The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) will celebrate World Ocean Day on June 8 by highlighting important ways for Gulf Coast residents to love and protect our oceans.
World Ocean Day is a global collaboration among leaders, museums, aquariums, and other organizations to stay informed about creating a stable climate through shared oceans. According to the World Ocean Day organization, world leaders also made a global commitment to protect 30 percent of our oceans by 2030 by creating abundant oceans while stabilizing our ever-changing climate.
Kara Davis, project manager at the Marine Education Center (MEC) at USM’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) has a maritime and underwater archaeology background. Her dedication to ocean life is reflected in her work through ocean sustainability.
“Everything we do at the MEC is centered around the essence of World Ocean Day”, said Davis. “From celebrating diverse maritime heritage, to promoting environmental stewardship, to advancing understanding of ocean sciences and technology – we strive to raise awareness and foster connection between the public and the ocean.”
Davis says coastal residents can engage in the initiative in a variety of ways, including doing something as simple as walking barefoot in the sand, or walking on the grass in your backyard; getting involved in programs with GCRL; volunteering time in protecting the ocean through beach clean-up crews; or taking tours of the MEC and exploring the facilities to become more aware of our connection to the Gulf of Mexico.
“Everyone has a part to play in World Ocean Day,” Davis further explained. “One of the main objectives is to stay connected with the waters along our coastline, even throughout our complex ecosystem.”
The MEC is dedicated to promoting ocean sustainability through an array of interactive, hands-on programs that cater to both informal and formal learning settings. From workshops and summer camps to volunteer opportunities and citizen science projects, MEC offers coastal residents a diverse range of avenues to get involved and actively participate in ocean conservation.
The GCRL is one of the largest marine laboratories in the southeastern United States and has committed its research to provide scientific research to the broader Gulf of Mexico through marine aquaculture, conservation, restoration and coastal ecology. Please visit the USM GCRL website to learn more.