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#WeAreNMEA - #SciArt through Diaphonization with Leann Winn

Posted By Leann Winn, Monday, January 21, 2019

Leann WinnLeann Winn

Upper School Science Faculty

Trevor Day School
New York, NY

It is my deeply held belief as a scientist that one continues to pursue knowledge and experience in their field of study. While doing just that, an unexpected journey presented itself.

It started back in 2017 when I accepted a position at Trevor Day School. The school was highly interested in adding Marine Science to their course offerings and who better to develop the curriculum than someone with that as their forte.

In the summer of 2018, an opportunity for professional development took me to the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories. Here, I participated in the Fish Biomechanics course where I learned about clearing and staining under the direction of Dr. Adam Summers.

Example of Alcian blue (Photo credit: Adam Summers)Example of Alizarin red (Photo credit: Andie Hernandez)

Let me provide you with a quick overview. Clearing and staining is a chemical process also known as diaphonization used for comparative anatomy. This process can be used on small vertebrate specimen after being chemically fixed to keep from rotting. Between the Alcian blue and Alizarin red staining stages, Trypsin is used to break down organs and major tissues. Yet, the collagen remains in order to hold the specimen together. Following these stages, the specimen can be preserved in glycerin in order to analyze the bony and cartilage attachments, collect vertebral measurements, and photograph for further investigation.

Longnose skate (Raja rhina) after clearing and staining processUsing a Longnose skate (Raja rhina), my now dear friend, Andie Hernandez guided me through this process. Andie is a Master’s student in the Florida Atlantic Biomechanics Lab under the direction of Dr. Marianne Porter. It was awe inspiring to see how the skate turned out.

As the summer came to an end, we discovered the photograph had circulated throughout social media and caught the attention of some fellow K-12 educators. Given that interest, Andie offered to do a Google Hangout with me to explain how it worked for Sharks4Kids. Following this, one of my seniors, whose passion is photography, asked if they could learn the process. Furthermore, multiple students were simply drawn to and curious about the specimen on my desk. I had planned on integrating what I learned within the course to my curriculum, but could not have predicted that it would gain such momentum in my school.

As the semester continued, my department head, Jeff, patiently listened as I processed my ideas out loud. As the year commenced, we decided to make this the 10th grade coordinated science final project. What a great application of Biochemistry! More recently, I began to consider if we could make this an interdisciplinary project and include the art department. The resulting product could go beyond the act of compiling a photograph and branch out into other artistic media. We just went from STEM to STEAM!

Presently, we are working out the details. Stay tuned for updates!

Photo captions (clockwise from top left):

Example of Alcian blue (Photo credit: Adam Summers)
Example of Alizarin red (Photo credit: Andie Hernandez)
Longnose skate (Raja rhina) after clearing and staining process

Connect with Leann:

Email icon
Twitter logo @JrzyShark
Instagram logo @JrzyShark

Tags:  WeAreNMEA 

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2019 Webinar Series - Curiosity to Careers: Engaging People of Color in STEM

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Thursday, January 17, 2019

NMEA presents the first in our 2019 Webinar Series:

Curiosity to Careers: Engaging People of Color in STEM

Dr. Dijanna Figueroa
Friday, February 8th at 4PM Pacific/7PM Eastern

In this webinar we will explore

  1. The stories of people of color in STEM
  2. Developing and implementing strategies for engaging and retaining students of color in STEM
  3. Using the power of curiosity, storytelling, and mentorship to teach science to diverse audiences

Watch the recorded webinar here!

Dijanna FigueroaDijanna Figueroa has made a career of exploring the mysteries of the deep. She was featured in James Cameron’s documentary Aliens of the Deep, which follows Cameron and NASA scientists as they explore the some of the deepest parts of the ocean and learn about the unique life forms that inhabit those spaces. Recently, Figueroa has become an advocate for STEAM education—adding art and design to the science, technology, engineering, and math equation. She’s spent more than a decade teaching STEAM to grades K–8 in the greater Los Angeles area, formerly served as global director of the National Geographic Society’s Green STEAM program, and has advisory roles with many STEAM nonprofits. She was recently featured on MTV’s Women Crush Wednesdays STEM series. She leads a middle school science program that teaches students how to fly drones, scuba dive and build underwater robots. If that isn’t enough, Figueroa is the director the Lucas Scholars STEM program, a community based social justice and equity program designed to engage young people in science, engineering, design and art.

Tags:  expanding audiences  STEM  webinar 

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#WeAreNMEA Guest Blog - International Ocean Literacy Survey Version 4

Posted By Craig Strang, Sunday, January 13, 2019

Craig Strang

Associate Director

Lawrence Hall of Science
Berkeley, CA

A bunch of us Ocean Literacy-types launched the International Ocean Literacy Survey Version 4 last week! Now we need your help to get as many 15-17 year old students as possible to take the survey! We are so excited that this huge volunteer, international effort is moving forward to the next level.

