30 years, the Bureau of Economic Geology has maintained a research
program for monitoring shorelines and investigating coastal processes
in Texas. An important part of this program has been the frequent
mapping of the shoreline and measurement of beach profiles. The
High School Coastal Monitoring Program, begun by the Bureau in 1997,
provides scientific data at key locations along the Texas coast.
These data are integrated into the ongoing coastal research program
at the Bureau and made available to other researchers and coastal
high schools are currently in the Coastal Monitoring Program: Ball
High School in Galveston, Port Aransas High School in Port Aransas,
and Port Isabel High School in Port Isabel. Scientists from the
Bureau provide tools and training needed for the research. Both
students and teachers learn how to measure topography, map vegetation
and shoreline, and observe and document weather and wave conditions.
By participating in an actual research project, students get hands-on
experience that they can use in the classroom.
addition to providing scientists with much-needed scientific information
and providing high school students with an inquiry-based learning
experience, the Texas High School Coastal Monitoring Program increases
public awareness of coastal processes. It actively involves people
living along the Texas coastline in the scientific study of their
natural environment. Students, teachers, and parents alike gain
a better understanding of dune and beach dynamics, beach morphology,
shoreline change, and coastal processes and hazards along the Texas
coast. This understanding can translate to an awareness of the impact
that humans have on environmental change.
information about the Texas High School Coastal Monitoring Program,
plus data from the students fieldwork, is posted on the Bureau's
Web site at http://inet1.beg.utexas.edu/thscmp/.
Information at this site includes an overview of field measurements,
the people involved, the environment under study, field procedures,
field forms, a map with links to data, the curriculum, quarterly
reports, other useful links, the Access database, and a photo gallery.
Bureau scientists involved in the Coastal Monitoring Program are
and Tiffany Hepner.