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Released April 19, 2004



LONG BEACH -- With its most recent grant of $44,500, The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast's Live Oak Writing Project (LOWP) has received $141,400 in grant money in its three-year existence.

The 2003-04 grants include a $38,000 continuation grant from the National Writing Project (NWP), a $3,000 mini-grant from the Teacher Inquiry Network, and a $3,500 mini-grant from the Rural Sites Network.

"The continuation grant will let us be able to continue to help improve the quality of writing in Gulf Coast schools," said Dr. Elaine White, project co-director and assistant professor of English at Southern MissGC. "The mini-grants will be models for other National Writing Project sites to follow in their work." White is joined by Mary Kay Deen and Frances Weiler, the other co-directors.

The $3,000 mini-grant will fund teacher research at the LOWP site. The $3,500 min-grant will fund a project that will involve writing curriculum integrating art, writing and science. Both mini-grants are also from NWP.

Other received grants include an $18,500 grant from the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute (2002-03), a $28,000 NWP grant (2002-03), an $11,900 grant from the Mississippi Power Education, a $20,000 NWP grant (2001-02) and an $18,500 grant from the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute (2001-02).

The grant money facilitates LOWP, a Southern MissGC writing program, helping Gulf Coast teachers train better writers.

"As writers and educators, we are only limited by our imagination," White said.

That concept is what White instilled in the 33 teachers who have completed a hands-on Invitational Summer Institute, where they have examined their classroom practices, conducted research and developed their own writing skills. The Summer Institute is offered each year for those selected to become teacher consultants.

During this year's Summer Institute June 2-July 3, the 15 Gulf Coast teachers invited to attend will train to become LOWP fellows.

The work of the site includes not only the Summer Institute, but also continued training in composition instruction for the more than 50 teacher consultants affiliated with LOWP. Other functions of LOWP include leadership training for the teacher consultants and in-service programs provided for other teachers through events such as the annual Fall Festival of Writing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in the Pascagoula, Bay-Waveland, Pass Christian and Hancock County school districts.

A new event this year will be a Creative Writing Festival, as faculty and students at Southern MissGC will judge writing of Jackson, Harrison and Hancock County high school students. This will be held on June 25 at the Gulf Park campus.

Another new program will be the Writing Improvement Network. This will be used to help teachers of fourth- and seventh-grade students prepare for the state writing assessment.

LOWP is a local project site of the National Writing Project, which is a professional development network established in 1974 for teachers to improve the

teaching and learning of writing in public schools.

The service area of LOWP includes teachers in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, George and Stone counties.

To learn more about the Live Oak Writing Project, contact White at (228) 214-3288.


OCEAN SPRINGS -- Award-winning wildlife photographer Tom Ulrich will lead two photographic events at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory on Wednesday, March 10.

He will present a nature photography workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then a talk and slide show called "Wildlife Images 2003" at 7 p.m., both at The University of Southern Mississippi GCRL.

Admission to the evening event is free and will be held in the Caylor Auditorium at GCRL. The veteran photographer will feature photos from his 2003 photographic safaris abroad and in North America. He will answer questions and sign his books during the reception following his slide show.

The registration fee for the all-day workshop is $50 per person, payable to GCRL. Registration includes a continental breakfast, light lunch and snacks. Participation is limited to 20. Though the workshop is geared toward beginners, Ulrich tailors the experience to meet needs for all degrees of skill.

"The beginners will definitely benefit from the workshop, but I always help the more advanced get something out of it also," Ulrich said. "I lead many photo trips and always find a wide range of levels."

Ulrich said participants do not need to bring their photographic equipment unless they need an explanation about some aspect of their equipment.

Topics include a brief review of the principles of photography, relationships between shutter and aperture settings, fundamental elements of composition, use and timing of fill-in flash, digital versus film photography, techniques of close-up photography, and a brief discussion of slide etiquette, the photography business and marketing.

Ulrich grew up in South Chicago, graduated with a degree in biology from Southern Illinois University and taught for four years before launching his career as a freelance photographer. He has supported himself with nature photography for the past 29 years.

His library of more than 300,000 transparencies includes birds and mammals from all over the world. His photographs have been featured in publications such as National Wildlife, Audubon, National Geographic, Montana Outdoors and Life.

He has published six nature books, including Mammals of the Rockies, Birds of the Northern Rockies, Once Upon a Frame and his 2002 release, Photo Pantanal. Dr. William E. Hawkins, GCRL executive director, said Ulrich brings the scientific and artistic worlds together.

"Tom earns his living photographing wildlife all over the world," Hawkins sad. "He is an outstanding observer and a biologist. His approach to photography is to capture his subjects exhibiting their natural behavior."

The GCRL is home to the university's Department of Coastal Sciences, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, and the Gulf Coast Geospatial Center. The J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium is also a unit of the laboratory. The GCRL is part of the Southern Miss College of Science and Technology. For more information, call the laboratory at (228) 872-4200.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM