Harris Swamp Girls Learn About Health of Gulf of Mexico

The Harris Middle School “Swamp Girls” recently returned from a 2-day visit to the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Facility where they participated in hands-on experiments to learn more about coastal ecology.

The 19 girls in the self-described “Swamp Girls” were part of the fall semester Coastal Ecology Camps that is a component of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance for Healthy and Resilient Coasts project.

The Harris students learned about water quality, watersheds, sounds, bays, beaches, and gulf; wetland and coastal conservation and restoration; habitat identification and characterization; reduction of nutrient input; harmful algal blooms; shell fish safety; hypoxia; hurricane and storm surge impacts; subsidence; and habitat loss.

The students also visited Ship Island, the Mississippi Sound, the Gulf of Mexico, and Fort Massachusetts.

In the spring of 2012, the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center’s bus will come to Harris Middle School with two instructors, live reptiles, a mobile marine debris display, and a touch tank.  And next summer, 25 students and two teachers from Harris will spend two days at the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center.

Harris Middle School Science department head Tracy Passantino accompanied the “Swamp Girls.”