UGA marine sciences to present ‘Science at the Stadium’ Nov. 15

Athens, Ga. – On Nov. 15, just before the University of Georgia’s first home football game in over a month, the marine sciences department will present “Science at the Stadium” from noon to 4:30 p.m. at the north entry to the Georgia Center for Continuing Education across from the Lumpkin Street entrance to the South Campus parking deck.

The 2014 Science at the Stadium program has attracted hundreds of children, UGA students, parents and alumni who undergo “training” in piloting the mini-ROVs in a 400-gallon tank of water. Participants earn their laminated ROV Pilot in Training License, complete with UGA lanyards, and are able to view a monitor streaming footage of actual deep-sea ROVs in action.

The public outreach series, led by Athletic Association Professor of Arts and Sciences Samantha Joye and her research team known as ECOGIG, is designed to educate fans attending home football games about the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

“I want to engage and excite kids about science in general and oceanography specifically, and seeing a mini-ROV in action is a great way to give these kids a feel for what we do out on the water,” Joye said. “Athletic venues draw a diverse and large crowd and present a fantastic place to share the experience with young people of all ages and their parents.

“It’s a great way to get people excited about science and to educate them about the ocean and environmental conservation and sustainability at the same time.”

This will be the final event for the football season. The series will resume for select women’s and men’s basketball games.

“‘Science at the Stadium’ taps into our innate curiosity by offering an experiential and fun learning activity involving undersea research and exploration,” said Christine Laporte, ECOGIG coordinator of science education and public outreach at UGA. “Dr. Joye’s vision is all about sparking the imagination of the next generation for science and conservation, engineering and adventure. Plus, it’s a blast to see the kids’ excitement and pride in earning their ROV pilots training license, and the parents love it, too.”

ECOGIG—Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf—is one of eight research consortia awarded grants totaling $112.5 million by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, or Go MRI, a 20-member independent research board created to allocate the $500 million committed by BP for independent research programs following the April 20, 2010, Macondo well blowout.

A video of the initial “Science at the Stadium” event is available at http://vimeo.com/107622486.

For more information on the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, see http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/. For more information on ECOGIG, see http://ecogig.org/.