February 17, 2018  

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Sharks from the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Invade Memphis

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Some 376 miles from the Gulf of Mexico sharks were spotted in downtown Memphis, Tenn. But not to worry, these sharks were preserved specimens taken to Memphis area elementary and middle schools as part of an outreach program by the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory’s Marine Education Center (MEC).

Beth Jones, Educational Programs Manager at the MEC, visited four schools in the area over a two-day period conducting a combination of shark dissections, presentations about the Gulf Coast using artifacts and a teacher professional development workshop.

The presentations ranged from a small group of five middle school students at Lamplighter Montessori, a small private school, to a group consisting of four classes of 5th graders (approximately 100 students) at Grahamwood Elementary.

The teacher workshop, titled, “A study of estuaries and coastal habitats,” included educators from 10 different elementary and middle schools. MEC educators plan to re-visit the classrooms of these Memphis teachers next fall in a follow-up outreach visit.

These trips serve to promote the Coastal Science Camp (CSC) programs available at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory’s MEC.  The MEC’s CSC program, begun some 25 years ago, provides participants with hands-on and field experience focused on our dynamic coastal habitats, marine plants and animals, and current research at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. 

Historically, these camps have targeted student groups from 4th grade through high school. However these offerings are now also available to other organized groups, such as Scout troops, environmental clubs, community colleges, and youth and adult organizations.

Coastal Science Camp outdoor learning adventures are available from August through May and range from two- to five-day experiences. These camps are customizable and can be tailored to the educational goals of the group through a wide variety of available topics.

For more information, visit the website: https://www.usm.edu/gcrl/mec/coastal.sciences.camp.php, call 228.818.8890 or email marine.education@usm.edu