Teacher Professional Development

Teachers - Earn continuing education credits at GCRL.

Mississippi Alabama Sea Grant ConsotriumThe Marine Education Center offers professional and volunteer training programs for adults, including K-12 classroom teachers.  These programs cover an assortment of marine and coastal processes and issues, and are sponsored through a variety of sources. The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) supports our teacher development program, either through full sponsorship or partnership.

Click on the topics below to learn more about programs offered in 2018.
1) who is eligible, 2) whether there are costs or stipends, 3) what type of continuing education credit is available, and 4) what you will learn and do.

For more information, refer to the information for participants document.  For questions and additional information, please contact Jessie Kastler at 228.818.8090 or at jessica.kastler@usm.eduOnline registration is available for all programs.  

All field programs are subject to substitution of activities or postponement for poor weather.  We will inform registered participants of any changes via email.

Continuing Education Credit

CEUs are available for teachers through the University of Southern Mississippi Office of Professional Development and Educational Outreach (PDEO).  The number of CEUs awarded in each program will be posted here upon approval of our request of PDEO to offer them. Because we update our offerings every time they are offered and they must be approved each time, the number of CEUs available for a workshop is not known until about one month before it is held.  We submit paperwork to the PDEO about one week following the end of each workshop, and later than two weeks.  You may request a copy of CEUs awarded in the past here.


Register with this convenient online system. 

Each workshop requires submission of a separate registration form. For more information, please contact Jessie Kastler at 228.818.8090 or at jessica.kastler@usm.edu.  Space is limited so register early!

Information for Participants [pdf]

Upcoming Programs for 2019

Wild and Cultured Fisheries Research at GCRL

July 9-11, 2019

The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) includes multiple centers which are responsible for researching a variety of marine and coastal information, and educational instruction. Three main centers, the Marine Education Center, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, and the Thad Cochran Aquaculture Center, conduct both field and laboratory work dedicated to understanding and interpreting our coastal environment. This workshop will investigate aquaculture techniques, copepod hatchery process and importance, shark biology and habitat use of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, and how to age a shark using vertebral rings.

In this workshop, participants will learn be exposed to the basics of aquaculture, a tour of the Thad Cochran Aquaculture Center, a boat tour collecting and investigating plankton, and investigation of shark biology and aging. Each of these topics can be brought back to the classroom in a variety of forms.  A discussion of environmental stewardship and collaboration of ideas and potential lesson curriculum will be held.

It will be a three-day workshop focusing on GCRL Lab and Field Techniques. Participants will

  • investigate aquaculture techniques, the copepod hatchery process and its importance,
  • participate in a bayou boat tour collecting plankton and local organisms,
  • discuss shark biology and habitat use of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, and
  • Work in the new Citizen Science Lab to determine the age of a shark using vertebral rings (!).

REGISTER EARLY; Space is limited (15 participants will be accepted) Lunches each day, a stipend, CEU’s (if needed), and housing (if needed) will be provided.

Register here:

This session is a pilot for a future workshop.  We are limiting participation because Dr. Jessie Kastler (lead instructor) and I will be learning the techniques from experienced GCRL researchers along with the teachers.  In order to offer this to teachers, we need at least 12 people to commit (and those who commit must attend).

We will open registration 4/23/19. If we get 12 people to commit by May 23, we will offer the workshop.  If not, we will postpone this first implementation. If we are unable to offer the workshop this summer, we will offer fall workshops and will post them ASAP on our website (https://gcrl.usm.edu/mec/teacher.professional.development.php).

Each workshop requires submission of a separate registration form. For more information, please contact Danielle Bailey at 228.818.8088 or at danielle.bailey@usm.edu.

The Poop Map Project

September 20-21

This September, we are introducing The Poop Map Project through a 2-day watershed education workshop for teachers of grades 7-12 sponsored by the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program. Our focus will be – you guessed it – pathogenic bacteria that enter natural water bodies from rainwater runoff. 

Participants will

  1. Collect, analyze, enter, and interpret water samples collected from the Miss Peetsy B along Davis Bayou, from the new Marine Education Center to the Mississippi Sound;
  2. Learn about the Mississippi Beach Monitoring Program and its policies on beach closure;
  3. Discuss the Marine Debris Tracking App (sponsored by NOAA) and public outreach as stewardship;
  4. Schedule an MEC Miss Peetsy B field cruise trip for 40 students. Students will receive lunch and there is an allowance for school bus transport;
  5. Receive a stipend for completion and lunch both days.  If you need lodging, please ask about it because we might be able to provide that as well.

NOAA B-WET — Problem-based learning in Community Resilience

October 25-26



During October we will be hosting a two day workshop. This workshop is a part of a NOAA B-WET project that focuses on promoting community resilience to coastal hazards. This program builds on other watershed literacy programs we have produced to educate high school students on rising sea levels, and coastal hazards that may affect their communities. Using problem-based-learning, teams of students explore historical flooding in their neighborhoods and propose a solution to one of several coastal community challenges. Selected students from each school will present their ideas to community resilience professionals at the 5th  Stewardship Summit for Resilience at the new Marine Education Center.

This program has been piloted by two local teachers. We would like to expand this program by training 12 additional teachers (from LA, MS, AL, or FL) to teach this lesson to their students and participate in a stewardship summit.

Participants in this workshop must be high school teachers whom are able to deliver this project in their school or district. Looking forward to working with you this fall!

Any questions please contact me at Danielle.bailey@usm.edu or 228-818-8088.

link to register:



Service Learning on deer Island: Ecological science for restoration and resilience

July 10-12


Deer Island is located within easy paddling distance of Biloxi, Mississippi, offering a highly visible and accessible nature adventure to many coastal residents. Since 1850, the island has lost 750 acres to coastal erosion.  Many of the trees on the island experienced a long, slow death after being submerged in the 25 foot storm surge of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  State and federal agencies have targeted the island for several restoration projects.  This service learning project will monitor the island to assess its condition with continuing changes.

In this workshop, participants will learn specifics of coastal ecology, beach erosion, and environmental stewardship through program activities.  You will contribute to an on-going data collection to help monitor restoration efforts.

Each participant will receive a $100/day stipend and paid CEU's if appropriate. CEU's TBD

Past Events

Look here for past teacher professional development events here.

Teachers learn about teaching marine sciences aboard the research vessel Hermes during a TPD workshop at GCRL