Three years ago, one of my Lawrence Hall of Science psychometrician colleagues, Mac Cannady, gave a presentation at the EMSEA Conference in Crete about some incomplete work we had done several years before through COSEE California to begin development of an evaluation instrument that might measure levels of Ocean Literacy. We were surprised that poor Mac was deluged with questions, and then had people approaching him throughout the conference, saying how much they needed such an instrument, and how they would gladly contribute to its development if an organization like the Hall would lead the effort. They all agreed that the Survey should be based on "Ocean Literacy: The essential principles of ocean sciences for learners of all ages" and "The Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence for Grades K-12." Amazing that our work here in the US to define Ocean Literacy is finding value in countries like Bangladesh, Taiwan, Sweden, Japan...

We didn't have a penny in the bank for the project, but we got swept up and inspired by the enthusiasm of our colleagues and decided to give it a try. Three years later, we think we are very close having a finished survey instrument that will be community developed, open-source and freely available to any organization, practitioner or researcher. Version 2 was translated into 17 languages and tested in 24 countries. Almost 7,000 students participated. It was the largest survey of Ocean Literacy ever conducted! Version 4 has been translated into 12 languages—we'll see how many countries and how many students we can recruit to use it!

Having a common instrument that can be used anywhere in the world is a huge benefit to our entire community, and will allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of various programs, establish baselines of Ocean Literacy in various communities and measure growth in Ocean Literacy over time. We hope that the International Ocean Literacy Survey will become an essential component of the Ocean Literacy Framework along with the Principles and Concepts, the Scope and Sequence, and the Ocean Literacy/NGSS Alignment document.

NMEA has been a leader in the Ocean Literacy Campaign in US and on other continents. We can all be proud of that. When you pay your membership dues, you get a newsletter and a journal, but you're also supporting the spread of Ocean Literacy around the world.

You should have seen information on Scuttlebutt and other list serves about the International Ocean Literacy Survey V4 field test. If you haven't, you can find everything you need to know at Please give the survey to students 15-17 years old and distribute the information to other educators who have access to students. Thanks in advance for your help!

Connect with Craig:

Email icon
Twitter logo @CraigStrang2
Instagram logo @ccstrang

Tags:  Ocean Literacy  WeAreNMEA 

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#WeAreNMEA - George Matsumoto

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Thursday, January 3, 2019

George MatsumotoGeorge Matsumoto

Senior Education and Research Specialist

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Moss Landing, CA

As a long time member of NMEA and former board member, I am very pleased to be able to share my enthusiasm for the ocean with you. I've been diving since college and still use SCUBA for research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), although we usually focus on the deep sea environment. I'm fortunate to be able to work with the Monterey Bay Aquarium as well as teach as a local community college, Monterey Peninsula College. For the past few years, I've been helping to run a unique educator professional development workshop called EARTH ( but we are retooling the workshop this year - stay tuned to see what develops. MBARI also runs an internship program that is open to educators. My wife was an educator for over twenty years and now, in her 'retirement', is busier than ever working with Our Little Roses, a school for girls in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

As 2019 begins, our ocean is faced with some extreme challenges and I look forward to working with you to help stem the flow of misinformation and better inform our future/students.

Connect with George:

Email icon
Twitter logo @george_mage

Tags:  WeAreNMEA 

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Check your inbox for our December 2018 newsletter

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Wednesday, December 19, 2018

December Newsletter

Our December 2018 newsletter is out!

It features our annual appeal from our president, Meg Marrero, updates about the NMEA19 conference in NH, inspiration for blue-green giving, and announcements from our chapters and committees, as well as other news items and reminders!

Didn't see it in your inbox? No worries, you can access it here! In order to ensure that you receive future mailings, make sure that your current contact email is listed in your NMEA profile, or sign-up for our email list here >

Tags:  newsletter 

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Blue-Green Giving

Posted By Conservation Committee, Monday, December 17, 2018

If you are looking for a way to be “blue-green” this holiday season, consider sustainable giving!  With the numerous options for the conservation minded individual these days, deciding on what to purchase can be tricky.  Not to mention, pricey.  Why not put your creative talents to the test and make something yourself?  If you are saying, “I’m not crafty, this isn’t going to happen”, let me just be the first to say “Give it a try, it’s easier than you think.”  I’ve been witness to those with the not-so-crafty thumb do exceptionally well and enjoy it at the same time.  So this holiday season let the good times roll and make sustainable giving a priority!

Check out a few of my favorite sustainable gift ideas!

