Alabama Coasting 2019 - Page 10

Dauphin Island Sea Lab... A Journey of Wonder The Dauphin Island Sea Lab was creat- ed to provide marine science programs for the state of Alabama’s colleges and universities. Founded in 1971 by the Ala- bama Legislature, the goal was to reduce redundancy in higher education. To- day, opportunities include graduate and undergraduate studies, K-12 education, professional development, and a public aquarium. “Because the planet’s environments are changing so rapidly and in many ways unpredictably, it is of critical importance that we better understand how natural processes work in the world’s oceans,” Executive Director John Valentine ex- plains. “It is here that we bring togeth- er scientists, educators, and interested members of the community to study how the environment is shifting and affecting our ocean resources. In doing this, we are better able to make robust projec- tions about how future ocean conditions will be.” Surrounded by the natural coastlines of Mobile Bay, the Mississippi Sound, and the Gulf of Mexico, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is the perfect place to raise awareness and understanding of our oceans. Each year more than 15,000 students are introduced to these environments by Discovery Hall Programs’ (DHP) ma- rine educators. Educators also have the opportunity to attend professional devel- opment workshops on a variety of topics to broaden the scope of what is brought into the classroom. “Our education philosophy is one of do,” Discovery Hall Programs Chair Dr. Tina Miller-Way said. “We give our visitors a true hands on education by providing authentic experiences in the field, in the salt marsh, on the boat, driving under- water robots, and collecting and analyz- ing data. It’s these experiences that give students and all of our visitors a better understanding of the ocean.” University and Discovery Hall Program students dig the Island environment. 10 ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE 2019