October 22, 2014  

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Mississippi Service Learning Program Supports Coastal Science Education

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As a grant awardee of the Mississippi Service Learning Program (MSSLP), a program at The University of Southern Mississippi, students in honors biology classes at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Jefferson Davis campus recently worked with the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) to develop a large timeline mural with narrative displaying the BP Horizon oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

This effort included developing a tri-fold brochure for statewide distribution to cover the economic impact and effects to the wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems of the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coastlines. Funding was also used to construct a 3-D display of a ‘trash’ timeline involving collection of and research regarding the biodegradability of material that washes up on the Gulf Coast shoreline, the development of a plant trail brochure, and a classroom mural at the IMMS depicting the U.S. states’ and Canadian provinces’ waterways that drain into the Mississippi River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.

Students participating in these projects shared their experiences at the Mississippi Academy of Sciences annual meeting  Feb. 23 at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg. Presentations included “Mississippi Gulf Coast Coastal Waters And Barrier Islands Mural” (Sana Solangi),  “Deep-water Horizon Oil Spill Timeline: The Story Continues” (Brittney Cruz), “Trail Plant Brochures for the Institute Of Marine Mammal Studies Nature Trail” (Christopher Guice), “Marine Litter Decay Timeline” (Bianca Lewis and Raven Supak), “Mississippi Highway Litter Decay Timeline” (Joseph Koehler), “Deep-water Horizon Oil Spill: The Beginning of the Story” (Randi Watt), “Deep-water Horizon Oil Spill Tri-Fold Brochures” (Kishana McKnight), and “Mississippi River Watershed Educational Mural” (Julia Perrett and Stephen West).

Funding from the Mississippi Service Learning Program, housed at Southern Miss, is administered by Learn and Serve America (LSA) through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The purpose of the program is to expand participation in community service by supporting innovative service-learning programs carried out through institutions of higher education, acting as civic institutions to meet the human, educational, environmental, or public safety needs of neighboring communities. 

To learn more about the Mississippi Service Learning Program, call 601.266.5189.