and natural gas producers bring resources to market safely – going to depths that humans can’t go. As a former diver for the United States Navy, Kevin knows how amazing life beneath the water’s surface is. He shared the website SerpentProject with teachers to see the great photos of undersea organisms that have been found with ROV cameras over the years.

Kevin’s presentation was followed by Chip Gill representing the International Association of Geophysical Contractors and the men and woman who work offshore in seismic technology – helping find energy resources. IAGC’s membership is vital to the search for oil and natural gas and to the future of renewables offshore too.  Geoscience is important to all aspects of energy in our oceans.

The final presentation of the day came from Judith Roos of the nonprofit organization, the Marine Spill Response Corporation. Judith flew in early to chat with the teachers participating in the workshop to share more about how MSRC assists in the cleanup of marine spills from any kind of incident, a boating accident, a tanker accident, oil and gas production blow-outs (like the Mocondo spill of April 2010) and other incidents in our waters. Judith’s participation was obviously engaging to teachers who want to know more about what happened offshore following the fire and destruction of the Deepwater Horizon. Her presentation, soon to be available on NEED, helped explain all the tools and resources used to clean up a marine spill.

The workshop was, in a single word, EXCELLENT! Seldom do teachers get the opportunity to meet and discuss energy development with those working each day in the industry. I am glad that NEED and NOIA work together to bring the best of the best together to share more about energy with local teachers. How do I know the workshop was EXCELLENT?  Because we ran over 30 minutes, but teachers stayed because they were having a great time!

NEED workshops are fun, engaging, and cover a variety of topics. Come join us at one near you! Visit NEED to find upcoming workshops near you.

Want to hear more about NEED in a future blog? What interests you? Are there individuals that you’d like to hear from in our Blog space?

Join us! Send your blog in about your classroom activities, your organization’s work in energy, or your favorite NEED activities. Send a Word file to info@need.org.