National Estuarine Research Reserve System
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Our Education Network
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The Reserve System Education Network is working to advance estuary, climate & ocean literacy. Estuaries can be used as a powerful context to support learning about the interconnections and interdependencies between terrestrial and ocean systems, what important services they provide for humans, and how to restore and protect them. 

We believe that it is of utmost importance to prepare tomorrow's leaders to make sound decisions about the environment and the nation's oceans and coasts. Students must understand the crucial connection between estuaries, coastal, and upland areas, and the effects of a growing population.

An estuary literate person:

  • understands the essential principles and fundamental concepts (presented here) about the interconnectedness and interdependency of estuarine systems with other earth system in both time and space;
  • can communicate about estuaries in a meaningful way; and
  • is able to make scientifically informed and responsible decisions regarding estuaries and coastal areas

Estuary Principles & Concepts

  • Principle 1. Estuaries are interconnected with the world ocean and with major systems and cycles on Earth.
  • Principle 2. Estuaries are dynamic ecosystems with tremendous variability within and between them in physical, chemical, and biological components.
  • Principle 3. Estuaries support an abundance of life, and a diversity of habitat types.
  • Principle 4. Ongoing research and monitoring is needed to increase our understanding of estuaries and to improve our ability to protect and sustain them.
  • Principle 5. Humans, even those living far from the coast, rely on goods and services supplied by estuaries
  • Principle 6. Human activities can impact estuaries by degrading water quality or altering habitats; therefore, we are responsible for making decisions to protect and maintain the health of estuaries.

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Last Updated on: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
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