Saturday, April 1, 2017

RET Opportunity

Attention K-12 teachers in the CNMI:
Ecology of Bird Loss Project, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands

RETers Val Atalic (Rota, 2013) and
Annette Pladavega (Saipan, 2011) at Forbidden Island
Description of the RET program: The goal of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program is to enhance the professional development of K-12 science educators through research experience with the end goal of bringing new knowledge into the classroom. This summer Iowa State University/University of Guam’s Ecology of Bird Loss project will sponsor two Marianas-based teachers to participate in ecological research for 7 weeks. The teachers will experience scientific field research first-hand by working with project staff to collect scientific data and then develop lessons to enhance science learning in their classrooms.
Description of the project: The Ecology of Bird Loss project examines the effect that bird loss on the island of Guam has on forest ecosystems by comparing forests on Guam, where birds are functionally extinct due to predation by the invasive brown treesnake, to forests on Saipan, Tinian and Rota, where native bird populations are still intact. We are studying the ecology of the native limestone forests in the Mariana Islands with a particular focus on the role of birds and bats in dispersing seeds around the forest. For more information on the project, visit
Duties of the RET: Teachers will participate in field research on at least two islands (out of Guam, Saipan, and Rota), usually working as part of a small field crew. Specific duties may include: identifying trees (including seedlings), measuring and collecting data on plant seedlings, conducting visual observations of frugivory, among other activities. Teachers will work with EBL staff to develop lesson plans, curricular activities, and research experiments that they will be able to use in their classrooms. Teachers should expect to work about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week during the program.
Requirements and Qualifications: We can only take 2 teachers per year, one from Guam and one from the CNMI. The successful applicants must be a K-12 teacher in Guam or the CNMI who is interested in conducting hands-on ecological field research and taking their experiences from the program back into the classroom to enhance education in the Mariana Islands. Field research involves working in high heat and humidity, walking over rough terrain, and maintaining enthusiasm for a variety of different and occasionally tedious activities necessary for all scientific endeavors. Previous experience in ecology or field research is not required, but an excitement for learning new activities and an open mind towards challenging experiences is necessary. We will give priority to teachers with a long-term commitment to education in the Mariana Islands. Applicants must be US citizens with valid driver’s licenses. Each year we have run this program, there have been many qualified applicants; if you have applied before, but not been selected, please apply again!
Duration, Payments and Benefits: Successful applicants will receive a stipend of $1000 per week for 7 weeks between May and August 2017, and $1000 for one week during the school year to implement the curriculum. Each teacher will also have access to $1000 for curriculum supplies or to cover field trip costs during the school year. At least one roundtrip flight within the Mariana Islands will be provided, as well as housing and work-related transportation while off-island. Communication and collaboration between the teachers and the EBL project is expected to continue beyond the end of the summer.
For More Information: Please contact Haldre Rogers ( or any of our previous RET teachers if you have questions related to the program: Sabina Perez– Simon Sanchez HS Guam; Michael Subbert- formerly Guam HS; Mary Garvilles- Tiyan HS, Guam and Annette Pladavega- Kagman HS Saipan; Dan Ho- formerly Southern HS Guam; Valerie Atalig- formerly Rota Junior Senior HS, currently Rota Chamber of Commerce; Greg Ecle – Southern HS Guam; Ben Seman – Hopwood Jr HS Saipan; Roque Indalecio- Hopwood Jr. HS Saipan, and Daniel Pangelinan- Okkodo HS Guam.
To Apply: Candidates should e-mail a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to The cover letter should include a paragraph explaining how the applicant hopes to use the RET program to enhance learning in their classroom. Applicants should indicate preferred start and end dates in the cover letter. Applications must be received by April 8th.