The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station of Navarre Beach, Florida will receive a Gulf Guardian Award for 2011 in the Youth Education Category. The Awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Meeting on August t in New Orleans.
The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station is a project that involves local high school students as well as community leaders, families, and tourists. In late 2008, the local high school marine science students held a town hall meeting for the Santa Rosa County Board of Commissioners and their School Board about converting an empty, unoccupied ranger station into an environmental center.
The high school students succeeded in obtaining the site in March 2009. Over 2,000 community service hours later, the students, under faculty supervision, created what is now the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station. Since its official opening in August 2009, the Station has been host to well over 4,000 students and community members for programs concerning the local marine environments.
The programs provide hands-on, feet-wet activities that educate and challenge participants of all ages on how to be stewards of our marine environment. The Science Station is student created and student driven. They share their love of the marine environment with younger generations, and ignite a spark of excitement for learning more.
The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station empowers high school students with the skills and knowledge to teach future generations about the importance of our marine and near-shore habitats. The many projects the students complete, from nesting sea turtle awareness signs to the beach clean-ups and habitat restoration efforts, create a positive and healthy environment for locals and tourists alike to both learn from, and enjoy.
The Navarre Beach Science Station program continues to expand involving two local high schools with duel-enrolled students, over-nights, summer camp, and public programs.
For more on this story see the June 16 issue of the Navarre Press or subscribe online.