Education & Outreach
An essential contribution of NOAA cooperative institutes is integrating the research with education and outreach. The NGI Education and Outreach Program provides an comprehensive approach educating the public, facilitating the transition of NGI research to NOAA operational centers, and supporting NOAA workforce development. The program connects universities to NOAA and works closely with the educational programs at the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the various Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant programs and the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team to develop communication and significant long term messaging campaigns.
A strong component of NGI is a commitment to education and outreach. An engaged and informed public is a great partner in the effort to protect the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. By relating NGI findings in an understandable and accessible manner, NGI makes its research relevant to stakeholders and citizens. NGI's target audience runs the gamut of age groups. DISL delivers NGI research at The Estuarium to K-12 groups. All of the NGI partners aim to engage college students and older adults. "Students" of any age are needed to help protect the Gulf.
In addition to populating the NGI web site, the NGI Education and Outreach Program utilizes other communication venues to inform and educate the public on NGI efforts:
- NGI Newsletter - The Portal - an online newsletter that contains info "all about NGI".
- NGI Blog - The Portal Blog - an online blog highlighting important issues and research concerning the northern Gulf of Mexico.
NGI hosts an important conference on an annual basis - bringing together NGI researchers and educators with NOAA and other stakeholders in the northern Gulf region. As part outreach and part research planning, NGI participated in or hosted several workshops which are described in more detail below. The NGI Education and Outreach Program continuously updates the institution's website with the NGI audience relevant news, the most recent information about research activities and results, essential components of the collaboration, operation updates, and other outreach items of interest.
The specific objectives of NGI's E&O program include:
- Translate and disseminate NGI research results to relevant Gulf partner agencies, among the NGI research community and to the public
- Deliver NGI research results aligned to state and federal science standards to K-12 students in the Northern Gulf region
- Develop and implement curricular materials based on NGI research results for formal and informal educators along the coast and up the watershed aiming to address the issues throughout the ecosystem
- Increase awareness and understanding of the importance of the Northern Gulf region by the public via the Estuarium (the public aquarium located on the campus of Dauphin Island Sea Lab) and other similar institutions
- Increase stewardship of the Northern Gulf ecosystem with outreach programs and topical workshops
- Participate in outreach activities in the region to build NGI brand and recognition
- Provide internship management and workforce development opportunities and connections for NOAA employees and NGI affiliate students.