Learning at the Extreme!

Volvo Ocean Race Newport launches education program

Volvo Ocean Race Sail Newport Education ProgramSail Newport in Newport, RI has launched a national education program with an online learning site connecting the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 with K-12 classrooms. The ‘round the world race, which started in October, will make its only North American stopover in Newport, RI from May 5-17, 2015. The program will link students with the race by offering lesson plans at no cost to participating schools on such topics as geography and culture, marine science, math, sustainability, navigation, sailing, art, ocean

In addition to educational opportunities, visiting students will have a chance to “race” a Volvo Ocean 65.   © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

conservation, currents and weather. In addition, schools will have the opportunity for a destination field trip to the Newport Stopover.

Brad Read, Sail Newport Executive Director and director of the Stopover, announced that Newport schoolteacher Donna Kelly and Sailors for the Sea President R. Mark Davis are co-chairing the program. “We want to connect regional students with the natural resource of Narragansett Bay and the world’s oceans,” said Read. “The race is exciting as a sporting event on its own, but the opportunity to engage students of all ages to explore and conserve the ocean is our key focus in the educational program for schools across the nation.”

“Our goal is to educate and inspire children not just about the sport of sailing, but about the world’s oceans, their climates, and to discover the continents and cultures across the world,” Kelly explained. “The experience allows students to virtually travel with the sailors as they circumnavigate the earth which will be an amazing virtual journey for all ages. I am honored to help spread the message on behalf of the teams and the sailors.”

“I am thrilled to co-chair the education program for the Newport stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race,” said Davis. “This program will focus on core curriculum topics such as geography, science, sustainability and math through the lens of the world's toughest race. We are also excited to invite students to Fort Adams in May to connect them with their local waters while studying the ocean as the boats race around the world.”

Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover Educational ProgramsThe school and web-based program will lead up to the opening of the marine education “Blue Zone” to be located at the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover Sailing Village in Fort Adams State Park. Inside the Blue Zone, students will participate with interactive exhibits showcasing marine-based programming and modules related to ocean conservation, sailing, weather and sustainability. Organizations providing educational program content include National Geographic, 11th Hour Racing,

The “Blue Zone” in the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover Sailing Village will have interactive exhibits on ocean conservation, sailing, and sustainability and more.   © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Sailors for the Sea, US Sailing’s REACH Program, New England Science and Sailing, Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry and the University of Rhode Island.   

In the New England region, leaders from the educational program are visiting classrooms to make presentations on the race and the marine-based programming. Newport’s Pell School, Thompson Middle School and the East Bay Met School have all hosted presentations and plan to host additional events. Many more school visits will be made by educators and Stopover leaders as the as the race proceeds over the fall, winter and spring.   

To further link the educational program to the race, the website will also have daily race updates including news, photographs, videos and interviews with the sailors. For more information, visit volvooceanracenewport.com and click on “Education Program,” or email Read at brad.read@sailnewport.org.

Kim Cooper, Sail Newport’s Regatta & Marketing Director, contributed to this report.

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