Time flies when you’re having fun! We’ve certainly enjoyed our summer and hope that you have too. Our marine educators just wrapped up the 25th year of Summer Marine Science Camp at the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium. Roughly 250 campers participated in camp this summer, engaging with our interns and staff in hands-on, feet-in activities designed to educate them about Georgia’s coastal habitats.

In addition to welcoming summer campers, we were able to work with a record number of interns over the past couple of months. Ten undergraduate interns worked on everything from animal husbandry and shellfish research to helping our extension faculty with stormwater and fisheries projects. Most were supported by Friends of the UGA Aquarium or private grants, so many of you are to thank for allowing us to provide workforce development opportunities for these students. Hopefully their new skills and experiences will better prepare them for the future.

The date for our next Oyster Roast for a Reason has been set for November 17, 2018, and supporting interns is just one of many uses for these funds.

We also have several staffing changes that are occurring.  Mare Timmons, a long-time educator at the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium will retire on August 31 after 23 years of service to the University of Georgia. Timmons has had tremendous impact on many members of Georgia’s coastal community, particularly undergraduate students, educators and youth.  Also, Marty Higgens will retire on the same day after more than 33 years of helping shrimpers and fishermen on-board the R/V Georgia Bulldog and from the warehouse at our Brunswick facility. I want to take this opportunity to thank both for their service to Marine Extension and Georgia Sea grant. I also want to introduce some new hires.  Heather Cotton is our new public relations specialist based in Brunswick. She’ll be assisting with promoting our programs through social media and our website. Sara Karlsson is our new Sea Grant fiscal officer based in Athens, and John Pelli has been hired to help with research projects at our Shellfish lab. Please join me in welcoming these new folks.

As we wrap up the summer and move into fall, make sure to mark your calendars for our third annual Oyster Roast for a Reason fundraising event taking place Nov. 17.

I hope to connect with all of you in the coming months. As always, please feel free to share your comments, concerns, or ideas with me!

– Mark Risse, Director of Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant