orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

January 8, 2013

More than 10K Southeast Texas students begin exploration of coastal environments

Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader

BEAUMONT — On Monday the JASON Alliance of Southeast Texas began the first of 13 days of hands-on scientific experiences for more than 10,000 fourth through eighth-grade students from school districts throughout Southeast Texas in the Setzer Center on the Lamar University campus. This year’s theme is called Immersion in Coastal Environments.

In the Ballroom, students will view a 40-minute video made locally by the LU departments of communication and Earth and space sciences featuring eighth grade Argonauts as they learned to navigate the Big Thicket National Preserve by compass, saw examples of species in the Gulf of Mexico food web at the Coastal Fisheries Lab on Pleasure Island, cored sediments in Sea Rim State Park for evidence of Hurricane Ike’s storm surge, and visited the salt dome and oil field at High Island. National Weather Service meteorologists from the Lake Charles office finished the hour with a demonstration of how tidal changes occur in coastal marshes.

Students also spent an hour doing hands-on activities with engineers from local refineries and chemical plants, health care specialists, National Park Service rangers and National Weather Service meteorologists. In coming days, the interactive sessions will also be hosted by outdoor educators from Shangri La Nature Center, biologists from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Coastal Fisheries Lab, General Land Office Oil Spill experts, and AgriLife Extension agents.

JASET is funded by donations from local industries, non-profit foundations, and Lamar University.