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Water-Related News

South St. Pete youth become ‘Guardians of the Gulf’ with USF College of Marine Science

ST. PETERSBURG — Nearly 25 youth from the Royal Theater Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast (BGCS) spent three days of their spring break becoming “Guardians of the Gulf.” Keep an eye out for the yellow t-shirts they earned that say on the back: “I’m a Guardian. … Are YOU?”

Guardians of the Gulf is a STEAM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) about coastal and human resiliency run by the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science (USF CMS). Its mission is to provide a multisensory program that introduces youth to the interconnectivity of our natural environment, empowers them to realize what’s at stake, and inspires them toward action. The program targets youth ages 7-13.

“The complex challenges we all face, from more intense storms to escalating heat and sea levels, require all hands on deck,” said program lead Kristen Kusek, who is also the communications director at the USF CMS. “Down the line, we’d like our Guardians to be competitive for jobs that are cropping up around the need to make our coastal areas more resilient – if they choose to do so – and it all starts with having fun in the environment.”

Partners in the program include the St. Petersburg Innovation District, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Duke Energy, Charter Spectrum, Future Vision Multisensory Media, US Ignite, The WildFlower Press and private donors.