Student Activities

Onsite Programs

Student Field Experiences are held on a first come first served reservation basis or as the need arises.  Teachers are required to participate in each of the adventures.

The Reserve offers three student field experiences for middle and high school students:

    • Carnivorous Plants of Mississippi and Alabama Coastal Savannas—This experience introduces the students to the variety of the plants found within our coastal savanna habitats concentrating on the large variety of carnivorous plants that are found within the Grand Bay Reserve and Refuge. Students will spend time in the learning lab examining a variety of the carnivorous plants using microscopes and then venture into the actual habitat where the plants live to search for the plants they learned about in the lab. Recommended Audience:  Middle School. SEASONALLY AVAILABLE
    • Stewardship Recommended Audience:  Middle and High School (Coming Soon)
    • Coastal Biodiversity:  Middle, High School and College (Coming Soon)
    • Investigating Botanical Biodiversity Intro Activity PDF


  • Maritime Habitats—This combined hiking and aquatic experience introduces the students to several of Mississippi’s coastal habitats including salt marshes, salt pannes, maritime forests and shell middens. Students and teachers will kayak on Bayou Heron through an estuarine salt marsh to a nearby shell midden and maritime forest where they will learn how to recognize the dominant species of each of the habitats and learn about the importance of estuaries.  Additionally the students will learn how to recognize several of south Mississippi’s most noxious invasive species of plants and animals including Cogongrass, Japanese Climbing Fern, Popcorn Tree and Fire Ants. This experience is limited to 16 participants. If two or more teachers or adult sponsors are present, a larger group can be divided into two groups of sixteen or less that can alternate between the invasive species hike and the kayak adventure. Recommended Audiences:  Middle School, High School and College  SEASONALLY AVAILABLE
  • Environmental Competition Training Sessions (ex. Envirothon) are held on an as needed basis. The activities are designed to coordinate with the needs of the particular competition.  This training can be held either onsite or offsite. Recommended Audience:  High School Students
  • Stewardship Opportunities such as removing invasive popcorn trees and planting marsh grass for shoreline stabilization are often available for students to participate in.  If you are interested in having your students participate in one of these activities, please contact us to see if there are any upcoming stewardship activities scheduled.


Offsite Programs

  • On-the-Road Programs are brought into elementary schools upon request:
    • Pitcher Plants: (Carnivorous Plants) – Target Audience: (Grades 1-3)In this lesson, students will learn to recognize different types of carnivorous plants and identify their adaptations to their poor nutrient deficient environment. A hands-on demonstration by the instructor using volunteer students will illustrate each function of their adaptations. Also, students will dissect the pitcher or trumpet (modified leaf) part of the pitcher plant and observe the frass (remains of insects) inside of the pitcher under a dissecting scope. The class will list the different examples of insects digested by the pitcher plants on the board. Students will learn why it is important to conserve the habitats where these plants grow.
    • Clean Coastal Waters – Target Audience: (Grades 4-5)In this lesson, students will be introduced to the importance of clean, healthy waters to our estuaries. Students will learn how to use a refractometer and a water quality test kit to sample the water’s salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH. The instructor will discuss the results with the students. Students will learn the principles of Ocean Literacy. The water cycle will be taught using a diagram to show the movement of water throughout a coastal ecosystem. Using the Deep Horizon Oil Spill as an example, students will learn the importance of good stewardship.
    • Stash your Trash—Coastal Stewardship – Target Audience: (Grades 6-8)In this lesson, students will learn what marine litter is and how they can help prevent the problem. The class will participate in a survey of how much trash each student and their family accumulates per day, and the water cycle will be reviewed to illustrate the way trash travels into the ocean from the upper parts of the watersheds. Students will analyze a map of currents in the Mississippi Sound in order to predict where trash moves and accumulates along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Finally, students will learn the rate of decomposition of each litter item and how it affects marine life. At the end of the class, the instructor will  apply practical lessons about their own stewardship and discuss the effects of the oil spill. Students will be encouraged to sign a pledge as a promise to take care of the coastal environments along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As a bonus the instructor will present a hands-on demonstration with an inflatable globe to emphasize the principles of Ocean Literacy.
  • Career Days Exhibits may be set up in your schools in order to promote careers in estuarine science fields.  Our booth usually consists of one of our staff members demonstrating an activity that encourages students to consider one of the many fields of science as a career choice.  Middle and High School
  • Regional Science Fair Tutorial Presentation—In order to promote participation in the regional science fair, one of our educators can present a program on how to properly put together a science fair project for students and their parents.  Elementary, Middle and High School