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The Ossabaw Island Education Alliance brings colleges and universities to study and learn from the rich heritage found on the 26,000 acres of Ossabaw Island. The Education Alliance fosters exceptional educational, cultural and scientific programs and resources for students, teachers, researchers in science, ecology, and history, and other educators engaged in active learning experiences. Its aim is to make Ossabaw Island a nationally recognized education program focusing on many disciplines.

In 2006 the Ossabaw Island Education Alliance established wireless internet connectivity between the island and the mainland, and in 2008-2009 facilitated development of the Barrier Island Observatory, funded by Georgia Power, a network of sensors and webcams to transmit real-time science data from Ossabaw Island to classrooms, homes and labs around the world.

In 2007, Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) in Savannah, Georgia received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation. With the grant, AASU developed OssaBEST, a three year project teaching computer technology to local middle and high school students and teachers who conduct research on Ossabaw Island and transmit data through the Observatory. The Education Alliance serves as a key partner in the OssaBEST effort, working with AASU faculty to develop the program, sponsoring the grant application and providing matching in-kind support, and representing the Barrier Island Observatory and the Georgia Board of Regents on the NSF grant team.

The Alliance is leading an initiative to recover and preserve the nearly 300 year history of African Americans who lived as enslaved people and freedmen on Ossabaw and on the Georgia coast. In 2008, 450 historians and lay people from 18 states and 3 foreign countries attended a history symposium sponsored by the Alliance on African Americans in the Georgia lowcountry, the first of its kind. The University of Georgia Press recently published a book from the original research presented at this event.

In 2009, the Education Alliance was the leader in securing a $40,000 grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Beginning in early 2010, the one-year-long planning grant brings together a team of nationally renowned experts in American history, Gullah history and culture, historic and natural site interpretation, archeology, oral history research, archival research and museum studies.

The team members are conducting original research and reviewing existing research on African American families that lived and worked on Ossabaw Island from the 1700’s through 1900, as enslaved people and freedmen. From this effort, the Ossabaw Island Foundation is developing a plan to share with the public the untold stories of these people, through on site information, expanded interpretation with existing and new groups of visitors, and via the internet.

For more information on The Ossabaw Island Education Alliance, contact Paul Pressly, Director, at


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The Education Alliance