OCEAN SPRINGS, Ms.- Through a grant funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Services Center (NOAA CSC) in support of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center will be able to undertake a project to conduct two symposia focused on water quality and seafood safety. The J.L. Scott Center encourages interactive learning and these symposia will offer an experiential aspect where participants are able to discover aboard research vessels.

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a partnership of the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, with the goal of significantly increasing regional collaboration to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental Education is one of the six priority issues that the Alliance has addressed as regionally significant. In order to effectively engage this priority, the GOMA Environmental Education Network, coordinated through the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, received a grant from NOAA’s Coastal Services Center to fund Gulf-wide environmental education projects. The Alliance Education Network awarded funding to seventeen projects in the five Gulf States this month.

The more opportunities people have to engage with their environment, the more likely they are to become stewards of that environment. The J.L. Scott Marine Science Education Center proposed an impressive project to reach out to the public and connect them with coastal issues through interactive symposia. Be sure to check out http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/mec/ to see when these symposia will be coming up!

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Background on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and Grant Information:

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a partnership, initiated in 2004, by the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, with the goal of significantly increasing regional collaboration to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. The five U.S. Gulf States have identified six initial priority issues that are regionally significant and can be effectively addressed through increased collaboration at local, state, and federal levels. Recipients of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab NOAA CSC grant must involve environmental education (6th Priority) in at least one of the following priority issue areas:

  1. Quality for Healthy Beaches and Shellfish Beds;
  2. Wetland and Coastal Conservation and Restoration;
  3. Identification and Characterization of Gulf Habitats;
  4. Reducing Nutrient Inputs to Coastal Ecosystems; and
  5. Coastal Community Resiliency

To view the current Governors’ Action Plan, a copy may be downloaded from www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org.

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), on behalf of the State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Coastal Section, wrote and successfully received a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Services Center (NOAA CSC) for environmental education with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA). This grant, if appropriated, allows for three years of consecutive funding for Gulf-wide environmental education.

The grant will provide $45,000 per U.S. Gulf State and provide individual project or program grants that are chosen with funding between $5,000 and $20,000. Projects/programs that receive the grant must produce outcomes relative to the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Governors’ Action Plan environmental education priority issues.