Make Gift Bows from Magazines

Tutorial via Condo Blues

DIY Bows

Make A No Sew T-Shirt Tote Bag

Tutorial via Mommypotamus

DIY Tote Bag

Crayon Melt Glass Ornaments

Tutorial via Instructables

DIY Ornaments

Homemade Aromatherapy Candles

Tutorial via The Healthy Maven

Homemade Aromatherapy Candles

Vintage Scarf Eye Pillows

Tutorial via Sadie Seasongoods

DIY Eye Pillows

Homemade Toothpaste

Tutorial via Don't Waste the Crumbs

Homemade Toothpaste

DIY Photo Coasters

Tutorial via Just a Little About Nothing

DIY Photo Coasters

Thrift Store Sweater Pillow Covers

Tutorial via Live from Julie's House

Thrift Store Sweater Pillow Covers

Make Your Own Reusable Food Wrap

Tutorial via Apartment Therapy

Reusable Food Wrap

Happy Holidays,

Heather Segura, Conservation Committee Vice Chair

Tags:  Conservation 

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A Look Back at the 2018 NEOSEC Ocean Literacy Summit

Posted By NMEA Ocean Literacy Committee, Monday, December 17, 2018

What do you say when asked, “What percent of Earth’s surface is the Atlantic Ocean?” The answer: “There’s only ONE OCEAN!” This trivia question was the start to the capstone event of the 2018 summit of the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative (NEOSEC), an organization of more than sixty institutions dedicated to promoting Ocean Literacy in New England. This was the seventh biennial summit which took place in Boston November 15-16, 2018. Recognizing that understanding the ocean is integral to a thriving, resilient, and sustainable region, Ocean Literacy has been identified as a key goal for New England with an emphasis placed on leveraging our extraordinary assets to highlight the vital connections between people and the ocean. Each summit highlights one Essential Principle and its associated Fundamental Concepts. This year, the focus was Principle 2: The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth.

NEOSEC WorkshopDay one of the summit included four half-day workshops at Northeastern University and several local field trips. As leaders of NMEA’s Ocean Literacy Committee, we offered one of the half-day workshops to introduce a new audience to the Ocean Literacy guide; Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence for Grades K–12; and the Ocean Literacy–NGSS Alignment Guides. NMEA Chapters GOMMEA, MME, and SENEME co-sponsored the evening event at the Boston Winery featured a tour, Science Cafe, and reception.

NEOSEC PanelDay two at UMass-Boston began with a keynote by Dr. Jeff Donnelly of WHOI, addressing the consequences of sea level rise for the greater Boston area. A panel discussion on sea level rise, moderated by Ari Daniel, followed the keynote and included speakers with expertise in weather, coastal zone management, education, and coastal ecology and restoration. Attendees then browsed student posters, chatted with exhibitors, and participated in activities at a Science and Education Fair. The Fair included hands-on ideas in the teaching of ocean literacy and encouraged interaction among scientists and educators. The exhibits afforded NMEA and regional chapters the opportunity to introduce attendees to their benefits.

The three afternoon sessions featured a mix of concurrent sessions featuring both science and education workshops, and lightning talks. All the sessions focused on the concepts of Ocean Literacy Principle 2, such as geochemical cycles, sea level, erosion, carbon cycling, or physical structure and landforms of the coast.

Sarah Schoedinger and Diana PayneThere was also a concerted effort to focus on the intersection of art and science at this summit, seeking ways that art can make science more accessible to a variety if audiences. One of the afternoon lightning talks featured seaweed art and science. The summit concluded with an art show and reception. The next NEOSEC summit will be in 2020 and we hope you’ll join us. If you are interested in offering an Ocean Literacy workshop in your region, contact us.

So about that trivia question…the MC quickly recovered and revised the question to: “What percent of Earth’s surface is the Atlantic Ocean basin.” The answer they were looking for was 20%.

Diana Payne,
Sarah Schoedinger,
Catherine Halversen,

Tags:  Ocean Literacy 

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Support Marine & Aquatic Education #OneDropAtATime

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Friday, November 30, 2018
Giving Tuesday Banner

Dear NMEA supporters,

As ocean lovers we know that Earth’s largest feature needs our help. Waters are warming, plastics are infiltrating, and populations are shifting.

The work that we do in support of our mission, “making known the world of water,” is even more critical as we face these challenges.

Like the ocean, NMEA has changed in recent years, and our influence around the Blue Planet has expanded. Our sector of youth members, champions of our ocean future, has grown exponentially, and these young leaders have attended our youth conferences and special webinars. At our annual conferences, Traditional Knowledge practitioners have shared their unique perspectives, with impressive artistic and cultural flair, while describing how First Nations communities have been particularly affected by global changes. Through our Expanding Audiences program, we have supported educators who represent or work with communities traditionally underrepresented in marine science, and our NMEA Board of Directors has participated in diversity training to learn how to broaden our culture of inclusivity.

