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Education & Outreach

An essential contribution of NOAA cooperative institutes is integrating the research with education and outreach. The NGI Education and Outreach Program provides an comprehensive approach educating the public, facilitating the transition of NGI research to NOAA operational centers, and supporting NOAA workforce development. The program connects universities to NOAA and works closely with the educational programs at the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the various Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant programs and the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team to develop communication and significant long term messaging campaigns.

A strong component of NGI is a commitment to education and outreach. An engaged and informed public is a great partner in the effort to protect the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. By relating NGI findings in an understandable and accessible manner, NGI makes its research relevant to stakeholders and citizens. NGI's target audience runs the gamut of age groups. DISL delivers NGI research at The Estuarium to K-12 groups. All of the NGI partners aim to engage college students and older adults. "Students" of any age are needed to help protect the Gulf.

In addition to populating the NGI web site, the NGI Education and Outreach Program utilizes other communication venues to inform and educate the public on NGI efforts:

  • NGI Newsletter - The Portal - an online newsletter that contains info "all about NGI".

  • NGI Blog - The Portal Blog - an online blog highlighting important issues and research concerning the northern Gulf of Mexico.

NGI hosts an important conference on an annual basis - bringing together NGI researchers and educators with NOAA and other stakeholders in the northern Gulf region. As part outreach and part research planning, NGI participated in or hosted several workshops which are described in more detail below. The NGI Education and Outreach Program continuously updates the institution's website with the NGI audience relevant news, the most recent information about research activities and results, essential components of the collaboration, operation updates, and other outreach items of interest.

The specific objectives of NGI's E&O program include:

  • Translate and disseminate NGI research results to relevant Gulf partner agencies, among the NGI research community and to the public
  • Deliver NGI research results aligned to state and federal science standards to K-12 students in the Northern Gulf region
  • Develop and implement curricular materials based on NGI research results for formal and informal educators along the coast and up the watershed aiming to address the issues throughout the ecosystem
  • Increase awareness and understanding of the importance of the Northern Gulf region by the public via the Estuarium (the public aquarium located on the campus of Dauphin Island Sea Lab) and other similar institutions
  • Increase stewardship of the Northern Gulf ecosystem with outreach programs and topical workshops
  • Participate in outreach activities in the region to build NGI brand and recognition
  • Provide internship management and workforce development opportunities and connections for NOAA employees and NGI affiliate students.

NGI - MSU Education & Outreach Opportunities:

The Travelling Trunk Education Outreach Program

NGI has developed loanable “Travelling Trunk Shows.” which include Art and Science based curriculum designed to support the national college and career readiness standards. We typically include the “science, literature and arts behind the scenes” that includes targeted classwork and lessons of discovery for, specifically in our case, oceanography, marine and fisheries science, and weather. These trunks provide STEAM focused interaction with large numbers of schoolchildren, their parents, teachers and administrators.

STEAM: Science Through the Arts, Art Competition

STEAM programs add art to STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions.

In 2013, a joint resolution was introduced in the United States House of Representatives expressing the sense that adding art and design into Federal programs that target the STEM fields encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States.

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) at Mississippi State University is proud to announce a STEAM art competition, where original drawings, paintings, photography, or other renderings, depicting the natural environment, marine, avian, or aquatic species, the ocean, or weather, as related to the Mississippi River, The Gulf Coast, or the Gulf of Mexico Basin, are to be submitted for review. The winner of the competition will have their art featured in the "Portal" Newsletter.

Continuing Education Opportunities

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) has joined with the Department of Geosciences and the Center for Distance Education at Mississippi State University to provide Continuing Education and/or 4 hours of Graduate College Credit to teachers and professionals wishing to undertake a 7-10 day geosciences field course. The course locations for this year are Bahamas (split undergrad/grad), Western WA, NY, and Great Plains Storm Chase. A science background is helpful to successfully complete these courses and cost $1250 plus tuition (4 hours of in-state grad credit). (approximately $2978 total) Additionally, for most of the trips the students pay for their meals, but the Bahamas trip includes meals. Students are also responsible for getting to the start location on their own (e.g Seattle, Nassau, Oklahoma City, etc.).

Visiting Scientists to your Classroom or Organization

The NGI can provide assistance in locating a guest speaker for your classroom or organizations meeting to discuss various topics including Coastal Hazards, Geospatial Data Integration and Visualization, Ecosystem Management Climate Change, and use of UAV/AUVs in the environmental and agricultural sciences.

Lesson Plan Database

NGI along with the INSPIRE program is developing a database of approximately 500 Mississippi Science Curriculum based lesson plans and assignments for k-12 classrooms. These will be linked from our website in the near future. Click Here for Lesson Plans

For More information please contact the Education & Outreach Office at EandO@ngi.msstate.edu