Texas High School Coastal Monitoring Program: 2014-2015

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2015

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The Texas High School Coastal Monitoring Program (THSCMP) engages people who live along the Texas coast in the study of their natural environment. High school students, teachers, and scientists work together to gain a better understanding of dune and beach dynamics in their own locales. Scientists from The University of Texas at Austin (UT) provide the tools and training needed for scientific investigation. Students and teachers learn how to measure the topography, map the vegetation line and shoreline, and observe weather and wave conditions. By participating in an actual research project, the students obtain an enhanced science education. Public awareness of coastal processes and the Texas Coastal Management Program is heightened through this program. The students' efforts also provide coastal communities with valuable data on their changing shoreline.

This report describes the program and our experiences during the 2014–2015 academic year. During this time, Ball High School on Galveston Island completed its seventeenth year in the program, and Port Aransas and Port Isabel High Schools completed their sixteenth year (Fig. 1). Through collaboration with the Lower Colorado River Authority, the program works with three schools in the Matagorda area: Tidehaven Middle School and Van Vleck High Schools completed their eleventh year in the program, and Palacios High School completed its ninth year. Cunningham Middle School in the Corpus Christi Independent School District participated in its first field trip in late spring of 2009. The 2014–2015 academic year marked its seventh year in the program. All of the schools anticipate continuing with the program during the 2015–2016 academic year. Discussions of data collected by the students are included in this report.

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