GULFPORT -- Dozens of students got a hands-on experience with marine life at a summer camp offered by the Institute for Marine Mammal Study in Gulfport.
The summer camp, the only one of its kind on the Gulf Coast, offers children ages 6 to 14 the opportunity to dive into a world of seining, sieving and beachcombing, and many other learning activities centered on the Gulf of Mexico and its ecosystem.
Campers this year got to ride on the IMMS pontoon boat to fish and crab, as well as go to the beach and Ship Island. Throughout the week, kids learned how to take and test water samples, properly clean animals after an oil spill and prepare for coastal hazards such as hurricanes. They also learned about littering and its effects on the aquatic world.
The institute offers scholarships to under-served and under-represented children, specifically children of minority and low-income families. So far, 175 partial scholarships have been given out. Businesses such as Shaggy’s in Pass Christian are working with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs to provide more.
“Our goal is to increase children’s awareness and understanding of the marine and aquatic environment,” said the institute’s Sharon Walker. “If they can enhance their understanding and realize how the water is relevant to all of us, no matter where they live, we are empowering them to make better environmental decisions when they are older.”
Walker said seeing the effects of litter or preparing for a hurricane allows kids to “realize that they can make a difference and that their behavior can change the environment.”
“If we’re talking to them about oil pollution, for example, we talk about what oil is, make something that looks like oil, and then put it on a plastic sea turtle and teach them to clean it just like we did during last year’s oil spill.
“For children to live in this area and never have been on a boat or to the islands or to the beach, it just makes us think to ourselves how we have to get even more money for scholarships.”
For more information, visit www.imms.org.
By Lindsay Knowles
GULFPORT -- A local bar and grill’s foundation has pledged $5,000 for scholarships for children to attend summer camps at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.
After seeing an ad for IMMS summer camps in the Sun Herald, the owners of Shaggy’s Harbor Bar and Grill, which has a Pass Christian location and a Biloxi location that will open in mid-June, decided to make the donation through the Shaggy’s Kids Foundation. The pledge could pay for about 25 children to attend the camps, which offer children between the ages of 5 and 14 a chance to see marine life, take boat rides and learn about marine issues, among other attractions.
The weeklong camps begin in June and several will be held before the end of July. Tuition ranges from $180 to $220, depending on the child’s age group. Ron Ladner, one of the restaurant’s co-owners, said the group was pleased to make the donation.
“The mission of our foundation is to introduce children to marine life and the sport of fishing,” Ladner said.
Eligibility and other program rules of the scholarship program are still being determined, but Ladner said the scholarships are designed for children with parents who wouldn’t have been able to afford the camps.
IMMS Director of Education and Outreach Sharon Walker said with the pledge, as well as some others being discussed, IMMS may have scholarships or varying amounts for about 100 students to attend the camps this year. She said the group is hoping for all the donations for scholarships it can get.
Thrilled with Shaggy’s pledge Tuesday, IMMS Director Moby Solangi said the donation was proof newspaper ads work.
“We are very, very happy,” Solangi said.
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Parents can learn about summer camp opportunities at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies at a seminar Saturday, February 26. IMMS has partnered with Jackson, MS-based Parents & Kids' Magazine for the Camp and education Connection event.
The camp fair will give parents the opportunity to ask questions of camp staff, compare choices, and choose the most appropriate summer opportunities for their children. Performances and demonstrations will be held, too, so bring the whole family.
For the price of regular museum admission, families can inject a little informative fun into that long stretch between Christmas and summer vacation and offer some hope to winter-worn kids that summer will be here before they know it.
The Camp & Education Connection, presented by Parents & Kids Magazine, held Saturday, February 26 2011, from 10 a.m. til 4 p.m. at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies at 10801 Dolphin Lane, Gulfport. Join the fun, learn what camps - from academic to sports to performing arts - are available this summer, and tell your kids to get ready, get set and go camping - Mississippi style.
Parents & Kids Magazine's For more information, call Parents & Kids Magazine at 601-366-0901 or visit www.parents-kids.com
Camp and Education Connection is made possible by its sponsors: Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Beef O'Brady's, and Parents & Kids Magazine.