Students shine on research cruise by Lisa Tossey

I'm still processing all the amazing experiences I had on the R/V Atlantis last month, diving on the East Pacific Rise in DSV Alvin. I am currently finalizing a highlights video for the cruise that will showcase some of the amazing sights we saw 2500 meters under the sea, but one of the favorite parts of my work out there were the student pieces. 

I chatted with a couple of the undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a postdoc, about their expectations before making their first dive in DSV Alvin, and then again afterwards to hear about their experience. They expressed their thoughts so clearly and with such enthusiasm it was hard not to get stoked with them! Here's Ph.D. candidate Kristin Yoshimura speaking about her dive. The other videos can be seen on the trip blog or the college's Facebook page

The ship's crew and staff also remarked on the quality of the students we had with us - they were all fantastic and did University of Delaware proud!

Test run with the GoPro Karma grip by Lisa Tossey

I was a carrying a new tool on our research cruise aboard the R/V Atlantis - GoPro's handheld stabilizer, the Karma grip. We had a few days at sea as we were underway from Costa Rica to our station at 9 North along the East Pacific Rise, so I decided to put it to the test by carrying it completely through the ship to provide a quick video tour.

I'm impressed by the results, which you can see below. The video is from one take, walking through doors, in and out of different work areas, and up steps on the vessel, which was moving at about 12 knots at the time. I can't wait to put it to use on some other projects soon! 

Project VIDEO Virtual Reality work recognized by Lisa Tossey


I’m thrilled to have just been notified that Project VIDEO, the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) grant work I’ve been collaborating with Christopher Petrone on, just won the Audiovisual division of the 2016 Delaware Press Association awards. Chris is the education specialist for Delaware Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Service and PI on our project, and I assist him on the educational components and do all the video and virtual reality shooting and production. It will now go on to the national communications contest held by the National Association of Press Women (NFPW). 

Heading out to sea aboard the R/V Atlantis by Lisa Tossey

Follow along as I head out to the East Pacific Rise aboard the R/V Atlantis! I am maintaining the Storify of the trip below and will be sharing many photos and videos as part of my outreach and communications work for the research cruise.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll get a chance to tag along on a dive to the deep in the submersible Alvin! 

Across Delmarva via an ARCGis Story Map by Lisa Tossey

I assisted Chris Petrone, the education specialist for Delaware Sea Grant, with a series of teacher workshops this summer that had us transecting the Delmarva Peninsula from the Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware Bay, exploring various watersheds along the way. It made for quite a fun and educational road trip for participating teachers! 

I decided to test out Esri's new story map template called Cascade, which is still in beta release, to document the workshops. It's been a bit glitchy at times, and although it promises to optimize images, it can take some time to load. However, I love how it allows you tell an immersive 'story' beautifully by combining images, video, and data! 

OceansOnline - Leading a discussion on digital storytelling at the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress in Newfoundland by Lisa Tossey

I was thrilled to be invited to the OceansOnline conference, which was held in conjunction with the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress in St. John's, Newfoundland in August. I led a discussion on Incorporating digital storytelling in marine science outreach and communication, and spoke about my current work with Delaware Sea Grant, including Project VIDEO, our joint work with the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations

 We had an enthusiastic group for our discussion! 

We had an enthusiastic group for our discussion! 

We touched on everything from social media platforms, to using images and video in outreach efforts, to embracing new technologies such as virtual reality. 

Here are a few ideas and tips from the session that I pulled together after the session for the newsletter of Marine Ecosystems and Management (MEAM):

  • When it comes to social media, you don’t have to do it all! Take some time to “lurk” on various platforms to see how they’re used and what audiences tend to use them, then experiment on a few to see what might be the best fit for your field or organization.
  • Social media isn’t a one-way street – that’s why “social” is in its name! Don’t just use it to push out information – engage with other users and your followers, share information that’s relevant to your field or community, and have fun with it!
  • Images are truly worth 1,000 words online. Images drive engagement and an eye-catching photo, animated gif, or video clip can serve as a great “hook” to grab users’ attention in a sea of social media posts. Photos showing action, hands-on activities, or a detailed view of a critter or landscape can be particularly effective.
  • Post with purpose. You should always be able to connect your social media posts, whether they are a photo, link, or shared information, back to your work or organization’s mission. This helps to build your reputation as a trusted resource in your field.
  • Short format videos that are popular on platforms like Instagram are perfect vehicles for bite-sized, sharable science pieces. Use them to share fun “Did you know…” facts, highlight specific areas of work or critters being studied, or show scientific techniques.
  • And most importantly – don’t be afraid to experiment online. Try something new, assess how it works, tweak your approach if necessary, and try again!

