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Outreach Activities

Upcoming Outreach Activities

St. Petersburg Science Festival

October 21-22, 2016

The 6th Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival will be held October 21-22, 2016. The public expo is a free, public celebration of science featuring a wide range of engaging, interactive science, technology, engineering, and math-related (STEM) activities. The USGS Coastal and Marine Science Center plays integral role as a collaborator and exhibitor for this event, which will be held along the waterfront campus of University of South Florida (USF) St. Petersburg and Poynter Park.

The free festival is held in conjunction with MarineQuest, the annual open house for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. USF St. Petersburg officials estimated last year's attendance at 25,000—and festival organizers expect an even bigger turnout this year, with more events and excitement in the works!

Our contribution to the St. Petersburg Science Festival builds on a strong USGS commitment to sharing science with the community that began at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center more than 10 years ago with the first annual open house held in 1999. Read more about USGS involvement in community events in USGS Educates K-12 Students, Public at Fifth Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival, and USGS Staff Educate Students and the Public at the 2014 St. Petersburg Science Festival in Florida.

Previous Outreach Activities

Nathaniel Plant gives a presentation to Duke TIP CRISIS students at SPCMSCUSGS hosts hurricane talks for middle school participants from Duke TIP Crisis summer program at Eckerd College

The SPCMSC hosted talks for fifth and sixth graders participating in the Duke TIP Crisis (Creative Resolutions of Impending Situations with Intelligent Solutions) summer program at Eckerd College. On 6/29 and 7/6 Hilary Stockdon and Nathaniel Plant (Research Oceanographers, SPCMSC) explained how their research focuses on nearshore processes, coastal geomorphology, and large-scale coastal behavior, and how it helps to anticipate impacts of storms on coastal environments and to predict the response of coastlines to future events. After the presentations Kira Barrera, (Physical Scientist and Outreach Coordinator, SPCMSC) gave a tour of the center and demonstrated the coastal erosion model. On 7/13 Ginger Tiling-Range (Geologist/GIS Specialist, SPCMSC) gave a presentation about the effects of hurricanes on mangrove ecosystems, comparing the effects of Hurricanes Andrew and Wilma on the Everglades National Park. Specifically, it addressed wind effects from the storms and resulting defoliation, storm surge, erosion, and sediment deposition.

Spring and Summer: Outstanding Outreach at USGS

SPCMSC Scientists Soupy Dalyander, Kara Doran, Kira Barrera, Kat Wilson, Xan Fredericks, Matthew Hardy, Hilary Stockdon, Nathaniel Plant, and Ginger Range have been busy engaging in numerous outreach activities this spring and summer. Girl Scout troops, school science nights, STEM Clubs, Invention and Science Fairs, and several summer camps are just a few of the events enriched by presentations on diverse topics including hurricanes and coastal erosion, oil spills, and ocean acidification. This year's spring and summer outreach activities have engaged 850 K–12 students!

Girls enjoy Oceanography Camp for Girls at SPCMSCUSGS hosts USF Oceanography Camp for girls on June 22nd and 23rd

USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center hosted the University of South Florida, College of Marine Science Oceanography Camp for girls on June 22nd and 23rd. The camp was developed in the 1990s to inspire and encourage young women entering high school to consider career opportunities in the sciences, and the USGS is one of the camps original sponsors. Thirty girls participated in tours of the center led by Kira Barrera and were able to observe laboratory procedures and analysis demonstrated by researchers Max Tuten, Nick Zaremba, Chelsea Stalk, Chris Moore, Kyle Kelso, and Cole Spencer. In addition to the tours, campers conducted career interviews of Alisha Ellis, RC Mickey, Elsie McBride, Davina Passeri, Christopher Smith, Karen Morgan, Ginger Range, and Hilary Stockdon, giving the girls an opportunity to interact and engage with scientists and to gain insight on how to attain their future career path goals.

