Middle and high school students in Brunswick are learning about coastal conservation through an afterschool program created by the University of Georgia and Coastal Outreach Soccer.

Sponsored by Honeywell, the Young Professional (Yo Pro) STEM training includes hands-on lessons taught by extension specialists at UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant in Brunswick. The students are participants in Coastal Outreach Soccer, an afterschool program coordinated by staff and volunteers that focuses on soccer, academics and mentoring youth ages 4 to 18 years old.

The goal of the program is to introduce students to a range of future career opportunities in Brunswick and the surrounding areas and encourage the students to be good environmental stewards.

“The Yo Pro program is giving student athletes the exposure and hands-on experiences they need to identify their passion,” says Shawn Williams, executive director of Coastal Outreach Soccer. “It is great to see this level of engagement between UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant staff and our students. We believe this program will lead some of them to choose a career in environmental conservation.”

The program’s interactive lessons complement the State of Georgia’s standards for science education, and include tracking animal movements, studying the environmental impacts of stormwater runoff, learning about the importance of water quality and catching blue crabs. The in-person sessions are limited to small groups and face masks and social distancing are required.

Program coordinator Kimberly Andrews says she expects about 30 students, ages 11-17, to participate during the spring and fall of 2021.

Contact: Shawn Williams, cos-admin@hotmail.com