ATLANTA (June 25, 2015) – During a six-day workshop this summer, 16 teachers from across Georgia explored the Altamaha River system as a part of Georgia Aquarium’s Rivers to Reef educational workshop. Georgia Aquarium has partnered with Gordon State College and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary to host this event and provide educators with the knowledge necessary to engage students with the natural environment, raise awareness about local habitats and learn about water conservation issues.

During the week-long learning experience, teachers ventured into an aquatic world as they learned about watersheds, water quality, current aquatic issues and a variety of aquatic ecosystems. The K-12 teachers experienced field excursions during the workshop that included water quality monitoring at various field sites statewide, canoeing to the convergence of the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers, a boat excursion through the brackish waters of the Altamaha River Delta to sample water, a trawling trip through the marsh, an excursion to Sapelo Island to explore its marshes, ecology and culture, and a research cruise aboard the RV Savannah to explore Gray’s Reef, the ocean habitat the Altamaha watershed most directly influences. 

The goal of the workshop is to equip science educators with tools and best practices to effectively translate current aquatic and environmental issues to students and fellow colleagues. And to empower science educators with the tools and knowledge necessary to teach those concepts confidently.

 “This workshop provides an opportunity for teachers regardless of grade level to understand the importance and vitality of our watersheds and aquatic habitats in Georgia so that they can bring these concepts into their classrooms and improve their teaching methods in regard to science and the environment,” said Kim Morris-Zarneke, manager of interpretive programs at Georgia Aquarium.

The program was funded by the University of Georgia’s Improving Teacher Quality Higher Education Grant, which is managed by the University of Georgia for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Georgia’s Teacher Quality Higher Education Program funds are used to enhance the teaching of science, mathematics, language arts, reading and social studies at elementary, middle, and high school levels in public and private schools.

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ABOUT GEORGIA AQUARIUM
Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Ga., is one of the world’s most dynamic aquariums—containing more than 10 million gallons of water and the largest collection of aquatic animals. The mission of Georgia Aquarium is to be a premier scientific institution delivering an awe-inspiring entertainment experience which supports animal research and conservation; inspires learning; and instills a passion for the aquatic world.  Its exhibits and programs are of the highest standards, offering engaging guest encounters that promote the conservation of marine biodiversity throughout the world. Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.