Savannah, Ga. – Continuing a two-year tradition, children’s musician Roger Day has been busy spreading Marsh Madness to elementary schools throughout coastal Georgia.
Georgia Sea Grant and the Savannah Music Festival partnered to bring Day’s educational performance on the state’s coastal habitats and creatures to classes from 29 different elementary schools in Chatham, Effingham and Bryan Counties. Last week, more than 7,000 children sang along with Day as he has led them in songs about ghost crabs, marsh mud and nesting sea turtles. Day also presented a special performance for sick children at Backus Children’s Hospital in Savannah.
In 2009, the two organizations co-commissioned Day to compose a collection of educational songs featuring the Georgia coast for an elementary school audience, resulting in his Marsh Madness song collection.
David Bryant, Georgia Sea Grant assistant director, said, “Music has an almost magical way of helping people remember things. How many song lyrics, silly or serious, do you know? We figured that a great way to teach schoolchildren about the value of Georgia’s coastal resources was to create songs that had ocean literacy built into them.”
Day’s energetic live performances were not only a hit with students, but with educators as well. “Having lived on one of Georgia’s barrier islands, I was impressed with the curriculum content and the subject matter covered in Marsh Madness,” said Principal Kristen Richards of Sand Hill Elementary School. “It’s exciting to have this educational tool in which everything comes ‘full circle’ with the curriculum, lesson plans and songs.”
To help the children understand the ecosystem topics presented in the songs, Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service created a study guide for teachers to accompany the performance, both of which are based on the state science teaching standards.
“My students love the music, and I love the graphics and maps. The lesson plans tie directly in with what we are covering in third grade,” said Tony Miller, a third grade teacher at Isle of Hope Elementary School. “I will keep the Marsh Madness educational information and incorporate it into future lesson plans.”
To keep the madness alive, a professional DVD of Day’s recent Marsh Madness performances will be made available starting the summer of 2012. For more DVD information or to place an order, see www.rogerday.com.
Georgia Sea Grant, one of 32 state programs funded by the National Sea Grant and housed at the UGA, promotes education and outreach directed at creating a balanced approach toward land use, economic development and ecosystem health in the coastal region of Georgia.
The Savannah Music Festival, Georgia’s largest musical arts event, is dedicated to presenting a world-class celebration of the musical arts by creating timeless and adventurous productions that stimulate arts education, foster economic growth and unite artists and audiences in Savannah.
Note to editors: An image of Roger Day performing Marsh Madness for coastal Georgia schoolchildren is available for download at http://multimedia.uga.edu/media/images/DayRoger-Marine_1.jpg