Oregon State University


Exploring HMSC Visitor Center on Marine Science Day 2013

Life-long marine science learning

Oregon Sea Grant has a long and rich involvement in marine education, both formal and informal.

Generations of students and their teachers have benefited from Sea Grant marine science education programs at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, with its unique combination of laboratories, classrooms, and public aquarium and exhibit space.

We've provided thousands of graduate and undergraduate students with first-hand learning opportunities in marine science, policy, resource management, and related fields. And uncounted coastal visitors have enjoyed and learned from such popular public programs as our Oregon Coast Quests.

Today, much of our attention is focused on learning just what it is that makes such "free-choice" learning opportunities work, and how they can be improved. In addition to supporting graduate programs in Free-Choice Learning through OSU's Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning, Sea Grant operates the HMSC Visitor Center as a living laboratory. There, scholars and students study the science learning that happens when people choose to visit science museums, zoos, and aquariums in their leisure time.

Since the Free-Choice Learning program's launch in 2004, it has become nationally recognized for its innovation; in 2011, a team led by Sea Grant's Shawn Rowe was awarded a $2.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation - the largest grant ever received by Oregon Sea Grant - to develop a state-of-the-art free-choice learning lab at the HMSC.

Sea Grant Extension also works with K-12 teachers and their students, providing STEM-appropriate curricula, lesson plans and hands-on-kits on topics ranging from invasive aquatic species to water quality.

People and projects

HMSC Visitor Center, Newport

Program leader (interim): Dr. Shawn Rowe
Nancee Hunter, education specialist (special projects)
Maureen Collson, program support

Free-choice Learning Master's program, OSU

Sea Grant Extension educational materials

Contact Info

Oregon Sea Grant
1600 SW Western Blvd
Suite 350
Corvallis OR 97333
Phone: 541-737-2714
FAX: 541-737-7958

Contact us by e-mail
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