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Center for Science and Math Education


With funding from the Gulf of Mexico Program-Environmental Protection Agency and in parnership with the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Center for Science and Mathematics Education at The University of Southern Mississippi provides environmental education for under-represented and underserved K-12 students in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, and the general public of the Gulf Region through teacher workshops, school visits, Coastal Ecology Camps and community evening programs. All 10 participating schools have a minority enrollment greater than 50 percent and include Alexandria Middle Magnet School, Alexandria, La.; Sherwood Middle Magnet School, Baton Rouge, La.; Gulfport Central Middle School, Gulfport, Miss.; N.R. Burger Middle School, Hattiesburg, Miss.; West Marion Elementary School, Foxworth, Miss.; Katherine L. Hankins Middle School, Theodore, Ala.; Donnie Bickman Middle School, Shreveport, La.; Ferriday Junior High School, Ferriday, La.; T.H. Harris Middle School, Metairie, La.; and Tupelo Middle School, Tupelo, Miss. Two teachers from each school receive professional development through lectures, hands-on activities and field trips in environmental literacy and stewardship ethics at Southern Miss' Marine Education Center/Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and the Grand Bay NERR. During subsequent school-year visits to schools, profect staff lead students in conducting water quality and land cover GLOBE protocols or bring Touch Tanks for studnts (2,394 students to date) to see, handle and learn about marine life. Teachers then bring students (175 students to date) to the coast for field experiences at the Grand Bay NERR, Ship Island or the Pascagoula River. Post-test scores of both teachers and students show significant gains in content knowledge, and surveys used to collect qualitative data show enhanced appreciation for the environment. Funding has also provided 11 community evening "My Coast" events (on topics such as salt marshes, estuaries, bats, owls, flounders, etc.) with a total of 853 people in attendance.