Perhaps most visible is NMEA’s influence in the international community. Our annual conferences have welcomed marine educators from six continents (no penguin members yet as far as I know!), and our organization has provided impetus and support for marine education networks to form and flourish around the globe. The ocean literacy movement, of which NMEA has always been a lead partner, has spread worldwide, and ocean literacy is even explicitly mentioned in the charter for the United Nations’ Decade of the Ocean.

Although all of these accomplishments should be celebrated, there is still work to be done. With your support, donations to this year’s Annual Appeal will extend our influence in places and spaces where we have not been before. Our vision for change includes new initiatives in several areas. For example, in 2019, we seek to have a refreshed website that better reflects our activities and values and highlights the work that we do as an organization. We hope to offer more travel support to members within the United States, as well as leaders coming from developing nations. A redesign of our Current journal will ensure a broader readership and more up-to-date features. A webinar series will connect our youth members with professionals in a variety of marine science careers, showcase the importance of Traditional Knowledge for ocean conservation, and demonstrate the diversity of our members. Through conferences, summits, publications, and digital tools, we will share the principles and practices of ocean literacy with new audiences.

Our organization is dependent upon memberships and donations. We need your help to make these ideas come to fruition.

So, on this Giving Tuesday, and in this season of giving, we ask you to support our efforts through a donation of any amount in order to meet these goals. Visit to make your tax-deductible donation to our Annual Appeal. Together we can make a difference, one drop at a time.


Meghan E. Marrero, EdD
National Marine Educators Association 2018-19

Tags:  annual fund  fundraising 

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Check your inbox for our summer newsletter

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Summer Newsletter

Our summer newsletter is out!

It features a message from our new president, Meg Marrero, plus information about our NMEA Expanding Audience and Traditional Knowledge scholarship winners for 2018. It also highlights the latest issue of our journal, Current, a wrap-up of the NMEA18 conference in Long Beach and information about the 2019 conference in New Hampshire, as well as other news items and reminders! 

Didn't see it in your inbox? No worries, you can access it here, and update your contact email or sign-up for future mailings here >

Tags:  newsletter 

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Traditional Ecological Knowledge at NMEA18: Knowing Where We Come From

Posted By Linda Chilton, Saturday, September 1, 2018

Chandra LedgesogHow often do we think of who we are, who formed our foundation and what our connections are when we introduce ourselves to someone new?  Chandra Ledgesog opened many eyes and challenged us all to think more deeply when she presented her session, "Hofagie wa’gey: Integration of Traditional Knowledge of Ulithi Atoll" at NMEA 2018 as a representative for the traditional knowledge group. It is valuable in many ways to connect where you come from to where you are going.  

Chandra’s illustration of how traditional knowledge has helped her community in being resilient both in the past and going forward provide valuable lessons for all of us.  They have always needed to manage life in an area that is highly saline at one meter above sea level and continue to deal with impacts from WWII with leaking abandoned artillery on their atoll. In the present, impacts of climate change provide significant challenges with increased water temperatures resulting in both coral bleaching and expansion of a coral that doesn’t provide fish habitat.  The resulting decline in fisheries stocks is just one of many challenges they must face.  Added to that is increased intensity of tropical typhoons and drought conditions much of the year.  

Communities have moved homes inland, yet they find themselves challenged to keep pace with coastal erosion.  Chandra’s people are strong, resilient people who have faced many changes.  Relationships within the archipelago include cultural exchanges between those on high islands and low islands, thus there are places to go with inundation from the sea or storms. 

Ulithi AtollOften times scientists come to communities to impart their knowledge and study the people before departing, only taking.  Chandra’s community has built relationships with biologists from different atolls as well as different regions.  This takes time and trust building but in doing so it creates opportunities to grow and work together, sharing knowledge and understanding of what is happening. Their work together has resulted in the growth of marine protected areas and strategies for monitoring fish populations.  The researchers who come with respect for culture and customs, come to learn, develop relationships and work together on joint efforts.  These partnerships have resulted in both cultural exchanges and sharing science and science practices.    

While historically traditional knowledge (culture, dance, song and more) was passed down in everyday life including cooking with grandmothers, currently there are many other interests for youth and there have been gaps in the exchange of knowledge and skills which were held closely and highly valued.  The decrease in valuing of these skills risks the loss of knowledge.  Youth often find it a challenge to pursue college degrees, to become scientists and policy makers with the struggle of both language and culture.  It is through Chandra’s studies and work that she and others are ensuring that traditional knowledge continues to be treasured and shared. Her presentation helped all of us to see that integrating traditional knowledge into future conservation plans is critical for success and doing so requires a holistic approach. 

Photo information:

  1. Chandra Ledgesog presenting at NMEA18
  2. Ulithi Atoll c. 1992, from NOAA's Small World Collection, photographer: Mr. Ben Mieremet

Tags:  NMEA18 

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