Saturday-at-the-Sea is an outreach program that brings Florida primary school students and their teachers to the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory to learn about the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico. The day revolves around hands-on experiences intended to increase their understanding of the biological relationships of marine creatures and the habitats within which they live, and endeavors to awaken in the participants an awareness of the interdependency of people in this region with the sea life in the local estuaries and bays. In the process, the program engages and stimulates young minds to have a strong interest in and understanding of science at this critical time in their educational development.
A second component of SATS is the Saturday-at-the-Sea Summer Camp program (SATS Camp), a week-long experience in marine science offered by invitation only to local students entering the 9th and 10th grades. During the SATS Camp, participants develop research projects based on their own observations of marine life. During the week, the participants collect, analyze, and interpret data, and write and present orally their results. Research is combined with fun, and SATS Camp participants have plenty of time for snorkeling in lush seagrass beds, playing volleyball, taking field trips to high-energy barrier island habitats--also known as "going to the beach"--making camp t-shirts, and staying overnight at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory with a chance to go night trawling from the pontoon boats. A special goal of the SATS Camp program is to encourage positive, science-related experiences among groups that are traditionally underrepresented in environmental science careers (women and ethnic minorities).