American Sign Language Estuary Education Resources

Waquoit Bay Reserve education staff have been working closely with partners from the Deaf community to increase access to our programs for deaf individuals. In 2011, Amy Reed, intern from Cape Cod Community College, who is deaf herself, worked with WBNERR education staff to setup and lead coastal ecology field programs for students from the READS Collaborative and those continued for several years.

To expand opportunities for STEM learning in New England’s deaf community, Reserve education staff pulled together subject matter experts and educators from the Center for Research and Training at The Learning Center for the Deaf, Boston University, Waquoit Bay, Narragansett Bay (Rhode Island),  and Wells (Maine) National Estuarine Research Reserves and five schools for the deaf. Read more about this project here.

Learn about the Watershed stewardship in Action” Deaf students on the Estuary project:

Estuary and watershed related vocabulary and videos in ASL

American Sign Language Lessons on Estuaries: Five mini-videos to deepen your understanding of STEM topics while learning ASL vocabulary using conceptual signs that illustrate the scientific concepts.

ASL Clear website with STEM vocabulary & videos


The Value of Estuaries

Water Quality

Water Quality Monitoring

Sea Level Rise

ASL Estuary Storytime

Join ASL Storyteller Stephen Weiner as he performs story time with picture books about creatures from the estuary.  ​

Harry Horseshoe Crab

Written by Suzanne Tate

Illustrated by James Melvin

The Adventures of Allie the Alewife

Written by Barbara Brennessel

Illustrated by Maria Picariello

Think of an Eel

Written by Karen Wallace

Illustrated by Mike Bostock

Deaf STEM Journey

Inspire your students with these stories from Deaf STEM professionals!

Cary Ballard, a film maker in the Boston University Deaf Education Graduate Program worked with Waquoit Bay’s education staff to create Deaf STEM Journey mini videos which feature interviews with four deaf scientists.

Mauricio Orozco, Environmental Scientist

Alex Balsley, Environmental Engineer

Caroline Solomon, Biological Oceanographer

Barbara Spiecker, Marine Ecologist

Learn about the Waquoit Bay Reserve

NOAALive is a series produced by NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Regional Collaboration Network and Woods Hole Sea Grant that gets people traveling virtually to spots across the nation to hear from NOAA scientists. For this segment they came to Waquoit Bay Reserve and our manager, Tonna-Marie Rogers introduced everyone to what an estuary is, why they’re important, and what we do at Waquoit Bay Reserve. American Sign Language interpreters are provided and it’s at a very student-friendly level (53 minutes).

Additional Resources

Great website to check out! – ATOMIC HANDS

Atomic Hands was founded by Dr. Alicia Wooten and Dr. Barbara Spiecker who are themselves scientists and members of the deaf community. Their mission is to foster wonder and curiosity in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) through the production and dissemination of American Sign Language (ASL)-centric resources.