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Released June 8, 2004

SCOTT AQUARIUM INTERNS CREATE 'BUTTERFLY HOUSE' FOR SEA CAMP

BILOXI -- A new butterfly house is on the itinerary for sea campers at The University of Southern Mississippi's Scott Aquarium.

Scott Aquarium educator and scientist Dr. Shelia Brown and her team of college interns put the finishing touches on the butterfly habitat exhibit in preparation for the Monday, June 7, opening of Project Marine Discovery Sea Camp, the popular marine sciences day camp held for ages 5-16 at the aquarium each summer.

The exhibit features a screened-in, outdoor space full of living plants and a variety of insects in various life stages. Two dozen monarch and painted lady butterflies, caterpillars, praying mantis egg cases and about 1,500 ladybugs are helping create the living classroom. The new exhibit will immerse children in the real world of insects that live in or migrate through local coastal environments.

"Our interns have done a remarkable job," Brown said. She said Charmain Chatman of Biloxi and Tameka Colston of Gulfport were awarded the internship during their final year at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - Jefferson Davis campus.

Their work at the aquarium includes three semester hours' credit through the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory's Summer Field Program and is a prelude to the next stage of their education. They are enrolling at Southern Miss Gulf Coast for the fall semester. Their internships also move them closer to their career goals focused on education. Colston has set her sights on a career in informal education programs similar to those at the aquarium. Chatman wants to become an educator in the biological sciences.

The minority internships are funded by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium as part of the Gulf of Mexico region's Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, headquartered at the aquarium.

In addition to the butterfly house visits and activities, campers will also encounter other new hands-on experiences to complement field trips, computer labs and art activities. Campers will close each week with a "Birthday Blast" carnival to celebrate Scott Aquarium's 20th birthday.

The five-day sessions are repeated each week of June 7 through July 30 with the exception of July 19-23. Sessions for five-year-old campers run from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Hours for all other ages are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Costs per week are age 5, $70; ages 6-7, $120; ages 8-14, $135; ages 15-16, $150.

For registration information, call (228) 374-5550, e-mail scott.aquarium@usm.edu or vist www.usm.edu/aquarium/pmdsecmp.htm.

Scott Aquarium is part of the university's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, a unit of the Southern Miss College of Science and Technology.

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June 11, 2004 4:12 PM

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