Over 1,500 people visited UGA’s Skidaway Campus for Marine Science Day, which provides an opportunity for Savannah-area residents to learn about UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant initiatives in a free, family-friendly environment.

The event offered a behind-the-scenes view of the UGA Aquarium. Over 19,000 people visit the UGA Aquarium every year, but few are able to see what happens on the other side of the 16 tanks, where curators feed and care for the aquarium’s marine life. Skidaway Marine Science day provides an up-close look at the tasks involved with supporting the aquarium’s diverse mix of fish, turtles and invertebrate animals.

The event also offered an exclusive tour of the state’s first oyster hatchery, which launched earlier this year. The hatchery is expected to generate between five and six million spat, or baby oysters, per year by 2018, which will be worth an estimated $1.6 million when harvested.

Visitors tour the Research Vessel Savannah.

Visitors tour the Research Vessel Savannah.

Skidaway Marine Science Day also provided an opportunity for UGA Marine Extension to introduce the Friends of the UGA Aquarium program, which supports educational programming to increase public awareness and understanding of coastal ecosystems.

Skidaway Marine Science Day is hosted by the four main organizations located on the UGA Skidaway Campus: Marine Extension, Georgia Sea Grant, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.