A collaboration of innovative educational programs is merging space age and down-to-Earth field research to help students develop a better understanding of disappearing wetlands.

Students will use NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) camera to take high quality digital pictures of wetlands from space. This education activity joins forces with the JASON Expedition: Disappearing Wetlands.

JASON is an innovative, inquiry-based, hands-on learning program. It connects students with researchers to study the ecology and geology of Louisiana’s wetlands and their interaction with human systems. Satellite and Internet technologies create a “tele-presence” that brings students and teachers in classrooms around the world into real-time contact with researchers.

The ISS EarthKAM program was the brainchild of America’s first woman astronaut, Dr. Sally Ride. It gives students direct access to, and control of, a digital camera on the Space Station to take pictures of Earth. The program strives to inspire middle-school student interest in science, math, technology, and geography.

The next EarthKAM operational mission is February 1-4. It runs concurrent with the JASON Expedition: Disappearing Wetlands live broadcast in three comparative locations in Louisiana, January 31- February 5. Some of the schools involved in JASON will simultaneously participate in the EarthKAM project to take images of wetlands from space.

These schools will identify wetlands around the world and direct the EarthKAM to take photographs of them. Students will download the images and use them to enhance the entire Expedition’s understanding of wetlands.

“JASON is thrilled to be able to have our network of students and teachers participate in NASA’s International Space Station EarthKAM educational program. Students around the world will gain a better understanding of these important wetland systems at local, regional and global scales. Using remote technologies to acquire real-time data is what JASON is all about and would not be possible without partners like NASA,” said Dr. Robert Ballard, Founder and Chief Scientist of the JASON Foundation for Education.

Funded by NASA, ISS EarthKAM is coordinated through a partnership between the University of California, San Diego; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; and TERC, a non-profit education research and development organization, Cambridge, Mass.

The JASON Foundation for Education is a not-for-profit organization that works in collaboration with NASA, government organizations, academic institutions, and corporate sponsors to bring high quality science and math curriculum and professional development to schools and districts. Since its start in 1989, JASON Expeditions have grown to include more than 33,000 teachers and 1.7 million students around the world.

ISS EarthKAM Web site: http://www.earthkam.ucsd.edu

JASON Disappearing Wetlands Expedition Web site: http://www.jason.org

For information about NASA, the ISS and other agency programs on the Web, visit: