Spotting dolphins, building sand castles and watching fiddler crabs scurry in the marsh mud—the Georgia coast is a fascinating place! With two thirds of the state’s population living more than 50 miles from the coast, many of Georgia’s children do not have an opportunity to experience our beautiful beaches, marshes and waterways for themselves.
Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service (MAREX) offer ocean literacy programs for students from pre-kindergarten through high school, connecting children to the coast in school classrooms, island summer camps and in MAREX’s coastal facilities. When children learn about coastal environments and how their daily actions impact them, they also learn how to be good stewards of their coastal resources.
Georgia Sea Grant Internship Program
The Georgia Sea Grant Internship Program, based at the University of Georgia’s Marine Education Center and Aquarium (MECA), has provided hands-on experience in marine science education for over 24 years. The program began in 1987 and has grown into a nationally recognized marine education program. The program awards prestigious one-year internships to four recent graduates from across the country to serve as educators for MECA on Skidaway Island, Georgia.
A new group of four student interns that began in September of 2011 will reach over 30,000 students, teachers and members of the general public while at MECA. The interns direct on-site pre-k to college classes, summer marine science camps, public programs, and participate in local festivals. For more information, see the Georgia Sea Grant Internship Program webpage.
4-H Programs in Camden County
With Georgia Sea Grant support, MAREX Brunswick coordinates the annual visit of around 290 children from the Camden County 4-H program. These fifth graders experience hands-on activities such as touring the R/V Georgia Bulldog and exploring coastal finfish in a touch tank.
Atlanta to the Coast Competition
Georgia Sea Grant hosts the annual Atlanta to the Coast competition to engage young adults from the eastern Atlanta metropolitan area (in the Upper Ocmulgee and Upper Oconee watersheds) to discover the connection between Atlanta and Georgia’s coast. With themes changing each year, students learn about how water from their watershed travels to the coast and what happens along the way to affect the quantity and quality of water that arrives there.
Expanding Your Horizons
MAREX Brunswick’s Water Quality Program participates in “Expanding Your Horizons,” a career exploration program that provides middle school girls an opportunity to explore potential careers and participate in hands-on activities pertaining to their interests.
Georgia’s Amazing Coast
What began as an educational cartoon in coastal newspapers about the wonders of coastal Georgia, has now grown into a multi-state educational plan. Products from Georgia’s Amazing Coast include a weekly desk calendar, curriculum materials, a book by UGA Press, multiple awards and comparable versions of the project in North and South Carolina.
High School Education on Local Seafood
Through a UGA Scholarship of Engagement Grant, MAREX taught coastal high school students about contaminants in local seafood. Extension agents presented crab cleaning workshops and facilitated field trips to the program’s Brunswick facility.
Roger Day’s Marsh Madness
Since 2009, Georgia Sea Grant and the Savannah Music Festival have partnered to bring award-winning children musician Roger Day to more than 12,000 students on the Georgia coast. Day’s educational performance, Marsh Madness, includes songs about the state’s coastal habitats and creatures. To help the children understand the ecosystem topics presented in the songs, Georgia Sea Grant and MAREX created study guides for pre-K through fourth grade based on state science standards for teachers to accompany the performance.
St. Simons Island Christian Montessori School (CMS)
In 2011, MAREX Brunswick’s Water Quality Program developed curriculum on water quality and its connection with sustainability for the St. Simons Christian Montessori School (CMS). Students took a field trip to MAREX Brunswick to conduct water quality sampling and tour the Coastal Sustainable Communities (CSC) Native Plant Gardens and ‘alternative energy options’ demonstration site.
The Flying Debris
In 2011, MAREX Brunswick published an illustrated children’s book, The Flying Debris, with local artist E.D. Hose on the harmful effects of marine debris. Based on a poster series by the same name, the book follows a group of marine animals living on an island of trash as they learn about the dangers of plastic, the link between land and sea, and the importance of recycling and reusing things in their own lives.
YWCA’s Young Women’s Career Adventure
For the past 11 years, MAREX has helped rising 8th grade girls explore careers in science and develop leadership skills through the YWCA of Brunswick’s summer program. Students learn from female extension agents on how they became scientists and participate in hands-on activities relating to water quality and sustainability.