(Wickford, Rhode Island – August 15,  2022) —  Local educator Shannon Donovan joins a deep ocean exploration expedition to reveal seafloor formations and features in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Central Pacific Ocean.

Donovan was competitively selected from educators nationwide to sail aboard Ocean Exploration Trustʻs (OET) Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus for their interest in ocean science, technology, and serving as a role model for learners and communities worldwide. They will spend the next weeks communicating discoveries and learning to acquire, manage, and process seafloor mapping data and to reveal never-before-seen seafloor landscapes like mountains and ridges under the ocean. Donovan joins the ship in mid-August in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi for 23-days exploring Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) in the Central Pacific Ocean. 

This expedition — Luʻuaeaahikiikapāpahākuʻiwawā — focuses on collecting high-resolution mapping data across unmapped deep water regions of PMNM. Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is the largest contiguous fully protected conservation area in the U.S. and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. It is a site of significant natural and cultural heritage, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.  This expedition will travel to the expanded boundary of PMNM north of Kamole (Laysan Island) focusing on areas prioritized by the federal NOAA mapping strategy and contributing to national and global campaigns to create a complete map of the ocean floor. The Luʻuaeaahikiikapāpahākuʻiwawā expedition is sponsored by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the NOAA Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute. Luʻuaeaahikiikapāpahākuʻiwawā is OETʻs sixth expedition into the region of Papahānaumokuākea in the last two years.

“On this expedition, I am excited to learn how the mapping team transforms and manages vast quantities of data to build beautifully detailed maps that will guide all future exploration and management in this region. I have recently been studying data science at URI, so I am very excited to apply some of what I have learned to assist in creating these amazing maps. I look forward to sharing my experience with teachers and students from all over the world,” said Donovan.

Local schools, summer camps, community events, and families can follow the expedition to engage with  Donovan via www.NautilusLive.org, a 24-hour live streaming web portal bringing expeditions from the field to explorers on shore and via social media. Local schools and camps are encouraged to schedule free, live one-on-one Q&A sessions with the explorers on the ship in English, ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language), or Spanish to learn about the latest discoveries and career pathways.  

OET promotes science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) education around the world using the excitement of exploration and innovation to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. “One of the major goals of our Nautilus Exploration Program is to motivate the next generation of explorers in STEAM fields,” said Allison Fundis, OET’s Chief Operating Officer, “we are very excited to provide educators and students with direct experience in ocean exploration while allowing them the opportunity to share that experience with their peers around the world.”  

The OET Science Communication Fellowship brings formal and informal educators onboard to engage students and the public in the wonders of ocean exploration, sharing discoveries from the 2022 mission and aspects of daily life aboard a working exploration vessel. Fellows develop their science communication skills and spend several weeks as a crucial part of the team aboard E/V Nautilus. Fellows bring ocean exploration back to their home communities by incorporating their experience into classroom lesson plans, community presentation events, and informal educational opportunities.

To follow the expedition, click here.

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