Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef Expedition 201
Mission Information
 

Educators Workshop Summary

Rivers to Reefs Educators Workshop - Class of 2011p

Rivers to Reefs Educators Workshop - Class of 2011
(Photo: Kim Morris-Zarneke, GA AQ)

Sixteen veteran classroom teachers representing 16 different schools from 11 different counties joined staff from Gray's Reef, the Georgia Aquarium, Skidaway Institute and Armstrong-Atlantic State University for the 2011 Rivers to Reefs Educators Workshop. The six-day workshop is an immersion experience in the seventh largest watershed on the eastern seaboard that directly influences Gray's Reef.

The workshop focus is teaching educators about the Altamaha River watershed, how we impact it and how it influences Gray's Reef and other offshore habitats. The workshop empowers each participant with background knowledge, tools and materials and the all-important first-hand field experiences in every part of the watershed. The Georgia Teacher Quality Grant from the Georgia Department of Education funded the workshop with ship time aboard the R/V Savannah provided by Skidaway Institute of Oceanography's research grant from the National Science Foundation.

Sapelo Island Basket Weaver Yvonne Grovner, chatting with group

Sapelo Island Basket Weaver Yvonne Grovner, chatting with group
(Photo: Kim Morris-Zarneke, GA AQ)

The workshop began in Atlanta with a visit to the Georgia Aquarium and continued through a range of stops, finally ending offshore aboard the R/V Savannah. Along the entire course of the watershed that begins with a trickle of stream at Shoal Creek in DeKalb County participants conduct water quality monitoring according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Adopt-A-Stream protocol.

Group kayaking

Group Kayaking
(Photo: Kim Morris-Zarneke, GA AQ)

Other highlights included are a canoe trip down the Ocmulgee River to its confluence with the Oconee River to form the mighty Altamaha River known as the "Little Amazon" and a boat ride in the Altamaha River Delta. The last section of the watershed explored from land was Sapelo Island. On Sapelo Island, the educators immersed themselves in the cultural history of the native islanders by staying in the African-American community of Hog Hammock.

Comparing the days' results

Comparing the days' results
(Photo: Kim Morris-Zarneke, GA AQ)

On the last day of the workshop Dr. Marc Frischer's lab assistant, Hisham Shaffey, analyzed the data collected over the week and compared and contrasted it to the data collected at Gray's Reef over the past seven years. Dr. Mike Mahan of Armstrong-Atlantic discussed the connections made and offered ideas of how to translate the experiences into classroom clessons. Kim Morris-Zarneke of the Georgia Aquarium provided resources available on line from various partners and Cathy Sakas of Gray's Reef filled in a few gaps not covered during the workshop on coastal processes and ocean stewardship.

Rivers to Reefs participants become inspired stewards of their watersheds and ocean and they are eager to share their knowledge with their students and communities.

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