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Logo About Estuaries.Gov
Your Source for Learning and Teaching About Estuaries     

left line Estuary Photos helps educators bring the beauty and the importance of estuaries into classrooms and educational programs. This site provides, primarily, an avenue for elementary, middle and high school students, and their teachers, to learn more about estuaries, research, and explore NOAA’s “living laboratories” - the National Estuarine Research Reserves. delivers scientific information and real-time data in a meaningful form for anyone interested in estuaries – or simply in need of a reliable resource. It provides current information on a variety of educational and stewardship related opportunities offered at local estuarine research reserves, and the most recent research results of estuarine science. Volunteers working on coastal or estuarine related issues; formal or informal educators; parent's looking for supplementary materials; home-schoolers; students; representatives of non-profit, after school programs, private conservation, or other community groups who are interested in estuarine and coastal issues are all among those who can also benefit from the information presented on is the educational site for NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), managed and maintained by NERRS education staff. The site is an important part of the NERRS efforts to communicate and advance ocean and estuarine literacy nationwide. It continues to be an interagency website with partners such as NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Office and the Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program.  

Website Features:

Targets three main audiences:
This website was developed as a tool for teachers and students. It's also a great resource for anyone interested in estuaries and coastal issues.

Rooted in serious science: The content presented in has been reviewed, and in some instances, produced by scientists working for NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) and/or other NOAA line offices. The site has also included contributions from a broad range of authors, amongst which are educators, creative writers, policymakers and others, all of which have been reviewed to ensure scientific accuracy.

Current & cutting edge content: Content in this site aims to promote deeper understanding about the Estuarine Principles and Concepts and connect to vital topics in the Ocean Literacy Principles & Concepts. The News Page and the Education Bulletin provide information on the latest happenings across the Reserve sites and links them to additional resources, opportunities or in-depth analyses done on a particular subject, throughout the site. NERRS educators will monitor research and new findings to keep this site up-to-date and accurate.

FREE online curriculum: Focusing on estuaries, the four curriculum modules feature hands-on learning, experiments, field work and data explorations. The complete Estuaries 101 Curriculum, grade levels 9-12, is available for download on this site. Middle grade level modules will be released in 2010.

Access to LIVE broadcasts and a video collection:
 Images and videos offered through this site, can help teachers build excitement, visualize estuaries and even expand understanding of estuarine related concepts. The site features the EstuaryLIVE program, a free and interactive internet field trip across our nation's estuaries.

Data Exploration:
NERRS is committed to conducting and supporting estuarine research and to maintaining a system-wide monitoring program that tracks short-term variability and long-term changes in estuarine waters. This section provides access to near-real time and archived data collected through the NERRS monitoring program, and other information and data rich products. But, most importantly, it supports teachers' data exploration, interpretation and research to raise America's environmental literacy and its understanding of estuarine systems and their connection with other earth systems.

Resources: This section provides information on and links to different sources outside of the site that have been carefully reviewed and chosen to expand understanding on a particular topic and deemed to be scientifically accurate.

Glossary: The glossary defines common estuarine-related terms and terms that are used throughout the site.

Designed to support users with various learning styles: The site enables users to choose different entry points to access content. It aims to provide the user with various formats of information to suit any learning style.

Following are our recommendations for having optimal access to all the content on this website:

Minimum Computer Requirements


  • Windows 2000, XP, Vista or Windows 7 
  • 256 MB RAM or more recommended
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher, or Firefox 1.5 or higher
  • JavaScript and cookies enabled in the browser

Mac OS X

  • Mac OS 10.2 or later
  • 256 MB RAM or more recommended
  • Firefox 1.5 or higher, or Safari 2 or higher
  • JavaScript and cookies enabled in the browser

Internet Access Speed

  • High speed internet (DSL, Cable, FIOS) is required to access the full screen videos provided on the EstuaryLive section of the site


The web site is optimized for a 1028 x 768 pixel screen resolution and for the following browser versions: Internet Explorer (6.0 or higher), Firefox (1.5 or higher), or Safari (2 or higher). Earlier browser versions may not display optimally onscreen and may not run some enhanced features of the site. Cookies and JavaScript must both be enabled in your browser.    


Plug-ins are software programs that extend the capabilities of your Web browser, giving you the ability to perform special functions using your browser; for example, view videos and play audio.


These free utilities are available for those who do not have Microsoft Office

  • Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer — PowerPoint presentation viewing program allows those that do not have Microsoft Office to view files
  • Microsoft Word Viewer — Word document viewing program allows those who do not have Microsoft Office to view files

Last Updated on: 06-05-2012

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