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September 27, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Marine Consortium changes name

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. - The Marine Science Consortium, a non-profit environmental learning center and field station located on the eastern shore of Virginia of which Slippery Rock University is a supporting partner, is changing its name. As of, Oct. 1, the facility will be known as the "Chincoteague Bay Field Station."

"It's a big deal for any organization to go through a name change," said Amber Parker, executive director, "and even more so for an organization with 45 years of history. We wouldn't undertake such a radical change without really good reason."

SRU offers a number of summer programs at the facility under the direction of Simon Beeching, SRU biology professor. SRU's programs at the field station also involve geology, chemistry and physics majors. SRU courses at the facility are related to the marine sciences, including marine biology, physical and chemical oceanography, marine geology, field methods, and other special courses during the summer.

The Marine Science Consortium has grown over its lifetime, but the last five years it has seen amazing growth and evolution, Parker said. Stemming from a $15 million campus revitalization project, the organization also revitalized its programs and created many new multi-disciplined educational opportunities for all ages and learning levels.

The modern campus, excellent partnerships and a growing research and education program have added new disciplines and expanded the scope of the educational program to include the arts, humanities, sciences, technologies and trend-setting educational methods. Currently, 10 of the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities are consortium members.

"In light of all these changes, we realized that the name 'Marine Science Consortium' no longer fully represents all of our programs, resources and abilities," Parker said.

With that in mind, and along with representatives from its key stakeholders, the Marine Science Consortium conducted a comprehensive name and brand review process resulting in selection of the new Chincoteague Bay Field Station name.

Parker said the name was chosen because it represents the true nature of the organization's field-based programs and hands-on methods, illustrates their academic nature, as well as provides instant recognition of the geographic location.

The new logo includes a black-necked stilt, which is a charismatic bird found in the high marsh areas of Chincoteague Bay. The stilt, as a long-legged wader represents the Chincoteague Bay Field Station's work on water and land.

"I know that a name change always takes some time to get used to, particularly when it involves an organization with our length of history," Parker said. "I hope everyone will help us as we move forward with our new identity. Know, however, that it really is just a name change. Our mission, programs and culture will remain the same. I am hopeful that, with this change, we will be able to educate even more people about our unique coastal environments."

Since 1965, the consortium has educated and inspired thousands of children, youth and adults about the marine and coastal ecosystems along the Mid-Atlantic Region through place-based, hands-on experiences.

The Marine Science Consortium is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, residential environmental learning center based in Wallops Island, Va.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.