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National Award Allows More Students To Experience Georgia's Coast

A $50,000 Hollings Award from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will pay for 850 fourth graders from Liberty and McIntosh counties to experience Georgia’s coastal environment and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary during field trips to the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island.
“We are extremely excited about this opportunity,” said Mark Risse, director of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, which oversees the education center and aquarium. “Reaching these historically underserved communities with hands-on, field-oriented educational programs is often difficult due to transportation and economic issues. This funding will allow us to target our efforts just for them and provide free transportation and programs.”
In addition, the grant will allow UGA and Gray’s Reef to offer free programs on Georgia’s estuarine systems and offshore habitat at a school in each county, extending the education to students’ families
“These communities are located in watersheds that impact the waters around Gray’s Reef. We hope that our efforts will influence the decisions they make and benefit the coastal ecosystems surrounding the sanctuary,” Risse said.
Enhancements to the Gray’s Reef exhibit at the UGA Aquarium are also included as part of the project. A new wall-mounted monitor and graphics will feature underwater video footage of the reef and provide information to aquarium visitors about the National Marine Sanctuary Program.
The award is one of five 2017 grants totaling $215,000 from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Hollings Awards, an annual program designed to expand public awareness of conservation issues.
Visit Georgia's coast without leaving the classroom!

On May 10th at 10 am, GPB Education will be live streaming from the University of Georgia's Marine Education Center and Aquarium in Savannah, GA. Students will experience a virtual tour of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary and the UGA Aquarium and learn how Gray's Reef was formed, how the seafloor serves as a habitat, and how they can help protect the reef from major threats. Experienced divers and marine biology experts will be available to answer students’ questions. Teachers and students can use #GraysReefLive on Twitter to participate in the conversation and respond to live polls. The live exploration will be available on demand after May 10th with supplemental classroom resources for grades K-12!

For more information, visit our Gray's Reef Live Exploration page

To register your class for the event, click here