Students from Arkansas visit the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

Over 700 students packed the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies including students all the way from Arkansas eager to learn about marine life.

While Coastal Mississippians are used to beaches, fishing, and marine life, many students from Arkansas at Carlisle Elementary School have never experienced coastal life. Teacher Ashley Gwynne said, “This might be their only chance to ever experience that. We come from a really rural small town, farming town, and we come here and we just enjoy learning about it.”

To broaden the horizon of students, teachers packed up more than 100 students and treated them to a week-long ocean camp adventure here along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “I like that it gives them an opportunity to learn about, maybe one day they want to be a marine biologist and they wouldn’t know that if they didn’t get to come and experience that.”

Huston Bridges, a fifth-grader at Carlisle Elementary, says his favorite part is being able to touch all the animals. “I’ve been enjoying IMMS. We got to do all the touch pools.”

While the students from Arkansas were enjoying one area of IMMS, about 600 students were cheering on the dolphins. Kannen Pasley, an Ocean Springs Upper Elementary student, even got to feed the dolphins. “The dolphins were really cool and I got to pet the back which was the funnest part about the dolphins.”

IMMS Director Moby Solangi says the goal is to bring the information that students learn in the classroom to life. “We bring nature close to the students so they become better stewards.”

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