The Importance of Outreach Science: Turning the Tide on Ocean Conservation
Authors: Entire BIOL 4001 S-L Class
Faculty Supervisor: Holly Nance, Ph.D.
Outreach education and the ability to speak scientifically to a non-academic audience are important skills which Biology majors at CCGA need to develop as they prepare to enter their fields as scientists. Given our proximity to the coast, and a local economy based on fisheries, shipping, and ecotourism, ocean conservation is an issue demanding not only community awareness, but also community activism. To that end, the BIOL 4001 class has focused on various environmental threats to our coast as a topic to discuss with 7th graders at Glynn Middle School and students at Brunswick High, emphasizing the underlying causes of these threats to our oceans, and providing examples of how students can be active participants in ocean conservation. To assess the efficacy of their outreach education, the BIOL 4001 class has prepared pre- and post-presentation questionnaires intended to demonstrate how local students’ knowledge base, opinions, and perceptions regarding specific conservation issues may have changed as a result of their outreach science efforts. These questionnaire results will provide feedback on how they may improve their science communication skills.