A Resource for Educators, Coastal Residents & Visitors

General Information

The NE Florida Sea Grant Extension Program offers a variety of educational programs throughout the year.  The Sea Grant agent is available to hold workshops for teachers and youth leaders in the areas of marine and coastal ecology.  4-H marine science summer camps for different age groups are held in several counties.  The Sea Grant agent helps develop study materials for the 4-H Marine Ecology Judging Event (contact your local 4-H agent for more information about this competition which is usually held in October each year).  Teacher workshops range from 2 hours to 3 days and topic areas include estuaries, coral reefs, field studies and aquaculture.  For information about marine-related careers, check out www.marinecareers.net. Check for current marine education-related job vacancies.

Florida teachers who collect marine plants and animals as part of their teaching should be aware of the special collecting permit that is available through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  For information about the permit, see the Florida Marine Science Educators Association website.  Free workshops are held annually at the FMSEA and FAST conferences.  Check out the activities page of this website for classroom and field activities and resources (in addition to those further down on this page).

Exploring our Environment Adult "day camps"

Four or five-day adult educational "day camp" programs are offered once or twice a year. These classes combine classroom-based presentations and hands-on activities with outdoor field experiences. Based at the GTMNERR classroom in the town of Marineland, the cost for each class is $125 for the week.  If you have any questions, please contact Maia at 386-437-7464 or at mpmcg@ufl.edu.

Offerings include:

Exploring our Environment--from the ocean to the river.

The "original" Exploring our Environment class, this class focuses on coastal and marine species and habitats. Topics covered include marine mammals, beaches, sea turtles, estuaries, coastal hammocks and water conservation.

Exploring our Environment II--from the past to the future.

This class includes topics such as barrier island dynamics, coral reefs, climate change, energy conservation and maritime archeology.

Exploring our Environment III--coastal policy and you and me.

This class focuses on coastal policy and human interactions with the coastal environment. Topics include fisheries, beach nourishment, becoming a wise seafood purchaser and adapting to sea level rise.

Exploring our Environment IV--Facing the Future.

Hurricane Matthew made many residents of northeast Florida a bit more aware of how dynamic our barrier islands are, and about the vulnerability of many areas to flooding. Climate change is causing many challenges for people and for marine life. Coastal wells are becoming saline. Plastic pollution is a growing concern. What will the future bring?

This class will be offered from October 30-November 2, 2017. To register, see https://eoefacingthefuture.

To be notified when classes are scheduled, contact Maia.


Activities for K-1, 2-3 and 4-5 grades can be found at the manatee page.

18-lesson 3rd grade manatee curriculum

19-lesson 4th grade cetacean (whale/dolphin) curriculum. Contains 9 lessons on North Atlantic right whales.

Original book and 10-lesson 5th grade sea turtle curriculum

The Coastal Florida Adopt-A-Wetland training manual is available as a DRAFT version (August 2015). Please send feedback to Maia McGuire. A final version is anticipated in early 2016.

The Coastal Florida Adopt-A-Wetland curriculum guide contains activities for grades 3-12. This is also a DRAFT version and feedback is requested!


This page contains links to PowerPoint presentations and activities that have been developed by Maia McGuire, NE Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent.  I hope that you will find them useful and would appreciate hearing any feedback that you might have to give.  Note that in some cases the presentations contain species common to northeast Florida; these species may not be the dominant ones in other parts of the state.  I have tried to specify the audience for which the presentation or activity was designed; in most cases the presentations can be modified for a variety of audience ages/knowledge levels.

To download PowerPoint presentations and activities, RIGHT CLICK on the desired link and select "save target as."  If you want to view the presentation or activity, click on it with the LEFT mouse button.  The size of each file is given in parentheses--some of the files are quite large and may take some time to open and/or download.  If you would like files sent to you on CD, please contact Maia by e-mail or at 386-437-7464.



Slideshows available (PowerPoint 2000)

  • There's an Estuary Living Next Door (13.3MB)
    60-90 minute presentation (can be used without the species descriptions)--biology and ecology of estuaries, some of the common species found in NE Florida estuaries.  Contains notes section.  Designed for high school/adult audiences.
  • Salt Marshes (2MB)
    15-20 minute presentation on the biology and ecology of Florida salt marshes (common plants & animals).  Designed for adult audiences.
  • Florida Seagrasses (1.3MB)
    15-20 minute presentation on the biology and ecology of Florida's marine seagrasses.  Designed for adult audiences.


  • The Edible Estuary (75KB PDF)
    Uses food products to represent the biotic and abiotic components of the estuary.  Kids get to eat it when they're done!  I've used this with all ages (K-gray).  Activity takes about 15 minutes; longer if you talk about each of the components as they are added.  Allow time for cleanup at the end!
  • Estuary Food Web Activity (1.2 MB PDF)
    Set of 21cards, each represents a component of the estuarine food web.  Designed to be used with food web activity using yarn (start with producers and pass yarn back and forth between producers and their consumers; repeat for all predator-prey relationships in the food web.  Once web is complete, examine what happens when one of the links in the web is removed because of natural causes or human activites.)  Designed for 4th grade.
  • Useful estuary web resources
  • Horeshoe crabs
    Information and Activity



Slideshows available (PowerPoint 2000)

  • Beachcombing (14 MB)
    30-60 minute presentation on beaches, seashells, sea beans and other treasures.  I usually pass around items during this presentation and spend some time discussing them, so the length of the presentation is variable.  Presentation is for a general audience (I have used with all ages).
  • Sea Turtles (1.5 MB)
    20-minute presentation on sea turtles (brief descriptions of the 5 species that nest on Florida's Atlantic beaches).  General audience.


  • Beach seining
    Instructions on the proper technique for using a 2-person beach seine net.  From Delaware Sea Grant.
  • Beach scavenger hunt (689KB PDF)
    Scavenger hunt designed to make participants aware of the sources of items they find on the beach.  Includes background information about many of the items on the list, as well as questions for discussion.  Works with all ages, best for 2nd grade and older.
  • Beach book (coloring book) (192KB PDF)
    Coloring book for kids to color, cut out and assemble.  Best for K-2nd grade.
  • Sea turtle activities for elementary school (922KB PDF) and middle school (217KB PDF). Activities developed by Susanna Musick (Virginia Sea Grant program)
  • Here's a PowerPoint presentation that can be used with the middle school turtle activity above (has pictures of all the predators--all images are creative commons-licensed or used with permission of the photographer, so can be duplicated for education purposes). (32 MB PPTX file).


Coral Reefs

Slideshows available (PowerPoint 2000)

  • Coral Reefs (3.7 MB)
    Approximately 60 minute presentation designed for adult audiences.  Biology and ecology of coral reefs; includes topics of reproduction and bleaching.  Complete notes section.


Field Studies



  • Annotated equipment list (196KB PDF)
    Photos and descriptions of field equipment used by Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.  Most equipment is geared towards aquatic studies.
  • Making a quadrat (80KB PDF)
    Instructions for assembling a quadrat out of PVC.

Coastal Plants

Science Fair

Science Fair 101 PowerPoint (pptx; 19 MB)

This 48-minute narrated PowerPoint presentation explains why students should do science fair projects, what makes a good project and what the judges are looking for.


Whitney Station

Whitney Station

Looking at a sea urchin

Looking at a Sea Urchin

sorting fish

Sorting Fish

Beach Day

Beach Day

Beach Seining

Beach Seining