Implementing programs at the aquarium based on the experiential learning model that first allows an individual to experience something new, then challenges them to think and reflect on the activity and finally consider how human behavior may impact the experience and consider behavior change as a result. This theme of learning will be employed throughout all aspects of interactions with visitors and participants. The goal of all activities will be to bring the facility and experiences to life for a visitor and effect behavior change to increase environmental stewardship.
1) Daily tours where AmeriCorps Members will interact with visitors to help them make the connection between the animals and exhibits and how their daily choices can play a role in protecting important ecosystems. 2) Hosting field trips, camps, and activities for children to teach hands-on marine science and environmental stewardship. 3) Facilitating a guest lecture series to speak on topics related to environmental stewardship. 4) Assisting with the design of an exhibit that will highlight the role seaweed plays in clean water, based on the recent grant award from FDEP as well as other enhancements to better tie human behavior to the protection of the environment.
Community Need Addressed
Wakulla County is a rural coastal community that is considered one of the fastest growing counties in North Florida. A significant portion (over 66%) of the land mass in the county is in conservation. Coupled with neighboring Jefferson, Taylor and Franklin Counties, WakullaCounty is one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline in the State of Florida. These coastal areas and conservation lands play a vital role in protecting sensitive habitat and are also important for the protection of portions of the local economy which are dependent upon coastal resources. Wakulla County is attracting new residents from all over the United States who are drawn to open spaces and the coastal environment. In addition, Wakulla County draws visitors from surrounding landlocked counties who may not have the appreciation of a coastal environment and value preservation due to not being exposed to the importance of these resources. A common challenge/prevalent problem is when people move to or visit Wakulla County to enjoy its coastal resources, if not originally from a coastal area these individuals may not have hands-on experiences that help them to value these resources and understand how their every-day choices can influence the health of the environment.
Gulf Specimen Marine Lab will use AmeriCorps Members to bring the aquarium and experience to life and facilitate experiential learning interactions to foster environmental stewardship.
Childcare assistance if eligible, Education award upon successful completion of service, Living allowance, Student loan forbearance, Training
AmeriCorps members who participate in the GSML program will gain invaluable experience in leadership with transferable skills that will be useful to them as they move forward with their chosen careers. AmeriCorps members will gain leadership experience through 1) Serving as the face of GSML and interacting daily to teach visitors about the animals included in exhibits as well as how human choices can affect the animal's livelihoods as well as the overall ecosystem. 2) Serving as leaders in camp programs for children of all ages which will teach them to lead and manage groups effectively to balance learning and fun. 3) Serving as facilitators of open dialogue with participants following guest lecture topics to encourage input in reflective learning. Transferable skills gained by AmeriCorps members will include: 1) Animal husbandry, 2) Marine biology, 3) Engineering, design and of filtration systems that can be applied to other applications such as aquaculture, aquariums, etc. 4) Meeting facilitation, 5) Task/time management, 6) Education of school-aged children, 7) Adult education, 8) Program design and implementation.
College Degree, Credential or Certification
CPR/First Aid, Diversity and Inclusion, Citizenship, Disaster Preparedness and Response
Skills you will gain
Leadership, teaching, animal husbandry, environmental stewardship, communication.
Competencies You Will Develop
Demonstrate sensitivity and empathy, Lead group discussion, Listen to and consider others' viewpoints, Maintain open lines of communication with others, Speak clearly, in precise language and in a logical, organized and coherent manner, Turn taking
Creativity & Problem Solving
Able to identify and define the problem, Capable of generating possible solutions, Communicate the problem to appropriate personnel, Improvise, Provide relevant expertise, Select and implement well-considered solution
Derive consensus, Develop constructive working relationships and maintain them over time, Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others, Interact professionally and respectfully with supervisors and co-workers, Stay positive and outcome oriented, Use appropriate strategies and solutions for dealing with conflicts and differences to maintain a smooth workflow
Accepts responsibility, Anticipate the consequences of decisions, Identify and prioritize the key issues involved to facilitate the decision making process, Involve people appropriately in decisions that may impact them, Quickly respond with a back-up plan if a decision goes amiss
Carefully consider which tools or technological solutions are appropriate for a given job, Consistently choose the best tool or technological solution for the problem at hand, Operate tools and equipment in accordance with established operating procedures, safety standards, and ethical guidelines, Seek opportunities to improve knowledge of tools and technologies that may assist in streamlining work and improving productivity
Create environment of contribution, Set goals
Be pleasant, courteous, professional and respectful when dealing with internal and external customers or clients, Evaluate customer or client satisfaction, Honor the privilege of being able to work with and for those being served, Provide personalized, prompt, and efficient service to meet the requirements, requests and needs of customers, Recognize the importance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality of those being served, Understand and anticipate the needs of others, Understand the importance of one's role in the functioning of the organization, Understand the significance of maintaining a healthful and safe environment