Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Education
Mission Information
 

Educator's Workshop Introduction

Georgia Aquarium, Behind the Scenes Tour

Georgia Aquarium, Behind the Scenes Tour
(Photo: Cathy Sakas, GRNMS)

Rivers to Reefs Educators Workshop is a six-day, jam-packed teacher's workshop of fantastic field experiences and empowering classroom lessons.

The workshop begins in Atlanta with a visit to the Georgia Aquarium's Learning Loop where the technology behind keeping sea creatures in the world's largest aquarium healthy and happy is revealed. Huge whale sharks along with hammerheads and sawfish glide by gigantic glass viewing areas with only a few inches separating air breathers from ocean dwellers.

Brian pilots the ROV aboard the R/V Savannah

Brian pilots the ROV aboard the R/V Savannah
(Photo: Cathy Sakas, GRNMS)

The sixteen participants follow the course of the Altamaha Watershed from its headwaters near the Georgia Aquarium to Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary with numerous field experiences along the way.

One of the highlights of the workshop is an all day trip to Gray's Reef where participants deploy and operate an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) to see the reef without ever getting wet!

Water quality testing on the Ocmulgee River near Macon, GA

Water quality testing on the Ocmulgee River near Macon, GA
(Photo: Cathy Sakas, GRNMS)

Other field experiences include training in water quality monitoring, a short canoe trip, a boat ride on the Altamaha River to explore the watershed that directly influences Gray's Reef, and a ferry ride over to Sapelo Island to explore the marshes and estuaries. While on Sapelo Island participants learn about the cultural history of the native islander, investigate the ecology of the beach communities, and hopefully observe a female loggerhead sea turtle laying her eggs as the species has done for over 180 million years.

Loggerhead prepares her nest for eggs

Loggerhead prepares her nest for eggs
Photo: Cathy Sakas, GRNMS

While on Sapelo Island participants learn about the cultural history of the native islander, investigate the ecology of the beach communities, and hopefully observe a female Loggerhead sea turtle laying her eggs as the species has done for 180 million years.

At the end of each day we discuss our experiences and share how these experiences can be incorporated into classroom lessons. PLU credits are awarded to those completing the requirements of the workshop.


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