USGS Research Geologist Participates in USGS-CCNY Lecture Series

Jennifer Miselis (SPCMSC Research Geologist) traveled to the City College of New York (CCNY) in New York, New York to participate in the USGS-CCNY Lecture Series. The series was started to introduce students to the spectrum of USGS science and as a means to recruit high-achieving students to work with USGS scientists with the goal of retaining them in the geoscience workforce. Furthermore, recruiting efforts at CCNY and University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez (UPRM) support Bureau goals of youth hiring and increasing diversity within the USGS. Dr. Miselis spoke about the role of geology in coastal processes at a variety of time and space scales, using examples of her work on USGS projects in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey and at Fire Island, New York. She also met with students and faculty from the Grove School of Engineering and the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science. (For more information, contact Jennifer Miselis,

USGS Scientists continue participation in the 'Great American Teach In'

On November 17, 18, and 19, seven scientists from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) participated in the Pinellas County 'Great American Teach In.' The event has taken place since 1994 and is an opportunity for members of the community to participate in classes and provide a personal perspective on their career choices and experiences.

The SPCMSC has been participating in the Teach In since 1999 ( This year the center engaged a total of 1088 students. Joseph Long, Dave Thompson, Nathaniel Plant, Kara Doran, Kathryn Smith, Kyle Kelso, and Kira Barrera visited 6 schools presenting on topics including coastal erosion, sediments, microfossils, and ocean acidification. USGS presentations are always a favorite of the students, who love the hands-on demonstrations.

USGS participates in GIS Day at USFSP

Nov. 17, 2015

On Nov 17th, scientists from USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) Kira Barrera (Physical Scientist), Steven Douglas (Researcher), Ginger Range (Geologist), and Joseph Terrano (Researcher) will demonstrate how mapping technology has evolved from the technique of mylar map overlays to the modern application of geographic information systems (GIS). USGS staff will show how GIS is used to map shoreline change along Assateague Island using historic T-sheets, lidar, and aerial imagery. The University of South Florida (USF) St. Petersburg is hosting this event, with more than 100 local students expected to attend ( Students from colleges and elementary, middle, and high schools will participate in the demonstration. The USGS SPCMSC has been a sponsor for this event since 2002. GIS day is a global event for users of GIS to educate students and the public on the applications of GIS.

USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center Continues Leadership Role for Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival

The USGS St. Petersburg Coastal Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) was a key contributor to the 5th annual St. Petersburg Science Festival (, which took place October 16th and 17th, 2015. The science festival engages children, families and the public in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math. The SPCMSC partnered the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC) for participation in the science festival's Friday "School Day Sneak Peak." Kaitlin Kovacs (Outreach and Communications) spearheaded the exhibit "Manatee Identification," a hands-on activity that targeted two Florida science curriculum standards and introduced USGS manatee research. Kathryn Smith, Alisha Ellis, Kira Barrera, Kara Doran, and Sandra Coffman also participated in the Science Festival School Day. On Saturday, in addition to the WARC manatee exhibit, the SPCMSC presented three other booths with hands on activities: "Secrets of the seafloor," "Understanding the big picture with little friends" and "Coastal hazards and change," and had the R/V Sallenger and two wave runners on display. Twenty-three SPCMSC employees volunteered in this year's science festival, making this one of the highest years of participation yet! Thanks to all who made Saturday such a success: Elsie McBride, Nicole Khan, Caitlin Reynolds, Jaimie Little, Shelby Stoneburner, Chris Smith, Joseph Long, Tim Nelson, Soupy Dalyander, Kara Doran, Davina L. Passeri, Robert Jenkins, Nancy Dewitt, Max Tuten, Chelsea Stark, Jen Miselis, Kaitlin Kovacs, Steven Douglas, Joseph Terrano and Kira Barrera.

USGS Research Oceanographer joins the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre for Capacity Building Workshops

Dr. Lisa Robbins (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) now serves on the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre Advisory Board (OA–ICC) (, and is chair of capacity building. She helped organize two international capacity-building workshops this fall and will present information on currently available instrumentation, as well as design and production phases. This includes software (such as CO2calc) that she and her team developed and published ( Data collected from different USGS projects on ocean acidification from the poles ( to the tropics ( will be used as examples and discussion points during the courses. The capacity-building workshops will take place October 19–24, 2015 in China at Xiamen University; and November 1–7, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa, aboard the R/V Agulhas II, a South African icebreaking polar supply and research ship owned by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in Cape Town, South Africa. Workshop goals are to increase scientific capacity, to measure and study ocean acidification, and to provide a rare opportunity for collaboration and networking among OA scientists working around the world, as well as to initiate and deepen connections with the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON;

