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MEC Summer Camps Provide Memorable, Educational Experiences

Thu, 04/11/2024 - 10:41am | By: Gabriela Shinskie


Get ready to experience a summer like no other with The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Marine Education Center’s (MEC) 2024 summer camps offering hands-on, immersive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences against a coastal backdrop.

Sea Camp, Island Adventure Camp, Shaggy’s Angler Camp and Sharkheads Shark Fest are week-long summer camps in June and July for 1st-12th graders. Each week, campers explore coastal environments, marine habitats, and visit barrier islands.

Laura Blackmon, MEC’s associate director, is thrilled to offer the longstanding, popular summer camps again this year.

“USM’s summer camps on the Gulf Coast are a community tradition,” Blackmon said. “Local campers have been exploring the beaches, marshes, and the Mississippi Sound for decades with the Marine Education Center in unforgettable learning experiences each summer.

“Now multi-generational, we have parents who were once sea-campers as kids, sending their own children to experience the camps too.”

Sea Camp is designed for students in grades 1-6th and has been a summer tradition for more than 35 years. Participants explore the coastal ecosystem and observe its inhabitants, along with field trips to beaches and marshes. Marine science lessons will be given with an artistic twist. Students will take a deep dive into research at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) and learn more about becoming good environmental stewards.

Island Adventure Camp is a three-day camp perfect for any beachgoer. Students will island-hop on USM research vessels to some of the Northern Gulf of Mexico islands and learn about their geography and ecology. This camp is ideal for any 4th-12th grader interested in learning about Deer Island, Cat Island, and Coastal Preserves.

Shaggy’s Angler Camp is for all 7th-12th graders who have a passion to fish. This week-long summer camp takes young fishers to experience saltwater fishing with an MEC educational team. Students will learn fishing techniques, weather patterns, and fish behavior aboard USM vessels.

Sharkheads Shark Fest gives 7th-12th graders a chance to observe these predators up close, yet safely. Students will board USM research vessels to analyze shark research, catching, tagging, and releasing sharks. Participants will walk away from this week-long camp with a better understanding of different species of sharks inhabiting the Northern Gulf of Mexico.


Dates: June 3-7, June 10-14, June 17-21, June 24-28, July 8-12

Grades: 1st-6th

Price: $300


Dates: July 1-3

Grades: 4th-12th

Price: $300


Dates: June 17-21, June 24-28

Grades: 7th-12th

Price: $450


Dates: June 3-7, June 10-14

Grades: 7th-12th

Price: $450

Learn more about the Marine Education Center and summer camps.