Saturday, August 13, 2011

Is something burning?

2:35 PM EDT 8/13/2011: Residents of the I-95 corridor said that a lot to each other this morning when they went out this morning. Dozens of our readers across the Baltimore and Washington metro areas began reporting the smell to our team and local news outlets. A quick collaboration in the Maryland Team revealed the culprit was an on-going fire in Virginia's Great Dismal Swamp. The clockwise-flow of a high pressure system in the western Atlantic was sending acrid smoke streaming northward along the Chesapeake Bay

Forecaster Mike Natoli of the Maryland Team posted at 11:25 AM on the story, before local news organizations picked up on the story. The team's ensuing scientific analysis and explanations generated over 200 comments and reader observations within an hour from all over the state on the Central Maryland facebook pageNow that's what we call youth engaging the public in scientific outreach...  on a Saturday morning no less! Hundreds of people sensed something was wrong, and heard the explanation for  it from our team first. Below is a short video of how it all played out.(Photo: Forecaster Mike, a senior at C. Milton Wright High School in Harford County, MD) 

Teachers and administrators: Are you taking notes? This was a Saturday morning.. in the summer... and Maryland high school students were engaged in scientific research, media relations, mass communications, mentoring with meteorologists and engaging the public. Then they had breakfast. Sure would be nice to evaluate that kind of student learning and see what we find.  

(Disclaimer: Rich Foot is a certified Maryland science educator and former Baltimore County Public Schools Science Teacher with 15 years experience teaching Earth & Environmental Science.)

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