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Released December 13, 2004

REGISTRATION OPENS JAN. 3 FOR GULF OF MEXICO FIELD PROGRAM

OCEAN SPRINGS - College students, precollege teachers and nature enthusiasts are invited to explore the northern Gulf of Mexico through courses at The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory this summer.

Registration opens Monday, Jan. 3, for the Laboratory's summer field program, Dr. Jeffrey Lotz, chair of the Southern Miss Department of Coastal Sciences, announced today. The GCRL field program, coordinated by the department, emphasizes hands-on experiences in local coastal and marine environments in addition to time in the laboratory and the classroom.

Participants' explorations range from observation of the largest of whales inhabiting the Gulf to learning about and using the sampling gear and techniques for scientific study. Students may also choose to conduct individualized study and research under the direction of faculty at the Lab.

Courses are offered in three sessions, a May 16-27 May Mester, the May 31-June 28 first term and the June 29-July 29. The 2005 lineup also includes four mini-courses designed for teachers of kindergarten through 12th grade that last one-week and carry two semester hours credit each.

Students may earn more than 12 semester hours in a summer. Credit earned is transferred to students' home institutions.

GCRL Summer Field Program Coordinator Dawne Hard noted that each year some individuals are interested in learning more about the coastal environment but are not interested in college credit. She said individuals auditing a course are not required to take tests and do not receive college credit. They are, however, responsible for completing the registration process, including tuition and other fees.

For information, contact Dawne Hard at (228) 872-4223 or dawne.hard@usm.edu, or visit www.usm.edu/gcrl/.

The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory is part of The University of Southern Mississippi College of Science and Technology.

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January 19, 2005 3:36 PM