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Released October 17, 2003


BILOXI -The University of Southern Mississippi is inviting Mississippi informal educators to explore new marine environmental research and technology in a Nov. 6-7 workshop at the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium.

"The marine environmental workshop is part of a national effort to educate people - no matter where they live - about the importance of oceans to their lives," said Dr. Sharon H. Walker, administrator of the university's Scott Aquarium. "Most people aren't aware that the oceans provide 60 to 80 percent of the oxygen they breathe, that the oceans drive our weather.

"This summer we worked with Mississippi teachers and marine researchers as part of this national program. Now we want to reach the individuals who affect public understanding and behavior in regard to oceans and coastal waters."

Walker said any individual is eligible for the workshop if his or her position involves educating or informing others about some aspect of Mississippi's environment.

"Participants range from personnel at parks and museums to members of the media," Walker said.

Scientists will share the latest in such topics as meteorology, marine aquaculture and ecological assessment. Guest speakers will include Dr. LaDon Swann, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant director; David Yeager, director of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program; and Dr. Bill Burnett, chief meteorologist with the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at Stennis Space Center.

Also on the agenda are breakout sessions for learning activities on related concepts and a sunset sail on a Biloxi schooner the first evening.

The workshop will run from noon Thursday, Nov. 6, to noon Friday, Nov. 7, at the aquarium. Cost to participants is a $25 nonrefundable registration fee. Workshop sponsors are providing meals and lodging at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs.

The event is a Mississippi component of the national Centers for Ocean Science Educational Excellence. National and regional supporters have signed on to the concept of COSEE as a catalyst for bridging the gap between ocean and coastal sciences research and people of all educational levels said Walker, director of the Central Gulf of Mexico COSEE headquartered at the aquarium.

Supporting the ambitious project in the central gulf and in Mississippi are the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research-National Oceanographic Partnership Program, the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration's National Sea Grant College Program, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Southern Miss.

For information or to register, contact or call Kay Baggett at (228) 374-5550.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM