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List of "In the Spotlight" Features

Hill Middle School Students Focus on Conservation

Mrs. Schilling's seventh graders at Hill Middle School in Novato, California have been working with the Signals of Spring - ACES program since the school year began. These students have learned a lot about the ocean and its inhabitants, but much of their focus has been on ocean conservation.

When the San Francisco Bay Area experienced a terrible oil spill this past November, these special 7th graders pitched in to help scientists clean and release seabirds by donating paper towels and other materials. Around the same time, Jennifer Stock from the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary visited the classes and together they performed an albatross bolus dissection. Students were amazed and horrified to learn that much of the bolus content included plastics that were accidentally picked up by the beautiful seabirds.

Since November, Hill 7th graders have been studying the movements of several ACES marine species, including loggerhead turtles, polar bears, and grey seals. Through excellent analysis journals, the students have shown how much they have learned. Using the Signals of Spring interactive maps, the students, for example, have focused on animals' habitats, what they eat, and where they travel. They found that these animals occupy some very different habitats.

Hill Middle School students also have some recommendations on how to share important findings with citizens who might not know as much as they do about these interesting marine animals. One student, Yugo, points out that people should 'learn more about marine creatures and think twice about littering.'

His classmate, Emma, explains, 'I would want citizens to know that if they don't try to help to stop global warming, that they grey seal population and other animals' population as well will drop.

Another student, Zaid, who studied polar bear movements and Arctic bathymetry, explained that people should understand that, 'Every time they pollute, they're affecting Arctic animals.' Zaid and classmates know that our actions on land can affect animals far away.

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