• incorporation of real-time image and data feeds into K-12 curricula (presented either through schools or museums, as with the Jason program);

  • development of curriculum modules for K-12 students that will incorporate research results and scientist profiles;

  • establishment of a summer research sabbatical program for K-12 teachers to facilitate interaction with scientists using observatory data;

  • development of public World Wide Web sites, publicized through libraries, lay science journals, etc., containing real-time images and data;

  • use of public television to broadcast the exciting science coming out of seafloor observatories.

Currently, numerous museum and curriculum outreach programs are being established, but for ocean sciences most of these partnerships are related to coastal studies. An important objective of observatory outreach should be to ensure a broad geographic scale for seafloor observatory public outreach programs.

Involving students and the lay public in the excitement of ocean science needs to be a primary objective of an observatory effort. This effort requires dedicated resources and formal inclusion in project and data management plans. Nationally funded science initiatives that have demonstrated successful outreach programs include NASA, Sea Grant, and IRIS. Other approaches include individual efforts through NSF education programs (the Directorate for Education and Human Resources), local partnerships between individual K-12 schools and nearby marine research institutions or universities, and the privately funded JASON project. Seafloor observatory outreach plans should build on the successes of these programs by incorporating their best and most appropriate aspects. Also, it would be advisable to have a centralized outreach office to coordinate individual efforts and provide information and support. Funding for educational and public outreach efforts should be sought not only from observatory program funds but also from other governmental, private, and industry sources.

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