Ocean Literacy Is Goal For New Aquarium School Liaison

November 24, 2009

Chicago native Rachael Goetzelman has been chosen as the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s School Liaison Partnership Coordinator, a new position created to assist teachers with bringing marine science into their classrooms. Goetzelman was hired by the Oregon Coast Aquarium and is working closely with project partners, Oregon Sea Grant and the Lincoln County School District. “My mission is to enable teachers to make marine science an integral part of their curriculum, says Goetzelman. “I hope that this position makes it easier for teachers to take ownership of the school district’s mission to create the best prepared oceanic science students in the country.”

In 2006, the Governors of California, Oregon and Washington released the West Coast Governor’s Agreement on Ocean Health. This regional collaboration seeks to conserve ocean resources with an emphasis on expanding education. Locally, Lincoln County has followed the example of the state level to make ocean literacy a priority in our schools. Partnerships have been developed with agencies such as the Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Marine Discovery Tours and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; the collaboration is eager to see the benefits to students of using ocean science as a regular part of curriculum.

 “This is a powerful partnership – it can really allow for ocean literacy to become a part of the culture of this area, Oregon and beyond,” said Goetzelman. “It will also act as a great model for us to expand our efforts beyond Lincoln County with additional partners in the future.”

Goetzelman attended the University of Dayton, in Ohio, where she studied biology and geology. She is working toward her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Idaho and is currently developing her thesis about volunteer motivation and how it affects the conservation message of docents.

Goetzelman said she loves the environment of the Oregon coast and she is impressed with the shared sense of mission at the Aquarium. “The people here are wonderful and so invested in what they’re doing. I really enjoy watching visitors’ expressions as they see the sea lions being fed. To witness this power the Aquarium has, to touch people and get them excited about something. I hope it inspires people to conserve our precious marine environment. When you make people happy, you compel them to action,” said Goetzelman.

The new position of School Liaison Partnership Coordinator was made possible by generous grants from The Oregon Community Foundation, Collins Foundation, Pacific Power Foundation, and the Lincoln County School District. Guy DiTorrice provided a leadership gift and organized a Lincoln County-wide fundraising effort that reached many individuals who gave generously to this new project.