USGS Scientists host St. Petersburg College marine biology students for a day of science at SPCMSC

On September 16, Scientists from St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) Noreen Buster (Geologist), Karen Morgan (Geologist), and Molly McLaughlin (Microbiologist/Lab Manager) hosted students from the marine biology class of Dr. Linae Boehme-Terrana, a professor at St. Petersburg College. First, the students toured the facility and learned about the history of the USGS and the variety of scientific research conducted at the SPCMSC. Next, the students were introduced to the coastal erosion model. The model consists of a pan of water, some playground sand and a fan. Using waves generated by the fan blowing on the water, the model accurately mimics the processes seen on coastal environments during severe storms. It can quickly show how sand is moved around by wave action, how coastal structures can effect sand movement, and how coastal infrastructure can be damaged during storm events. Finally, the students went to the sediment core lab where they learned how and why Center scientists collect geophysical and sediment data. The students saw examples of bathymetry, side-scan sonar, and seismic data and learned how using sediment cores can enhance analyses and how the integration of datasets not only furthers our understanding of the geologic history of coasts, but also gives us information about the influence of geology on modern coastal processes. In addition, the students were shown the Center's significant coral core collection, including coral and reef cores. X-ray and sampling techniques were introduced and discussed as ways to assess annual coral growth, coral disease, changes in sea-surface temperature, and identification of coral/reef species within cores, all of which provide Center scientists with information about the geological, biological, and chemical histories of reef environments and climate change.

Below is a quote from Dr. Linae Boehme-Terrana:

'Showing my students actual scientists, especially scientists who love what they do, demonstrating "real world" research, is an incredibly valuable teaching tool. This is, by far, the students' favorite field trip every year.'

SPCMSC responds to USGS Headquarters' data call to report FY15 outreach activities engaging K–12 Young People

The USGS is required by the Department of the Interior to report efforts to engage K–12 students and teachers in learning opportunities. The 'Engaging the Next Generation' Secretarial priority, part of the DOI 2014–2018 Strategic Plan, Mission Area 4, encompasses four goals: Play, Learn, Serve, and Work. The Department of the Interior's goal is to provide educational opportunities to at least ten million of the Nation's K–12 student population annually. Data detailing outreach is collected annually through a new 'Learn' Goal Database. In 2014, the USGS reported engaging in 51,993 'Learn' Activities with young people K–12, and 234,871 USGS Education site sessions by students and teachers! That is impressive!

USGS St. Pete Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) compiled its outreach activities for FY 2015; it was estimated that approximately 9,983 K–12 students interacted with SPCMSC staff in 15 outreach activities over the year. Forty-three SPCMSC staff assisted with these events. Thanks to the following USGS staff for participating: Doran, Flannery, Barrera, Haller, Kuffner, Reynolds, Bodin, Busch, Buster, Griffin, Kovacs, Krohn, Liu, Long, Dalyander, Robbins, K. Smith, T. Smith, Toth, Brennan, Brown, Bussey, Overbeck, DeWitt, Ellis, A. Fredericks, Kindinger, McLaughlin, Mickey, Miselis, Morgan, Plant, Reich, Snell, Gilberg, Carroll, Terrano, Zawada, Wilson, Ostermen, T. McCloskey, and Tiling.

USGS Hosts the University of South Florida College of Marine Science Oceanography Camp for Girls

On July 1st and 2nd the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC ) hosted the University of South Florida College of Marine Science Oceanography Camp for Girls. The camp was developed in the 1990s to inspire and motivate young women entering high school to consider career opportunities in the sciences. Thirty girls participated in tours of the Center and labs led by Chris Reich and Kira Barrera, and observed laboratory procedures and analysis. To give the campers the opportunity to interact and engage with scientists, they met with new SPCMSC director Dr. Cheryl Hapke, and conducted career interviews of Nathaniel Plant, Alisha Ellis, RC Mickey, Jaci Overbeck, Kira Barrera, Jenna Brown, Kat Wilson, Lisa Ostermen, and Terrence McCloskey.

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