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Cultural Arts Series to Present Waterlines: Blue Economies and Sustainable Futures on December 7

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 12:28pm | By: Jenny Tate

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Gulf Park Cultural Arts Series will continue its 2019-20 programming with “Waterlines: Blue Economies and Sustainable Futures” on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., at the USM Marine Education Center (MEC) (101 Sweetbay Drive) in Ocean Springs, Miss.

“Waterlines: Blue Economies and Sustainable Futures” will feature guided walking tours of the MEC, immersive interactive experiences, USM undergraduate service learning research presentations, socially engaged arts performances, and community partner information booths.

“The Marine Education Center was designed to maximize resilience in the face of climate change and sea level rise while minimizing its footprint on the vital (and beautiful) coastal environment,” said Dr. Christopher D. Foley, event organizer and USM assistant professor of English. “The MEC is the perfect location for ‘Waterlines: Blue Economies and Sustainable Futures’ because the site—like the event itself—showcases both USM’s commitment to community engagement and its renowned expertise in the marine sciences.”

Performances include a staged reading of the one-act play “Canary” by Hanna Cormick as well as short film and documentary screenings produced by USM undergraduate film students.

A unique virtual reality (VR) station will offer attendees the opportunity to participate in the Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience. This virtual underwater ecosystem, produced by researchers at Stanford University, allows participants to observe first-hand – through VR – how projected CO2 emission levels are expected to affect the vitality of coral reefs and the populations of marine organisms by the end of the century.

Science on a Sphere, a spherical projection system created by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, is on permanent exhibition at the MEC. During the event, high-resolution data visualizations representing the 2005 hurricane season (featuring Katrina) and the increases in global temperature and ocean acidification since the industrial revolution will be projected onto the sphere.

The event will culminate with a panel of marine scientists from the MEC and USM’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory discussing the potential effects of climate change on the marine ecosystems and marine-based economies situated along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

This family-friendly event is free and open to members of the University community and general public. Light refreshments will be provided. The event is supported in part by Climate Change Theatre Action 2019.

All events will take place at the USM Marine Education Center.

Schedule of Events:

  • Welcome, 11 to 11:30 a.m.
  • “Canary” by Hanna Cormick, Staged Reading of One-Act Play, 11:30 a.m. to Noon
  • Guided Walking Tour of the MEC, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Showcase of Undergraduate Service Learning Projects, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Grab-and-Go Lunch, Noon to 1 p.m.
  • Short Film and Documentary Screenings, 1 to 2:15 p.m.
  • Guided Walking Tour of the MEC, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
  • Panel: Climate Change and the Blue Economy, 2:15 to 3 p.m.

Ongoing activities throughout the day provide opportunities for participants to choose their own adventure.

  • Virtual Reality Station: "Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience", 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Science on a Sphere Exhibit, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Community Partner Information Booths, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Independent Hiking, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

For more information about this event, or to learn more about the USM Gulf Park Cultural Arts Series, contact Dr. Christopher D. Foley at Christopher.D.FoleyFREEMississippi.