November 25, 2014  

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Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Marine Education Center to Host Stewardship Summit

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The Stewardship Summit provides an opportunity for students from different participating schools to meet each other and become better stewards of our natural environment while learning more about watershed connections to the coast. (Submitted photo)

The Cedar Point teaching site of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) will be the location of the second annual Shifting Baselines Stewardship Summit May 17-18.

TheShifting Baselines projectis funded at GCRL by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Bay Watershed Education and Training Program (B-WET). The project developed a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) to teach K-12 students watershed concepts, science content and environmental stewardship using maps, aerial photography, internet resources and field experiences.  

Last summer teachers participated in professional development at GCRL and returned during the school year bringing up to 25 students to practice their skills. Each teacher has invited five exceptional students to return to GCRL for the culminating event of the project, the Stewardship Summit. 

The Stewardship Summit provides an opportunity for students from different participating schools to meet each other and become better stewards of our natural environment while learning more about watershed connections to the coast. The teachers and selected students spend a full day in games, presentations and field experiences to learn more about stewardship activities, such as those of natural resource scientist Dr. Keith Mullin (NOAA Marine Mammal Research in the Gulf of Mexico). 

Highlights of the Stewardship Summit will be the Earth Ball Obstacle Course (on Friday night), school summaries of their stewardship activities and a field trip to Bay St. Louis to review efforts by various community groups to make Mississippi’s coastal communities more resilient after Hurricane Katrina (both on Saturday morning).  By the end of the Summit each participant will identify and describe an action he or she can take to be a better environmental steward.

The teachers and students who will be participating in the 2013 Stewardship Summitattend schools all over Mississippi and Louisiana, including:  Philadelphia High School, Philadelphia, MS (Jim Luke), St. Stanislaus College, Bay St. Louis, MS (Letha Boudreaux, Dan Munger), St. Thomas More High School, Lafayette, LA (John Dupuis), Blackburn Middle School, Jackson, MS (Bridget Harkins, Marian Howze), St. Martin Middle School, Ocean Springs, MS  (Virginia McLaughlin), Sumrall High School, Sumrall, MS (Jamie Sorrell).

The mission of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Mississippi's marine laboratory, is scientific discovery related to coastal and marine resources, development of new marine technologies, and the education of future scientists and citizens.