Introductory Programs

Introductory programs address a wide range of marine science concepts and provide broad overviews of coastal habitats, organisms and issues.

Students participate in small group activities, live animal observation, go on informal tours and have interactive discussions supported by natural props and audio visual aids.

To schedule a visit, contact Scheduling Coordinator Stephanie Edgecombe at mared@uga.edu.
or call 912-598-2335.

Coastal Issues (5-12, College, Adult)

The majority of our nation’s population lives within 50 miles of a coastline. Exponential growth of coastal populations is well documented. Consequently, coastal regions are important areas for examining how current regional or global issues such as coastal development, marine debris, coastal hazards and water quality will impact coastal ecosystems and resources. Students discuss the critical issues faced by coastal zones and, more importantly, how to balance the needs of the rising human population with the value of coastal ecosystem services and resources.

45 minutes; min/max = 15/50

Aquarium Exploration (5-12, College, Adult)

Interested in the animals that live in estuaries and oceans? Through individual and small group activities, students observe form and function while discussing the diversity and ecological significance of fishes and invertebrates found in Georgia’s coastal waters. Students discuss animal care as well as research and conservation efforts related to exhibits.

45 minutes; min/max = 15/25

Aquarium Behind-the-Scenes (5-12, College, Adult)

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of an aquarium? Extend a scheduled Aquarium Exploration with an informative tour of the aquarium work spaces and a discussion of the methods used for caring for animals on exhibit. Students get close-up views of holding tanks, filter systems and food preparation areas.

15 minutes; min/max = 15/25 (10 people at a time)

Coastal Reptiles (5-12, College, Adult)

Over 80 species of reptiles inhabit Georgia’s diverse habitats. Learn about the characteristics of this ancient group of vertebrates that have allowed them to survive for hundreds of millions of years. Using live animals and preserved specimens, students participate in interactive discussions focused on coastal reptiles, their natural history and the importance of efforts to conserve endangered reptile species. Students may touch or handle live reptiles.

45-60 minutes; min/max = 15/50

Introduction to Fishes (5-12, College, Adult)

Did you know that 3/5 of all vertebrate species on this planet are fishes? Using preserved specimens and skulls, students discover the secret lives of fishes during this interactive discussion session. Combine this class with an Aquarium Tour, Fish Identification Lab or Fish Dissection for a well-rounded view of the biology and diversity of this amazing group of animals.

45-60 minutes; min/max = 15/50

Introduction to the Georgia Coast (5-12, College, Adult)

What makes the coast of Georgia so unique? This program reviews the physical and biological processes that shape the Georgia coast. Students learn about the geological processes, oceanic currents and tidal rhythms that produce and move the sand and clay components of coastal landforms and determine coastal habitats and biological communities.

45 minutes; min/max = 15/50

Introduction to Oceanography (5-12, College, Adult)

This interactive discussion is best paired with Estuarine Scientific Sampling or Barrier Island Study where concepts can be further investigated in the field. Oceanography is the study and exploration of the ocean. Discussions will include reviewing biological, chemical, geological and physical concepts involved in this diverse field of science.

45 minutes; min/max = 15/50

Introduction to the Salt Marsh (5-12, College, Adult)

A large portion of all the salt marshes on the eastern U.S. coast lies in Georgia. Discover what lives in the salt marsh and review the physical, biological and chemical processes that define a salt marsh and determine the diversity of species and ecological structure found in these tidally influenced wetlands. This discussion is always scheduled before any field exploration or formal study of the on-site marsh.

45 minutes; min/max = 15/50

Marine Debris 101 (5-12, College, Adult)

This class introduces and explores the topic of marine debris, particularly plastic debris, and its ecological and economic impacts on the ocean and coastal zone. Students learn about the sources of marine debris and the ocean processes (such as tides and currents) that influence the type, amount and frequency of plastic debris accumulating along Georgia’s coast.

1 hour; min/max = 15/50

Touch Tank (5-12, College, Adult)

Students observe and handle live invertebrates, typically including whelks, sea stars, spider crabs, hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs. Learn the classification and natural history of common coastal marine invertebrates through small group discussions and touch tank discovery.

45 minutes; min/max = 15/25

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