Outreach and Education (O & E)
Since inception of this program in 2000, considerable emphasis has been placed on outreach and education across an academic gradient.
On an annual basis, approx-imately 15% of scientific crew days have been worked by volunteers or students involved in a post-under-graduate program. Volunteers have ranged in age from middle school (day trips only) to middle aged. The scientific background of volunteers has ranged from enthusiastic novice to sea turtle expert. Most of the student assistance has been associated with veterinary and marine or environmental science programs. Given an interest in future expansion of this program to other regions, in recent years we have placed a high priority on exposure and training of regional biologists to the data collection techniques used in this in-water research program.
Project personnel deliver several presentations annually to a diversity of audiences including the general public, K–12 students, and researchers and managers. (Schedule a sea turtle presentation for your group) Presentations to the general public have been administered through the SCDNR MRD Open House and the Coastal Exploration Series. Guest lecturer presentations have reached hundreds of students in the greater Charleston, SC and Beaufort, SC areas. Through numerous collaborations, data generated from this in-water sea turtle program has been represented at every meeting of the International Sea Turtle Symposium since 2001. Other scientific audiences include the Southeast Regional Sea Turtle Meeting, the Florida Permit Holder Meeting, and the SC Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
Print media have covered numerous aspects of this in-water research program with near annual exposure since program inception in 2000. Featured articles have appeared in numerous newspapers in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. (Newspaper bibliography) Coverage of program activities in various magazines and newsletters such as South Carolina Wildlife, Charleston Magazine, the SCDNR MTCP's Loggerheadlines, University of South Carolina Beaufort's Barrier Island Breeze, and the South Carolina Marine Educators Association's SeaScripts have also helped increase awareness of program activities.
To date, 24 peer-reviewed publications authored by program personnel or collaborators have appeared in 15 different scientific journals, and manuscript writing remains a high priority. Numerous collaborator publications represent the culmination of data generated by the in-water sea turtle research program but analyzed in pursuit of graduate degrees at the College of Charleston, Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, Loma Linda University, and Duke University. Several collaborator publications have also resulted from seasonal field participation by veterinary students at North Carolina State University and Rutgers University.
In addition to peer-reviewed publications, research activities are summarized in grey literature contract reports issued to the National Marine Fisheries Service annually. Since program inception, two multi-year grant Final Reports have also been submitted to the National Marine Fisheries Service, with the next such report slated for fall 2013.