Throughout the year, educators from DISL’s Discovery Hall Programs travel to schools and environmental events around the state on the BayMobile. The BayMobile is the Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s traveling marine science classroom and carries preserved marine animals, information displays, hands-on activities, and other ocean education materials.
Over the past year, the BayMobile traveled to almost 50 events, connecting with more than 35,000 people. By visiting environmental festivals, school career fairs, STEM competitions, and other events, DHP has the opportunity to ‘share the ocean’ with a number of different audiences. Visits to schools are a bit more structured and focused on students while visits to local and regional festivals offer opportunities for more casual chats with interested visitors of all ages.
In 2017, the BayMobile visited 25 Alabama public schools, most of which were designated Title I and hosted underserved student populations. Many of these students may not have the opportunity to visit the coast and so it’s a chance for these students to see a few of Alabama’s amazing coastal animals. DHP educators also participate in career fairs and other career-themed events at schools. They’re a great way to share the diversity of jobs that have to do with being in or around the ocean with students and parents. Through BayMobile travels to local, regional and statewide science fairs DHP recognizes and encourage student interest in ocean matters.
As is the case in many areas, the use of technology to study and understand the ocean is growing. DHP has integrated marine technology into its programs and was involved in a number of STEM events in 2017. The BayMobile was at the local and statewide BEST Robotics competitions this year and, of course, at our own annual student designed and built ROV competition. It has shared ROV activities with a number of organizations and schools from the Gulf Coast Exploreum to Loachapoka, Alabama.
The BayMobile made a splash at a number of regional and national environmentally themed festivals in 2017. These included a variety of festivals from the nationally known ShrimpFest to Ocean Commotion (LA), Celebrate the Gulf (MS), Delta Woods and Waters (AL), CreekFest, Kids’ Gulf Discovery Day at Bellingrath Gardens, Kids Day in Bienville (all Mobile) and even a couple of fishing rodeos! These environmentally-focused events can help citizens get excited and more knowledgeable about issues affecting oceans, ocean health and our coastal resources.
To learn more about the BayMobile, or to have it visit your next educational or environmental event, click here or call our office at 251-861-2141, ext. 7515.