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Teachers worry about Trump cuts to Sea Grant program

Teachers work on classroom activity at  SUNY Oswego's Rice Creek field station
Payne Horning
/
Teachers work on classroom activity at SUNY Oswego's Rice Creek field station

For years, the Sea Grant program has helped Americans learn about the oceans, the Great Lakes and other waters. Now President Trump wants to stop funding it – and some teachers fear the program will disappear.Teachers discuss federal budget cuts

Teachers work on classroom activity at  SUNY Oswego's Rice Creek field station
Credit Payne Horning
/
Teachers work on classroom activity at SUNY Oswego's Rice Creek field station

At SUNY Oswego's Rice Creek field station, science teachers from New York recently used plastic chips and a map to test a classroom activity that lets students compare the depths of the great lakes. Sea Grant’s Helen Domske said these workshops help teachers find ways to reach thousands of students. 

"They are the next generation of scientists. ... So if we don’t get them trained and interested, the lakes won’t have the protection they need," she said.

Trump's budget outline says Sea Grant is a low priority that primarily has a state and local impact. He wants to boost funding for the military and for a wall on the Mexican border.

Outside the field station, the teachers hiked through the woods to learn how the area could be used for a field trip. Kristin Scheehan-Vautrin and others talked about the value of sea grant programs.  

"I think a lot of these activities allow the students to have experiences, not only outdoors but learning about their natural resources,” she said. “And I think that’s the only way they can become a good steward for those natural resources."

Teacher Dan Mainville said Sea Grant’s expertise is worth the investment. "I mean how do you replace that? I don’t think you can. To remove that funding is ridiculous … counterintuitive.”

Trump's proposed cuts are facing bipartisan resistance in Congress, which can restore some or all of the Sea Grant funding.

Copyright 2017 Great Lakes Today

Dave Rosenthal is Managing Editor of Great Lakes Today, a collaboration of public media stations that is led by WBFO, ideastream in Cleveland in WXXI in Rochester, and includes other stations in the region.
Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.