Yorkshire Academy, Houston’s 1st Ocean Guardian School

What does that mean? An Ocean Guardian School makes a commitment to the protection and conservation of its local watersheds, the world's ocean, and special ocean areas, like national marine sanctuaries. Ocean Guardian schools make this commitment by proposing and then implementing a school- or community-based conservation project.

OceanGuardianSchoolLast year, Yorkshire Academy students participated in a project that focused on the quality of water and the journey of water from Buffalo Bayou to the Gulf of Mexico. They learned how to test water and engineered new methods to prevent soil and debris runoff into our water system. Yorkshire Academy was awarded a grant for equipment and transport to Rice University where students gave a presentation to the Bioscience coral lab.

After fulfilling all aspects of the grant, a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) representative visited the school, and shortly thereafter, approved Yorkshire Academy as a Year One Ocean Guardian School – Houston’s 1st!

Yorkshire’s second year project application has been accepted, and the school has received another grant! This project will focus on the presence of micro plastics in our water and our food.

At Yorkshire Academy, Ocean Guardian students in grades 2nd through 5th are known as SEEDS – Students Engaging the Environment through Discovery and Science. Jacqui Stanley, Yorkshire Academy’s 5th grade teacher, has held the Education seat on the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council for nine years, and she is devoted to sharing her knowledge about this special place, as well as her love for everything to do with taking care of oceans and marine life.

Not many people know that the Flower Garden Banks exists just 100 miles from the Texas coast, and is such a healthy ecosystem, it is considered a sentinel site.

What better way to spread the word about our own underwater national park and all our marine sanctuaries than by children telling children!

Yorkshire Academy continues the culture of supporting all aspects of education, and it is a perfect environment to “plant” SEEDS. This support is exemplified in the inclusion of SEEDS in the Upper Elementary schedule. During weekly meetings students learn about the Flower Garden Banks and participate in the current year’s Ocean Guardian project.

Yorkshire’s students have presented at various local schools and universities and each are impressed with their knowledge of our beautiful blue planet.

Yorkshire Academy is so excited and proud to be the first Ocean Guardian school in the City of Houston. For more information about Yorkshire Academy, please click here.

By Ezra Finkin for the Diesel Technology Forum

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