During the 2017-2018 school year, students from the state of Oregon and Aomori prefecture of Japan are embarking on a scientific and cultural exchange without ever leaving their classrooms. Five classes in Oregon each constructed two mini-boats equipped with GPS transmitters—one to launch from the coast of North America and the other was delivered to their partner class in Hachinohe and was launched from the Japanese Coast on December 20, 2017. Using real-time data on ocean currents and weather, students on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean are tracking movement of the mini-boats, and hopefully creating lasting friendships.
Since 2005 Nate Sandel has taught education programs to over 100,000 students in cities across the United States. Since returning to the Columbia River Maritime Museum in 2016 the department has been making connections in maritime science, history, and culture with new innovative educational programs.