If you’re interested in learning more about this, my Prezi presentation from the session is full of examples >> 


Going virtual by Lisa Tossey

A new grant related to my work with Delaware Sea Grant has provided an opportunity to delve into 360 imagery, virtual reality, and the use of Google Cardboard for education, which is exciting in many ways! Much more to come, but here are a couple of immersive examples from early tests with our new equipment to explore!

While setting up the 360 camera on a beach in South Africa, an unexpected guest came down the stairs to investigate the equipment! 

And here is a "behind the scenes" capture of a recent filming we did with Maryland Sea Grant along the waterfront in Baltimore's Inner Harbor!

Behind the scenes: Talking microbes and water quality with Maryland Sea Grant along the waterfront in downtown Baltimore - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

NAIINZ - Presenting overseas for the first time by Lisa Tossey

I was both thrilled and honored when my session proposal was accepted for the International Conference on Interpretation in Wellington, New Zealand, this month. It was hosted by Interpretation Network New Zealand (INNZ) and the National Association of Interpretation (NAI), of which I am a member. NAI is an organization that focuses on the art of engaging instruction, and works with historical and natural heritage educators who work in nature centers, zoos, aquariums, parks, museums, and historical and cultural sites.

 Nearly all of the delegates present at the conference.  Image courtesy of NAI  

Nearly all of the delegates present at the conference. Image courtesy of NAI 

This was truly an international conference, drawing in more than 130 delegates from over 12 counties. I was fortunate enough to be invited to present a 90-minute mini-workshop on my work using digital tools in informal science education. My session, Digital Storytelling – Engaging Others Using the Technology in your Pocket, drew over 25 participants who were eager to start incorporating social media and videos into their institution’s educational outreach plans.

My presentation focused heavily on the work I have been doing with the Delaware Sea Grant College Program and the related research I have undertaken as part of my Ed.D. portfolio work. In the days following my workshop I had several constructive follow-up conversations with participants, which progressed into email correspondence.

Shortly after the conclusion of the conference, I heard back from one participant, who works for the Department of Conservation in New Zealand, which manages about 40 percent of the country’s land and serves a similar function as our National Parks Service in the U.S. His role includes leading planning for their investment in storytelling in over 500 historic heritage sites throughout New Zealand, and he informed me that he was now looking at adding a digital outreach position due to what he learned in my session. That news and his kind words about my workshop really made the trip worthwhile for me.

 Exploring a protected marine reserve during our field trip day along the southern coast of the North Island

Exploring a protected marine reserve during our field trip day along the southern coast of the North Island

In addition to concurrent sessions at the venue, the conference also offered a day of offsite sessions in several tracks. I was thrilled that one track was focused on marine science education, and joined the “Fishy Tales” field trip to a university coastal ecology laboratory, a local marine education center and aquarium, and a coastal interpretive site in a protected marine reserve. These site visits not only provided a chance to get out in the field and experience different educational venues in the region, but also offered excellent networking opportunities and a nice break mid-conference from being confined in the official venue.

I had visited New Zealand once before, and was awed by its natural beauty and welcoming people then, so I was eager to return. This conference both reinforced that first impression and built upon it, allowing me to experience its environmental wonders firsthand, but more importantly, make genuine connections with other educators and administrators who are working tirelessly to educate others about, and protect, the country’s rich heritage and natural resources.

Here's a short video of the traditional Maori ceremony that opened the conference. I shot snippets of audio and video throughout with my phone and pieced them together using iMovie as an example of editing video on the fly for my workshop >

The Prezi I used during my workshop to highlight examples of what we were touching on >

Springtime in Berlin by Lisa Tossey

Deep Freeze in Delaware by Lisa Tossey

A few frigid days in Delaware leads to some unusual sights - from ice floes in the Delaware Bay at Cape Henlopen State Park to a sunset reflecting off a frozen Rehoboth Bay in Delaware Seashore State Park. It's a time when piers are becoming encased in ice, wildlife are moving further afield for food, and snow is blowing and blending with the sand. 

Only 27 days to go until Spring... 

Birds of Bombay Hook by Lisa Tossey

Just a few of the birds spotted at Bombay Hook this week

Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge is always a wonderful place to go looking for birds - especially during the shoulder season when so many are taking flight to move to different climes. A wide variety of feathered friends were out and about during quick trip to the refuge this week, from snowy egrets to lesser yellowlegs to terns to a northern harrier, as well as the first snow geese of the season, signaling that winter isn't too far away...