UGA marine sciences to present ‘Science at the Stadium’ this Saturday

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia marine sciences department and faculty will present “Science at the Stadium” on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 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 new 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 oceanography and the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

“I want to engage and excite kids about science in general and oceanography specifically, and seeing a mini-remotely operated vehicle 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 our knowledge and enthusiasm with young people of all ages and their parents.

“Plus, the kids (and some of the parents, too) will learn to ‘drive’ an ROV. 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.”

ECOGIG—Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf—is one of eight research consortia supported by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, or GoMRI, which is led by a research board comprised of leading scientists from around the world. The GoMRI board allocates funds provided by BP to support independent, interdisciplinary research efforts.

The “Science at the Stadium” program launched Sept. 20 prior to the UGA home football game against Troy University, attracting visitors who underwent “training” to pilot miniature remotely operated vehicles in a 400-gallon tank of water. Participants earned their laminated “ROV Pilot in Training License,” complete with UGA lanyards, and were able to view a monitor streaming footage from actual deep-sea ROVs taken during ECOGIG cruises.

“‘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 next generation’s imagination about science and conservation, engineering and adventure. Plus, it’s a blast to see the kids’ excitement and pride in earning their ROV pilot’s training license, and the parents love it, too.”

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/.