University of Southern Mississippi's Scott Aquarium will soon be
home to a new regional center of excellence in ocean sciences education.
Science Foundation, the nation's largest science research and education
agency, has awarded eight grants to form seven centers around the
country, plus a central coordinating office in Washington, D.C.
Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium will serve as headquarters
for the Central Gulf of Mexico Center for Ocean Sciences Education
Excellence. The new program is designed to integrate ocean sciences
research into the delivery of high-quality education programs, and
will pull together universities and agencies from Florida to Texas.
In addition to NSF, agencies contributing to the $1.1 million, three-year
start-up for the gulf region are the Office of Naval Research and
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Sea
Grant College Program.
gulf center will launch its first program for Mississippi teachers
this summer at the Scott Aquarium a five-day institute for
teachers of grades 5-9. Teams composed of teachers and researchers
will explore the topics of deep sea technologies, habitats and organisms
and coastal processes. Full scholarships are provided for participants.
For registration information, call (228) 374-5550 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas also will host summer institutes
for teachers and researchers from those states.
H. Walker, Scott Aquarium administrator, has been in the forefront
nationally in developing such programs to "bridge the gap"
between the newest knowledge discovered by researchers and knowledge
available to teachers, students and the general public.
take years for new research findings to filter down into science
textbooks," Walker said. "Since the early 1990s, we have
developed programs here at the aquarium that bring classroom teachers
and informal educators together with scientists. Educators learn
firsthand about the newest discoveries and knowledge related to
marine plants, animals and processes, ocean technology and global
be incorporating into the work of the new center all that we have
learned about the process of preparing educators. This new program
will expand our capability for equipping teachers to deal with complex,
rapidly changing scientific issues."
director of the NSF's division of ocean sciences, said the work
of the COSEE network as a whole will promote better understanding
of the key role that the oceans play in global environmental cycles
activities will also highlight the contribution that ocean science
researchers make to scientific knowledge in these important areas,"
Yoder said. "We at NSF are encouraging the ocean science research
community to become more involved in education at all levels. The
establishment of the COSEE network is an important milestone in
our work to promote and catalyze such efforts."
The new centers
will link people with ocean sciences research organizations and
education and outreach leaders in diverse communities. COSEE will
ensure that under-represented groups have improved access to ocean
sciences education and research. COSEE will also provide expertise
to researchers involved in education; provide incentives for school
districts and teachers to include ocean sciences in their educational
efforts; and help develop and disseminate educational materials
on ocean sciences research results.
regional headquarters include the New England Aquarium, Boston;
University of California at Berkeley; University of Southern California;
Rutgers University, New Jersey; University of South Florida; and
the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. The Consortium for Oceanographic
Research and Education in Washington, D.C., will serve as the network's
The Scott Aquarium
and its parent organization, the university's Gulf Coast Research
Laboratory in Ocean Springs, are part of the Southern Miss College
of Marine Sciences.