Dr. Gale A. Bishop, Co-Director
Dr. R. Kelly Vance, Co-Director
Mr. Mehmet Samiratedu, Project Manager
Ms. Jaynie Gaskin, Executive Manager

The Georgia Southern University Sea Turtle Program at St. Catherines Island (GSUSTP@SCI) is a holistic program dedicated to the study of the interactions of coastal geology, biology, and human development on nesting ecology of loggerhead sea turtles. Founded in 1990, the program has amassed 25 years of experience integrating the three goals of conservation, research, and education.” The program integrates conservation of loggerhead sea turtles, modeling of conservation education and science education for 16 kindergarten through 12th-grade teacher-interns or 18 Georgia Southern University undergraduates each year, and provides the platform for research into loggerhead nesting ecology, delivery of best-practices of pedagogy in science education, integration of technology into conservation programs, and the study of the geology of the Georgia coast.

In its first 25 years of operation the GSUSTP@SCI has conserved 3080 sea turtle nests and has put 186,374 sea turtle hatchlings into the Atlantic Ocean to bolster that threatened population. Sixteen teacher-interns, or 18 GSU geology and biology undergraduates (since 2013) spend the summer investigating loggerhead nesting ecology and the human history and geologic evolution of St. Catherines Island. They practice journaling in an experiential, place-based, inquiry-based (POGIL-like) learning environment, make abundant digital images for use in their teaching and classes, and make natural history collections. Of 344 sea turtle interns, 274 have been in-service teachers who have taught our conservation message to approximately 321,401 kindergarten through 12th-grade school children.

Basic and applied field research in loggerhead nesting ecology, science and conservation education, and coastal geology has resulted in more than 100 technical presentations, 43 published papers, five museum exhibits, and 13 websites. These products describe the morphology of loggerhead nests, summarize traces left by nesting sea turtles on the beach, record the deterioration of sea turtle nesting habitat as sea level rises, discuss the management of sea turtle nests on St. Catherines Island, and document the world’s only known fossilized sea turtle nest (from the Cretaceous of Colorado). These topics, and many more, can be studied on our comprehensive website at www.scistp.org.


Bishop, G. A., Vance, R. K., Rich, F. J., Meyer, B. K., Davis, E. J., Hayes, R. H. and Marsh, N. A., 2009, Evolution of geology field education for K-12 teachers from field education for geology majors at Georgia Southern University: Historical perspectives and modern approaches in Mogk, D.W., Whitmeyer, S. J. and Pyle, E. J. (eds.) Field Geology Education: Historical Perspectives and Modern Approaches, Geological Society of America Special Paper 461, p 223-251

Bishop, G. A., Vance, R. K., Ortiz*, K., Greco, V., and Meyer, B. K., 2013, Sea Turtle Conservation Transformation into K-12 Education: Hybrid POGIL Methodology in a Place-Based Geoscience Program, Proceedings of the 33rd International Sea Turtle Society Symposium of Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, Baltimore, Maryland, p. 66

Rich, F. J., Vance, R. K. and Bishop, G. A., 2008, Improved teaching and Learning in a Field Setting through the St. Catherines Island Sea Turtle Conservation Program: Accepting THE “STEM CHALLENGE” Preparing K-16 Students for Global Competitiveness in the 21st Century, Sept. 11-13 Conference, Atlanta GA

Marsh, N. A., & Bishop G. A. (1994). The St. Catherines Sea Turtle Program: Modeling Effective Science Education through Conservation and Research Partnerships, In Sigma Xi, Proceedings of the Forum on Scientists, Educators, and National Standards: Action at the Local Level p,p. 214-215,, April 14-15, 1994 (Atlanta), 245 p.

Bishop, G. A., Vance, R. K., & Meyer, B. K. (2007). Evolution of Emerging Electronic Technologies; St. Catherines Island Sea Turtle Conservation Program, University System of Georgia Rock Eagle Technology Conference, P. 1-11.

Ortiz*, K., Vance, R. K., and Bishop, G. A., 2013, The Impact of Wrack Deposition on St. Catherines Island, Proceedings of the 33rd International Sea Turtle Society Symposium of Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, Baltimore, Maryland, p. 190

Related Publications

Origin and Dynamics of Nearshore Wetlands

Central Georgia Bight, USA, Wetlands,15 pp., DOI 10.1007/s13157-014-0615-1.
Brian K. Meyer & Robert K. Vance & Gale A. Bishop & Daniel M. Deocampo

  • Published Date : 2014
Radiocarbon dates and the genesis of phytogenic near-shore sediments on St. Catherines Island, Georgia.

Environmental Earth Sciences, ISSN: 1866–6280
Rich FJ, Newsom LA, Meyer BK, Vance RK

  • Published Date : 2014
Managing Moving Targets: Identifying and Responding to Sea Turtle Nesting Range Shifts Status of the World’s Sea Turtles, SWOT Report, (9):16-17.

Meyer, B. K., R. K.  Vance, and G. A. Bishop.

  • Published Date : 2014
Rising Seas: Addressing eroding habitats on St. Catherines Island, Georgia (U.S.A.), Status of the World’s Sea Turtles, SWOT Report, (9):18-19.

Meyer, B. K., R. K.  Vance, and G. A. Bishop.

  • Published Date : 2014
Geomorphology And Facies Relationships Of Cumberland Island, And Their Relationships To The Georgia Barrier Islands, Southeastern Geological Society 2014 Fieldtrip to Cumberland Island, Ga., 49 p.

Rich, F.J., Gale Bishop, Fredric Pirkle, and B. K. Meyer

  • Published Date : 2014
Inquilinism of a baculite by a dynomenid crab from the Upper Cretaceous of South Dakota, USA, American Museum of Natural History, Novitates (3818): 1-16.

Neil H. Landman1, René H.B. Fraaije2, Susan M. Klofak1, Neal L. Larson3, Gale A. Bishop1, and Isabelle Kruta1.

  • Published Date : 2014
Heavy Mineral Deposits of the Fox Hills Formation Located Near Limon, Colorado, Technical Papers, Mining Engineering, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (U.S.), 64(3): 47-57.

Pirkle, F. L., G. A. Bishop, W. A. Pirkle, and N. W. Stouffer.

  • Published Date : 2012

Geological Society of America Special Papers, 493;17-36 doi: 10.1130/2012.2493(02).
Mervin J. Bartholomew and Fredrick J. Rich

  • Published Date : 2012
Vibracores and vibracore transects: constraining the geological and cultural history of St. Catherines Island.

H. B. Rollins, and D.H., Thomas, (eds), Geoarchaeology of St. Catherines Island, Ga., American Museum of Natural History Anthropological Papers, 94: 79-98.
Bishop, G.A., D.H. Thomas, B.K. Sanger, , M. C. , Meyer, R. K., Booth, R. K.,  Vance, F.J. Rich, Potter, D. B., and Keith-Lucas, T.. 2011. Chapter 10.

  • Published Date : 2011
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