SREL’s outreach efforts formally began in 1991 under the leadership of Dr. J. Whitfield Gibbons. Initially known as the Division of Environmental Outreach and Education, the program’s creation reflected SREL’s commitment to educating the public as well as the scientific community. The name also reflected Dr. Gibbon’s significant efforts in education and student programs. A graduate research participation program was a vital component of SREL’s outreach efforts during those early years, and it provided financial support to full-time graduate students from more than 50 U.S. universities while they conducted dissertation research on the SRS. In the late 1990s, the name of the program formally changed to the SREL Outreach Program. Currently, the program is overseen by Katrina Ford, the Assistant Director for Outreach and Education.
The SREL Outreach Program reaches more than 68,000 people annually who live in communities surrounding the SRS. Programs enhance an individual’s understanding of environmental issues affecting the SRS and increase general ecological awareness by featuring programs on local ecology and associated research. People are able to connect in person by visiting SREL at the University of Georgia’s Conference Center located near Aiken, SC, remotely through our distance learning options, or online via our website or social media platforms.