Christian Heesch, a native New Yorker, knows that supporting children to be lifelong learners is one of the fundamental aspects of building sustainable and thriving communities. He enjoys volunteering directly in classrooms to help open students’ eyes to the vast universe of the ocean. He knows that children have an appreciation for beauty that is lost on many adults because they still feel a sense of wonder, and the underwater world is full of many different types of life that continue to stun and excite. He enjoys serving in a role to help provide students with a “field trip in the classroom” where they can familiarize themselves with these ecosystems. He recommends that elementary teachers focus on marine biology and its applications during science units for the following reasons.
- There are numerous fields of study within marine biology that offer a variety of career opportunities. Those students who show an early love for nature and animal life will be able to see that there are good opportunities to have a job that is both enjoyable and fulfilling.
- Focusing on marine biology in the classroom is a good method to introduce numerous topics of sustainability and taking care of the earth, helping children understand how to be stewards of the planet. There are a variety of opportunities to develop lessons around pollution, recycling, and much more. Christian Heesch recommends that teachers use one or more of the numerous videos online presenting issues such as oil spills or litter to help children understand what actually happens in our oceans. There are many problems in modern-day society that gravely affect marine ecosystems and wildlife, and oftentimes, children have exemplary ideas about how to minimize some of these issues.
- Marine biology is an excellent subject to pair with other disciplines, such as art. Combining forces with an art teacher, or simply introducing an art activity, can help students apply their knowledge in a creative manner, which is becoming harder to do over time as standardized testing begins to eat up the available time that children have to play and imagine. There are numerous unique art techniques that children can use to create life-like fish scales, or a 3-D model of a type of plant, for example. The opportunities are endless.Having served as a volunteer with numerous school districts throughout his career, Christian Heesch has always dedicated himself to serving as a mentor in communities where children can really benefit from having another supportive adult in their lives. Christian Heesch is particularly passionate about empowering young women to enter into the science fields, a predominantly male community. He encourages scientists in all walks of their careers to share their expertise with young people whenever they possibly can.