Category Archives: marine extension

NOSB national winners visit Skidaway campus

The winning team of the National Ocean Science Bowl visited the Skidaway campus in July. The four-person team from Santa Monica High School (California) was awarded a week-long trip as first prize.

Marine Superintendent John Bichy explains Skidaway Institute’s marine operations to the NOSB winners.

The four high school students spent the morning of July 18th visiting the aquarium. After lunch they walked across campus to Skidaway Institute, where Mike Sullivan gave them an overview of the institute. Brian Binder, from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences, described the marine science program at UGA. The team toured the campus and visited several labs. John Bichy showed them through the R/V Savannah. The afternoon wrapped up with research presentations from Liz Harvey and Cliff Buck.

An interdisciplinary ocean science education program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the NOSB tests students’ knowledge of ocean-related topics, including cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology. To qualify for NOSB finals, the 25 competing teams first had to win their regional competitions. The regional competition for Georgia and South Carolina was held at Savannah State University in early February. In total, approximately 392 teams, made up of 1,960 students representing 33 states, participated.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter visits the UGA Oyster Hatchery

By: Emily Woodward

Congressman Buddy Carter toured the oyster hatchery at UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant and met with a shellfish grower who is working with UGA to grow single oysters in an effort to diversify the coastal economy.

Carter, along with Jared Downs, a member of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s staff, spent Feb. 24 at the hatchery on Skidaway Island, learning about UGA’s effort to revive the oyster industry in Georgia.

U.S. Representative Buddy Carter (center in white shirt) tours the hatchery.

“The oyster industry has great potential to bring strong economic benefits to our area,” Carter said, following the visit. “The UGA oyster hatchery is leading this effort and working to strengthen Georgia’s shellfish industry.”

Carter and Downs met with Mark Risse, director of Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant Tom Bliss, director of the Shellfish Research Lab, as well as extension agents at the hatchery, to learn about their efforts to produce spat, or baby oysters, and grow them into single oysters for the half-shell market.

Since its launch in 2015, the hatchery has produced 700,000 spat, which have been given to 10 shellfish farmers on the coast who grow the oysters on sites they lease from the state Department of Natural Resources. The potential harvest value of the oyster is $140,000 to $245,000. By 2018, the hatchery is expected to produce between 5 million and 7 million spat per year, with an annual estimated harvest value between $1 million and $2 million. The goal is to attract a commercial hatchery and businesses related to oyster production to the area, which would provide jobs and greater economic development opportunities on the coast.

During his visit, Carter traveled by boat to see the oysters in Wassaw Sound farmed by John Pelli, owner of Savannah Clam Company, and sample the raw oysters. In addition to hearing about the economic benefit of oyster production, Carter also learned that oyster production improves water quality. A single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day, a benefit to everyone, not just those involved in the seafood industry.

“I am glad to have had the opportunity to see the great work going on at the hatchery and I look forward to seeing the oyster harvesting business grow in our community and state,” Carter said.

UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant also is helping the oyster growers connect with seafood distribution companies and restaurants to raise awareness of the Georgia single oyster, Risse said.

 

National award will allow more students to experience the Georgia coast

A $50,000 Hollings Award from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will pay for 850 fourth graders from Liberty and McIntosh counties to experience Georgia’s coastal environment and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary during field trips to the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island.

Marine Extension associate director Anne Lindsay shows a corn snake to a group of students.

“We are extremely excited about this opportunity,” said Mark Risse, director of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, which oversees the education center and aquarium. “Reaching these historically underserved communities with hands-on, field-oriented educational programs is often difficult due to transportation and economic issues. This funding will allow us to target our efforts just for them and provide free transportation and programs.”

In addition, the grant will allow UGA and Gray’s Reef to offer free programs on Georgia’s estuarine systems and offshore habitats at a school in each county, extending the education to students’ families.

“These communities are located in watersheds that impact the waters around Gray’s Reef. We hope that our efforts will influence the decisions they make and benefit the coastal ecosystems surrounding the sanctuary,” Risse said.

Enhancements to the Gray’s Reef exhibit at the UGA Aquarium are also included as part of the project. A new wall-mounted monitor and graphics will feature underwater video footage of the reef and provide information to aquarium visitors about the National Marine Sanctuary Program.

The award is one of five 2017 grants totaling $215,000 from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Hollings Awards, an annual program designed to expand public awareness of conservation issues.

Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant offers December public programs

Check out the Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant events calendar for new public programs offered this winter and spring:  http://marex.uga.edu/calendar/

December Events

December 10: SEA program: Holiday Hike with John Crawford, 1-4 p.m., cost $22

December 14: Full Moon Night Hike, 6:30-7:30 p.m., cost: $10

December 21: Junior Aquarist, open to youth 10-15 years old, 9 a.m. – noon, cost: $22

Registration is required one week prior to any program. For more information or to register, contact Kayla Clark at kayla270@uga.edu or (912) 598-3345.

