The Coastal Georgia Adopt-A-Wetland (AAW) program is a grant funded volunteer monitoring program that was established in 2002 through the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service.
Program goals include educating individuals about water quality, wetland importance, biodiversity, and impacts on these habitats due to invasive species, non point source pollution, and coastal development. We achieve these goals through free training sessions focusing on chemical and biological monitoring, biannual wetland clean up events, teacher workshops, conference presentations, summer programs and public outreach.
Currently, there are over 150 volunteers chemically and/ or biologically monitoring the 118 miles of Georgia's coast at 32 locations. Volunteers range in age from 5th grade to senior adult with groups being comprised of families, friends, scouts, and school groups. These volunteers are providing the baseline water quality data so desperately needed in determining the health of these valuable coastal ecosystems.
Through public outreach events, such as festivals and partnerships with local schools' science days, we reach approximately 9,000 individuals each year. Other than public outreach, we conduct and / or assist in summer program, girl scout patch programs, and teacher workshops to promote the newly written AAW Curriculum Guide for Grades 3-12. This guide, a companion to the volunteer training manual, corresponds to state classroom standards to encourage facilitation of the activities in promoting the scholastic requirements of the classroom.
Currently, the AAW program has partnered with North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Mississippi to create an educators' guide to marine debris and is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2008. Copies of the manual and curriculum guide are available online at www.marex.uga.edu/shellfish or on CD by contacting Angela Bliss at email@example.com.