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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

News from the URI Graduate School of Oceanography . . .

URI Office of Marine Programs Honored for Coastal Environmental Website

Narragansett, R.I. -- May 15, 2001 -- The Discovery of Coastal Environments (DOCE), a website designed to educate teachers, students, and the general public about Rhode Island’s coastal ecosystems, has been chosen as a finalist in the Environment, Energy & Agriculture category of the Computerworld Honors Collection. The website, which takes visitors on virtual field trips to four distinct coastal ecosystems, was conceived and developed by Gail Scowcroft, Associate Director of the University of Rhode Island’s Office of Marine Programs.

Established in 1988, the Computerworld Honors Program brings together the Chairmen or Chief Executive Officers of the one hundred foremost information technology companies in the world to help leading universities, libraries, and research institutions document the global information technology revolution.

Nominated for the Computerworld award by Ivan Seidenberg, Chairman of Verizon Communications, DOCE was launched by the Office of Marine Programs in November of 1998. During the first week of its web debut, the site logged more than 13,000 visitors and continues to average close to 10,000 visits per week.

Under Scowcroft’s direction, the DOCE project brought scientists and educators together to create an Internet site that brings the visitor on virtual field trips to the rocky shore, sandy beach, salt march, and coastal lagoon or salt pond. In addition, the site integrates the use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) maps, the cultural history, and the physical characteristics of the regions. It also contains a photo gallery of all the animals, plants, and algae that live in each ecosystem.

"The Discovery of Coastal Environments site provides a glimpse into the world of the coastal scientists who are studying problems such as coastal erosion and pollution," said Scowcroft, a resident of Narragansett. "Children visiting the site come away inspired and adults discover what a critical resource these regions are. We want people to become aware of the challenges that face us as we strive to preserve and protect them for future generations."

The DOCE project was funded by the Eisenhower Professional Development Program of the Rhode Island Department of Higher Education. A new website is being planned for launch in November of this year. Building on DOCE, the Discovery of Estuarine Environments (DOEE) will allow students to take virtual field trips from their classroom into the waters of Narragansett Bay. This new site is being developed in partnership with the Narragansett Bay Commission. It will also give teachers, students, and the general public access to data that is being collected by several buoys stationed in the bay.

Scowcroft and the other finalists will be honored at a formal award ceremony on June 4 in Washington, DC, at the National Building Museum.

The Discovery of Coastal Environments can be viewed on the Internet at

Established in 1986 as the marine and environmental outreach arm of URI's Office of the Vice Provost for Marine Programs, OMP's targeted audiences include educators and students at all levels, the general public, volunteers, scientists and engineers, journalists and the media, alumni, donors, and friends of the Graduate School of Oceanography. Housed in the Coastal Institute at URI's Narragansett Bay Campus, OMP outreach efforts are focused in the areas of marine and environmental education and science communications.

Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642,

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