The field trip of a lifetime in the ultimate outdoor classroom
With more than eighty miles of coastal beaches, marshes, islands, and estuaries, Mississippi not surprisingly houses one of the premier marine research facilities in the nation, the University of South Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL). Since 1989, the GCRL's Marine Education Center (MEC) has offered students from around the globe an opportunity to work with research scientists in state-of-the-art facilities.
View or download flyer
Our MEC education specialists will arrange a learning experience for any group, from 4th grade to adult, who want a hands-on experience on the beach, in a boat, in the lab, or all three.
Possibilities as Endless as the Water and Sky
The Marine Education Center’s Coastal Science Camp program (CSC) began in 1989. Coastal Science Camp provides participants with hands-on and field experience focused on our dynamic coastal habitats, marine plants and animals, and current research at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. Historically, these camps have targeted student groups from 4th grade through high school. These offerings are now available to other organized groups, such as Scout troops, environmental clubs, community colleges, and youth and adult organizations. Coastal Science Camp outdoor learning adventures are available from August through May and range from two- to five-day experiences.
Let the Marine Education Center custom-design a two- to five-day camp for your group. Field and classroom experiences are tailored to the educational goals of the group through a wide variety of available topics and activities.
- Ecology: beach and barrier island systems, salt marsh communities, estuarine ecosystems, and pine savannah habitat
- Shark and other fish identification, classification, and dissection
- Water quality sampling and testing
- Research on northern Gulf of Mexico pelagic (offshore) species including sharks, dolphins, and others
- Coastal ornithology
- Marine aquaculture
- Trawling for local species of vertebrates and invertebrates
- Fishing and cast net throwing
- Marine artifacts & museum collections
Our Site - Not Just A Pretty Place
With a dormitory, a fully functioning cafeteria, and access to primitive campgrounds for those who desire it, the MEC offers a day camp or an overnight experience that caters to your needs. Coastal Science Camps are offered August - May of each year. The Marine Education Center welcomes any organized group of 15-100 participants, age 4th grade to adult, including public or private school groups, scout troops, church or community organizations, and corporate retreats. Reserve your camp today and gain a memory that will last a lifetime!
GCRL's beautiful waterfront location offers direct access to coastal bayous and beaches, including Davis Bayou, Biloxi Bay, Mississippi Sound, Horn Island, Ship Island, Cat Island, Petit Bois Island, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Comments from Participants
"The program at the GCRL is an exceptional opportunity that our 7th grade students look forward to every year! It brings the Gulf straight into the classroom! The hands on activities are not only in line with our curriculum, but they literally bring science alive with the variety of marine life the students get to identify and study!"
Ava Fontenot, St. George's Episcopal School, New Orleans, Louisiana
"Every three years our school travels from Minneapolis to Ocean Springs as a part of our 15-day Odyssey South experience. We spend five days at the GCRL Marine Education Center. We love the hands-on, enthusiastic approach to learning used by the GCRL staff. Our 2010 time at GCRL was near perfect!"
Doug Alecci, Lake Country School, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The links below are sample itineraries and trip details for standard two-day camps. Camps can be expanded to longer programs, up to five days. We can build your trip using these camps as starting points or start with a blank slate to design exactly the program for your needs.
Reservations and Information
These programs are sponsored in part by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium.
For more information, call 228.818.8890 or send email firstname.lastname@example.org.