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Science educators and students in Aransas County ISD are thrilled to be participating in the Science and the Sea Project through the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. Grant monies have been designated by the Aransas County Commissioners Court through the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) to fund the project for the 2011-2012 and the 2012-2013 school years.
Check back often as we will continue to update this page with pictures of the important learning activities made possible through the Science and the Sea Project.


What is the Science and the Sea Project?
The overarching goal of the Science and the Sea Project is to promote the use of environmental education in schools and communities in order to help individuals and groups acquire the awareness, values, knowledge, and action skills necessary for effective environmental stewardship and to work toward sustainable development.
  1. Increase students' and educators' knowledge of Gulf Coast environmental concepts and principals regarding living resources, physical processes, air, water, and solid waste to promote a clean and healthy environment.
  2. Prepare students to foster environmental stewardship by teaching them to use critical thinking skills in environmental decision-making and exploration of career opportunities.
  3. Assist educators in designing authentic science inquiry experiences for students to meet student learning objectives in a variety of subject-matter disciplines through direct experiences and investigations of Gulf Coast environmental issues in their community.
  4. Provide educators with access to local resources, speakers, and field experiences.

Description of Project

Consistent with Aransas County's ongoing effort to educate the public on the unique aquatic resources of the Texas Coastal Bend, Aransas County has contracted with the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) to implement and manage an environmental educational program based on sound science and effective education practices. This unique program, known as Science and the Sea, impacts school children and teachers in the Aransas County Independent School District. The various aspects of the Science and the Sea Project involve educating participants through both “field-based” and “site-based” venues. Teachers and students participate in an interactive environmental education project that integrates technologically current materials and supplies for classroom and labs and hands-on field experiences for students and teachers.

The project focuses on field based learning for students from kindergarten, and grades 2, 4, 6, 8, and high school aquatic sciences and environmental sciences classes from the Aransas County Independent School District. Approximately 31 trips on the R/V KATY, a UTMSI teaching/research vessel, are planned for students from grades four and above. On a typical class trip aboard the R/V KATY, students will collect water samples and analyze them for salinity, dissolved oxygen and nutrients; make plankton tows and bottom trawls and collect sediment samples. During these trips, students visit the bays and channels where bottlenose dolphins, brown pelicans and many other forms of life can be seen. An understanding of the marine environment that supports such abundance is gained through measurement, observation and sampling. The vessel will moor at Rockport Harbor, near the schools, and students will rotate between the R/V KATY and the Bay Education Center on Rockport Beach, adjacent to Rockport Harbor. The younger students will visit the UTMSI Wetlands Education Center, known as Windows to the Sea, a marsh/seagrass pond landscaped and planted with various sea grasses and appropriate coastal vegetation nourished by water from the Aransas Pass Ship Channel. Visitors to the Center at the UTMSI gain an understanding and appreciation for the role each facet of a wetland plays in supporting and maintaining the productivity of the coastal zone.

Science and the Sea District and Campus Contacts
Tisha Piwetz Central Office 361.790.2212 tpiwetz@acisd.org
Glenys Kucera Rockport Fulton High School 361.790.2220 gkucera@acisd.org
Christina Spears Rockport Fulton Middle School 361.790.2230 cspears@acisd.org
Martha McLeod Fulton 4-5 Learning Center 361.790.2240 mmcleod@acisd.org
Alison Harbour Live Oak 1-3 Learning Center 361.790.2260 aharbour@acisd.org
Amy Janssen Little Bay Primary 361.790.2200 ajanssen@acisd.org
Field Experiences


Second grade students from Live Oak Learning Center took a field trip to the Univeristy of Texas Marine Science Center in Port Aransas in March 2013.  The students studied the wetland habitat while they were at the center.  They observed a snail, a spider crab and a hermit crab.  They made a wetlands habitat and compared it to a freshwater habitat.
Students from Fulton 4-5 Learning Center and Live Oak 1-3 Learning Center benefit from the hands-on experiences they receive the the Science and the Sea Project.