September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Wyland: Merging Art, Science, and Conservation

Posted: Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Dean Gilbert

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to meet marine conservation artist Wyland at an Earth Day event in the San Fernando Valley.  We were both there to celebrate the winners of the Robert Bateman Get to Know Environmental Science Art Contest. After the awards presentation, Wyland and I had lunch and discussed a variety of topics.  I shared my interest in science; he shared his passion for art.  Oddly enough, the topics we discussed were very much similar in nature, no pun intended.

I have always been an admirer of Wyland’s art and how he so elegantly captures the beauty of the marine ecosystem.  We spoke of whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, the kelp forest, and how we both use scuba diving as “down time” – to relax and to take time to appreciate the awesome beauty nature offers.

Wyland and I found a common denominator that not only defines who we are, but also what drives us in our respective professions.  Wyland uses his talent to create masterpieces of the marine creatures that we both admire when exploring the underwater world with our compressed air lifelines.  And I, as a former marine biology teacher, marvel at the diverse taxonomy of marine life, from the simplest cnidarians to the largest mammals, the whales.  Looking through different lenses, we both find unique ways to express our visual perception of marine animals.

Since that initial introduction, I have visited the Wyland studio in Laguna Beach numerous times, and had the opportunity to meet with Wyland and his staff from the Wyland Foundation. Each time we meet, we seem to pick up the conversation where we left off, as if no time has elapsed.

I invited Wyland to be a part of the Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair last April.  Experiencing the World through Art & Science became the theme of the Science Fair. The highlight of the three-day event for over 300 students who participated was painting a 40-foot mural alongside Wyland.  It was the perfect fit – the integration of art and science.  Students of all ages grabbed paintbrushes and acrylic paint to express themselves, with Wyland at the helm.  Yes, science students were creatively expressing themselves!  At the day’s close, we had a finished product that would become part of Wyland’s personal collection.

Wyland even stayed late into the evening for the awards ceremony.  He amazed the audience as he created Chinese brush paintings which he auctioned off as a means of fundraising for our non-profit Science Fair organization.

As Co-chair of the upcoming CSTA Annual Conference in Pasadena, I again sought to partner with the Wyland Foundation. I wanted to extend art and science opportunities to my science colleagues. I want them to meet Wyland, witness to his passion for nature, art and science, and to have first-hand experience and hands-on interaction with the Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Center. This center is a project of the Wyland Foundation focusing on the preservation and conservation of water.

Wyland’s Mobile Learning Center connects science and art. It is a great location to view Wyland’s phenomenal work up close and to learn about the life stories behind each painting, sculpture, and photograph.

So there you have it.  The world renowned marine conservation artist Wyland is coming to Pasadena to be a part of the CSTA’s California Science Education Conference.  Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Wyland, and hear him speak about his passion for art and the integrated connections between art and science.  Coupled with the other fantastic focus and keynote speakers, workshops, field courses and vendors, the CSTA Conference will prove to be a great professional development experience for everyone.

Wyland’s work will be on display throughout the conference, with affordable prints for purchase and collector pieces for bid at auction as a fundraiser for CSTA.

Dean Gilbert is science consultant with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, is CSTA’s region 3 director, and is co-chair of the 2011 California Science Education Conference Committee.


Written by Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert is the science coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, and a member of CSTA.

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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

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Science Education Background

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Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

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This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.