Education Programs

Education Programs

Oceanography camp for girls campers and staff measuring fish at Fort De Soto.

Oceanography Camp for Girls measuring fish at Fort De Soto.

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

Contact Teresa Greely ( and Makenzie Kerr ( for more information.
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 are 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)

Elementary scholars in lab coats.

Elementary scholars in lab coats.

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. 

Elementary scholars running through the water column.

Elementary scholars running through the water column.

Guardians of the Gulf is our newest outreach program. It is a coastal and human resiliency-focused STEAM program for underserved youth, and we are on the ground floor of building it in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast and others. Guardians leverages the power of real-time, multisensory tools to help youth understand how connected our environment is, to empower them to realize what’s at stake, and inspire them toward action. We believe that their future, and Florida’s, depend upon it.


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

The CMS Education team offers a series of outdoor, experiential, coastal field trips for K-12 school groups, college courses, and citizen science groups. Field trips and courses focus on coastal ecology, geology, watersheds and conservation.

“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