Founded in 1972 as the State of Alabama’s marine education and research institute, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is an award-winning facility that offers engaging and educational programs to everyone from kindergarten to Ph.D students. Located on 36 acres on Dauphin Island, a barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico, the Sea Lab is staffed by 100 professionals, including a faculty of research scientists and marine educators. During the summer, middle and high school students have the opportunity to attend residential marine science programs. Middle school students attend a 1-week program geared towards hands-on field activities and exploration. Activities include research boat trips, marsh seining, beach walks and forest exploration. High school students may attend a 4-week program with over 150 hours of supervised academic activity and field work. Disciplines range from oceanography to marine ecology to physical science. Off-campus field trips include a snorkeling trip to the nearby Florida Panhandle and a visit to the New Orleans Aquarium. The Sea Lab is a member of the National Marine Educators Association and is a federally-designated Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center. In 2004, Coastal Living Magazine recognized the Sea Lab with its Environmental Education Award.