The main goal of the Coastal Ocean Environment Summer School in Ghana (COESSING) is to build capacity in oceanographic and environmental sciences in Ghana. We have held schools each year from 2015 to 2021. Marine issues of great importance to Ghana include fisheries, piracy, pollution, shipping and port management, and the recent advent of offshore oil drilling. Long-term goals of our group include securing funding to continue the school on an annual basis, continuing to build links with institutions in other African countries, and continuing to increase the research footprint of the school.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY:
The Coastal Ocean Environment Summer School in Ghana began with an exploratory “scouting trip” made in August 2014 by Professor Brian K. Arbic and Research Scientist Dr. Joseph Ansong of the University of Michigan to the University of Ghana (UG), Regional Maritime University (RMU), the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in the University of Cape Coast (UCC), and several departments at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Together with our Ghanaian colleagues, we have held summer schools every year since 2015.
The 2016 summer school was held from 1-5 August on the University of Ghana campus in Accra. The 2016 summer school was hosted by the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences. The Ghanaian organizers were Dr. Edem Mahu and Dr. Kwasi Appeaning Addo.
The 2017 summer school was held from 31 July-August 4 at Regional Maritime University in Accra. The Ghanaian organizers were Senam Tsei and Captain Johnson Adjetey.
From 2016 to 2018, significant organization on the US side was done by Emily Shroyer, Aline Cotel, Drew Lucas, and Adam Simon.
The 2019 summer school was held from August 5 – August 10 at Regional Maritime University in Accra. The Ghanaian organizer was Captain Johnson Adjetey.
In response to COVID-19, virtual schools were held from August 3 – August 8, 2020, January 4 – January 9, 2021, and July 26 – August 6, 2021. The Ghanaian organizers were Dr. Edem Mahu and Captain Johnson Adjetey.
From 2019 to 2021, significant organization on the US side was also done by Paige Martin, Winn Johnson, Maddie Foster-Martinez, and Madelyn Cook.
Arbic was a US Peace Corps Volunteer Secondary Math and Physics Teacher at Damongo Secondary School from 1990-1992. Ansong was a student in Arbic’s Damongo classroom and worked as a postdoc in Arbic’s lab at University of Michigan from 2011-2017. Ansong returned to Ghana, as a faculty member in the UG Department of Mathematics, in 2017. Some background on Arbic and Ansong’s time together in Ghana in the 1990s and 2010s can be found here. Another participating US professor, Emily Shroyer of Oregon State University, was also a Peace Corps Volunteer Teacher in Ghana (Half Assini Secondary School, 2001-2003).
The 2014 exploratory trip and the 2015 summer school were supported by a US National Science Foundation Grant (OCE-1351837) to University of Michigan Professor Brian Arbic.
The 2016-2018 summer schools were funded from a variety of sources, including several sources at the University of Michigan (MCubed, African Studies Center (ASC), ASC STEM Initiative, Michigan Sustainability Cases of the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and the Office of Global and Engaged Education), and several sources within Ghana (Ghana Ministry of Petroleum, Ghana Shippers Authority, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ghana Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, and Global Cargo and Freight Forwarding Ltd.).
In 2017 we also received funding for the summer school from the hosting institution, Regional Maritime University (RMU).
In 2018 we received additional funding from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, and from a supplement to Arbic’s National Science Foundation grant OCE-1351837.
The 2019 school was funded primarily by Arbic’s National Science Foundation grant OCE-1851164. Additional funding came from the host institution Regional Maritime University (RMU) and the Office of Global and Engaged Education at the University of Michigan.
We also wish to acknowledge several instructors who used some of their own individual funding to travel to the school.
COASTAL OCEAN ENVIRONMENT SUMMER SCHOOL IN THE PRESS:
Ghana News Agency, August 2, 2016
Koowa Media, August 2016
News Ghana, August 2016
2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Poster presentation, February 2016
2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Oral presentation slides, February 2018
Plastic Punch – started by Richmond Kennedy Quarcoo (COESSING participant 2015-2019): an international team of dedicated professionals aimed at protecting the environment from plastic waste, providing better waste management solutions, while improving people’s living conditions. Plastic Punch is a non profit organization launched in January 2018 in Accra, Ghana.
- Website: http://plasticpunch.org
- Twitter: @PlasticPunchGH
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/plasticpunch/
- Instagram: @plastic_punch
SELECT COESSING SUCCESSES
- Senam Tsai, a co-organizer of the 2017 summer school, is now a graduate student studying with Stephan Howden at University of Southern Mississippi.
Jennifer Moskel wrote an MS thesis (link to thesis) at Oregon State University on the impacts of our summer school on participants from the US, Europe, and Africa.
- The Python workshops that have been held at COESSING since 2018, have been a large success, introducing participants to the basics of Python computing. Several participants have used their Python knowledge to further their careers.
CREDITS FOR WEBSITE, PHOTOS, AND LOGO:
The coessing.org website was created by Anne Canavati, a University of Michigan student research assistant who participated in the 2016 summer school. Paige Martin has been an instructor and maintained the website for the summer schools since 2017.
Photos from the 2019 school were taken by Paige Martin, RMU Photographer John Ayensu, and Jackie Wrage. During the 2018 school, photos were taken primarily by instructors Paige Martin, Nefertiti Smith, Christian Buckingham, Stephen Howden, and Dimitris Menemenlis, as well as Nigerian participant Darasimi Ogunsola. Photos from the 2017 school were taken primarily by Robert (Nick) King from CRDF Global, RMU Photographer John Ayensu, and several instructors, including Paige Martin and Dimitris Menemenlis. Most of the photos of the 2016 school were taken by Anne Canavati, University of Michigan student Elizabeth Oliphant, and instructor Drew Lucas. Most of the 2015 photos were taken by the RMU photographer John Ayensu and by instructor Winn Johnson. The summer school logo was designed by University of Michigan student Jessica Hicks.