Community Engagement

Education Programs

Teens Learning at Sea with the Oceanography Camp for Girls during a research cruise with E & O staff aboard RV Angari

Our education programs target three main audiences: Pre-College Students (K-12), Graduate Students, and K-12 Teachers.

Please note that we make a distinction between our education programs and our outreach programs. Our education programs are rooted in pedagogy and achieve an academic rigor that is quantifiable by academic standards. Many of our outreach programs, on the other hand, are more flexible in nature and designed to stimulate interest in the ocean in meaningful though often less quantifiable ways.

“Clam Bayou team: Your evaluation results from the teachers are wonderful and show the positive impact you all have having. It was incredible to watch the students present their inquiry projects as well – such amazing energy and thoughtfulness!” –Amy Clark, Education Coordinator, NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office

Pre-College Students (K-12)

The Oceanography Camp for Girls is a three-week summer academic STEM program that engages teen girls from Pinellas County in learning about all things ocean.  Activities include learning aboard a research vessel, explorations in outdoor coastal environments, and in research labs, as well as career interviews with ocean scientists. The College hosts the Oceanography Camp for Girls in June each summer.

The Spoonbill Bowl is an academic competition that engages high school students in the ocean sciences. The competition is a rapid-fire question and answer format for high school teams along Florida’s west coast. The College hosts the Spoonbill Bowl in February every year as part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). NOSB promotes ocean literacy, stewardship and the critical role of the oceans to our everyday lives.

Coastal Field Trips engage learners in the ocean sciences through outdoor, field-based research and sampling.  K-12 students, teachers, undergraduate students, and community groups can be an ocean scientist for a day during coastal field trips at the Clam Bayou Preserve, Fort Desoto Marine Park, or Caladesi Island State Park. 


We provide several hands-on professional development workshops for K-12 teachers and other educators every year through our In-TOW (In-service Teacher Oceanography Workshops) program. 

Graduate Students Opportunities

The education and outreach staff from the USF College of Marine Science offer graduate courses that help graduate students develop or improve their skills in teaching and communicating science. Courses include:

  • Graduate Certificate Program: Teaching & Communicating Ocean Sciences
  • Additional opportunities to serve as OCG science mentor, an official for the Spoonbill Bowl Competition, or as a Field Trip leader

Coastal Field Trips

“This program was a wonderful experience for me, and I feel (it was) very beneficial in helping me overcome my blocks against science and math.” – OCG Alum