Review: SeaBEAN a High-Tech Environmental Fantasy

SeaBEAN cover

SeaBEAN, by Sarah Holding

When I was 10 years old, a field trip was the quickest way to get me excited about a school subject. It was a moment of freedom from the boredom of the classroom that all of my friends–and probably the teacher as well–relished. Children are wired to move around and explore their universe; the classroom is a 19th century anachronism born of capitalism’s fixation with mass production and efficiency. But what if you could walk into a high-tech, wired classroom with a passel of eager kids and head off to anyplace on the planet, taking the classroom with you? That’s the premise of SeaBEAN, a sci-fi adventure novel for children aged eight to 12, written by Sarah Holding and published by Medina Publishing in the UK.

The action takes place in the year 2018 on St. Kilda, a remote group of islands off the western coast of Scotland. Alice is the precocious ten-year-old daughter of a green energy researcher and his wife who have taken up residence on the island to install an experimental wave energy system. The small community includes a half-dozen children, all taught by a single teacher. One day, the ferry delivers a large black box, called a “C-Bean,” and its powers are as amazing as Dr. Who’s Tardis, but with a bookish bent. The kid-friendly device is easy for Alice to crack, and she leads her school friends on travels to New York, Brasil, China, and St. Kilda’s namesake in Australia, collecting a stray dog and and endangered parrot, as well as information. As children of green energy pioneers, they are keenly interested in caring for the environment, and they quickly learn that some adults prefer profiting off the earth than caring for it. Continue reading

Boatbuilding School Education Director

Pamela Roberts

Pamela Roberts is in charge of developing curriculum and recruiting students.

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock, Wash., has named Pamela Roberts director of education and services administrator. Roberts comes to the position with over 33 years of educational experience, including work as a university faculty member, public school principal, teacher, and educational consultant. Roberts earned her Masters of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Teaching Certification from the University of Washington. She is a former faculty member of Washington State University Extension in Port Hadlock and former faculty cellist of the University of Puget Sound.

In the role of Director of Education, Roberts will lead the exploration of current and best instructional practices, including curriculum development. Roberts has expressed a strong affinity for the school’s educational mission of teaching and preserving the skills and craft associated with wooden boatbuilding with an emphasis on the development of the individual as a craftsperson. The Boat School has established an international reputation as one of the finest schools of its kind. With a capacity of 55 students, it is one of the largest wooden boat-building schools in the United States.

“The Boat School’s instructors have been teaching boatbuilding students for a combined total of over 80 years – this represents an extraordinary level of expertise,” said Roberts. Her first student recruitment activities begin this spring, providing school tours for students from around the world. Roberts plans to increase enrollment of students from the Olympic Peninsula by reaching out to vocational teachers and high school students who show promise in their vocational studies. “We are thrilled about a new partnership with our local high school vocational teachers that will expand scholarship opportunities for local students to attend the Boat School.”

Project Shiphunt Results

The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary has announced the discovery of two Great Lakes shipwrecks. The discoveries were part of Project Shiphunt, an exciting archaeological expedition, sponsored by Sony and the Intel Corp., that included five high school students from Saginaw, Michigan.

In May, the students undertook the adventure of a lifetime: hunt for a shipwreck, investigate its identity, and document it in 3D for future generations. Accompanied by a team of scientists and historians from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the students conducted a full-fledged research mission, as they searched the deep waters of northeastern Lake Huron. The team also worked with scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory to investigate the historically significant shipwrecks.

The team located the 138-foot schooner M.F. Merrick. In 1889, the schooner collided with a passing steamer in a dense fog. The Merrick sank immediately, and claimed the lives of five crew members, including a female cook. Today, the intact hull of the schooner rests upright on the bottom of Lake Huron.

The wreck of the steel freighter Etruria was also discovered and identified by the researchers. Launched in February 1902 at West Bay City, Michigan, the 414-foot long Etruria sank in 1905, after colliding with a steamer in thick fog. Today, the massive steamer sits upside down in deep water.

Project Shiphunt produced this video to showcase the high school students’ efforts to find undiscovered shipwrecks in Lake Huron. The project will be chronicled in documentary that will be shown on the Current cable network 10 p.m. Eastern Time August 30. Sony and Intel Corp. are also partnering with the sanctuary on a comprehensive educational curriculum for high school science and history teachers.

The project represents the first time Thunder Bay area shipwrecks have been filmed in 3D, and the team is working to incorporate the new data into the exhibits at the sanctuary’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.

According to sanctuary superintendent Jeff Gray, the discoveries are an exciting opportunity to better understand the Great Lakes. “This research will help us protect the Great Lakes and their rich history for future generations. It is also an extraordinary opportunity to inspire the next generation of explorers and introduce them to technology and experiences that could shape their futures,” said Gray.

Great Lakes shipwrecks are among the best preserved in the world. Lake Huron’s cold, freshwater has kept many Thunder Bay sites virtually unchanged for over 150 years. Through research, education and community involvement, the sanctuary works to protect our nation’s historic shipwrecks for future generations, while providing access to recreational users. The sanctuary will continue to investigate the new shipwrecks and will work with the State of Michigan to provide location information so divers can access the new sites.