Registration is now open for the 2017 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit

yocs-savannahUGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant is hosting Georgia’s third annual Youth Ocean Conservation Summit on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island. This summit, one of several taking place across the country, empowers students with the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to successfully implement ocean conservation projects.

The event will include skill-building workshops, brainstorming sessions, citizen science presentations and panels featuring professionals working on coastal issues in Georgia. At the end of the day, students will work together to develop and present ideas for conservation efforts that they can lead in their local communities. The event is being organized by the 2016-2017 Georgia Sea Grant Marine Education Interns Kira Krall, Hannah Kittler, Hannah Edwards and McKenna Lyons.

Online registration is open now and closes Jan. 18. The summit is limited to 50 students on a first-come, first-served basis. A $10 registration fee includes lunch and all materials. To register, complete the online registration form and payment.

For more information, visit the Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant website http://marex.uga.edu/yocs/.

 

Georgia Sea Grant education interns arrive at the coast

Four recent college graduates have been awarded one-year marine education internships with UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. Funded by Georgia Sea Grant, the interns will serve as educators for students, teachers and the general public.

The interns will spend 50 weeks on Skidaway Island at the Marine Education Center and Aquarium offering formal and informal educational programs focused on the ecology of Georgia’s coastal and estuarine ecosystems. Interns also will participate in community outreach by judging science fair projects, teaching during science nights at local schools and participating in events, like CoastFest and Skidaway Marine Science Day.

The interns were selected from an international pool of applicants and began their training in September. They are Kira Krall from Saint Petersburg, Fla.; Hannah Kittler from Adams, Mass.; Hannah Edwards from Navarre, Fla.; and McKenna Lyons from Beachs Park, Ill.

2016-2017 Georgia Sea Grant Education Interns (from left to right): Hannah Edwards, Kira Krall, McKenna Lyons, and Hannah Kittler

2016-2017 Georgia Sea Grant Education Interns (from left to right): Hannah Edwards, Kira Krall, McKenna Lyons, and Hannah Kittler

Kira Krall graduated from the University Florida with a degree in natural resource conservation. While in college, she volunteered for two years as a school programs docent for the Florida Museum of Natural History. After graduation, Kira worked as a teaching assistant for the Duke Talent Identification program’s marine science summer camps and as an environmental education intern at the Conservancy in Southwest Florida.

Hannah Kittler attended St. Michaels College in Vermont. She majored in biology and minored in chemistry and environmental studies. After graduation she worked at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center for a year as an environmental educator and spent time as a technician in their wildlife and aquatics lab.

Hannah Edwards received a degree in environmental science and policy from the University of South Florida. Hannah worked as a student teacher in high school, hosting field trips and community outreach Programs focused on marine ecosystems. In college, she volunteered at Sweetwater Organic Community Farm, educating groups about organic farming, the biology and significance of the diverse Sweetwater plants, and the importance of environmentally-friendly and sustainable life choices.

McKenna Lyons graduated with a degree in marine and atmospheric science from the University of Miami in Florida. She worked as a naturalist at the Biscayne Nature Center, leading summer camp groups on fishing trips in the local seagrass beds. Lyons taught students how to identify marine life, gave presentations on sea turtle life history and discussed human impacts on aquatic environments.

UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant welcomes Emily Woodward

emily-wEmily Woodward is UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s new public relations coordinator. She’ll be taking over the communications program in place of Jill Gambill, who was recently promoted to UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s coastal community resilience specialist and public service assistant. Woodward will be based on Skidaway Island at the Shellfish Research Lab.

In her role, she will work to improve the visibility of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant not only on the coast, but across the state of Georgia by promoting the latest marine research, educational opportunities, and outreach events on behalf of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant.

Throughout her professional career, Woodward has communicated the importance of science and natural resource conservation for government agencies, non-government organizations, and academic institutes. She understands the need to educate coastal communities about marine research and how it can be used to inform public policy and coastal management. She believes in the importance of helping humans understand natural systems by explaining their connections to them and the benefits they derive from them.

Most recently, Woodward served as the Communications Specialist at the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve, a program managed through a state and federal partnership between NOAA and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management. Some of her projects involved leading a communications and outreach campaign promoting the use of living shorelines for erosion control, writing articles focused on marine ecology and water quality research, and assisting with K-12 educational programs and training workshops designed for technical and real estate professionals. She has her bachelor’s degree in English from North Carolina State University.