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NMEA History Overview at NMEA16

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Monday, October 3, 2016

NMEA past president Mike Spranger provided this overview of our organization's history during a session at the 2016 annual conference in Orlando, Fla. View the presentation below and access the full PowerPoint presentation here > 

Tags:  history 

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Guest Blog by Géraldine Fauville: International ocean literacy survey expands to 16 languages

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Thursday, September 1, 2016

In a blog post last May, we introduced the first steps toward creating an International Ocean Literacy Survey. In this post, we will provide an update, and once again invite you join this 16 language, collaborative effort to measure our progress in building global ocean literacy. If you have access to 16-18 year old students, you can play a critical role in Round 2 of this spirited and entirely volunteer effort. Here is the link to provide to your students > 

Some Background: At the 2015 European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA)  Conference in Crete many of us discussed the urgent need to measure progress in the development of ocean literacy in our respective countries, regions, and even programs. We agreed to work together as a community to develop a common, widely accepted instrument to measure ocean literacy. The Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Gothenburg; and members of the EMSEA community took the lead on this unfunded, grassroots project by contributing survey items and gathering many others from marine educators throughout Europe and the U.S. who generously shared their intellectual property for this community effort. We edited and assembled the items into a comprehensive survey of ocean literacy, which was administered to 415 students last June in our first field test. Now we are ready for Round 2 of testing!

The National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) and Asian Marine Educators Association (AMEA), and Canadian Network of Ocean Educators (CaNOE) are now officially supporting and involved in the development of the project. Partners around the world volunteered to contribute additional items and to translate the survey into 16 languages. This version of the survey, which includes items measuring ocean knowledge and marine environmental attitudes, is now being disseminated through the networks of AMEA, CaNOE, EMSEA, NMEA and Scientix. It takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Now we need your help. We need as many 16-18 year olds as possible, all around the world, to take the survey to help us test and improve it.

Here is what you can do:

If you are a high school teacher (any subject) or if you have access to any children ages 16-18, please give this survey to your students to complete online as soon as possible. Here is the link >

We need as many responses as possible before September 15, 2016. If your students respond by then, the data will be analyzed and used in a presentation at the 2016 EMSEA conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in October. Responses after September 15 will still be used, and we need as many responses as possible, regardless of the date.

If you are not a high school teacher, please contact the teachers you know and ask them to give this survey to their students. Feel free to use or link to this post when you ask teachers for their help.

Please be sure to send us an email telling us that you are helping so that we can acknowledge you in all future publications.

What happens with the data? Data from this second field test will be analyzed centrally at Lawrence Hall of Science, and partners will be able to access their own data. Once the data are analyzed we will eliminate some questions that do not test well, and add in (and translate) new ones contributed by the community. We will continue testing the survey until we are satisfied that we have a truly valid and reliable, open-source, comprehensive international ocean literacy survey that can be freely used by educators in around the world.

Here is the inspiring list of languages that are being used to administer the International Ocean Literacy Survey:

  • Catalan
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Croatian
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Norwegian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish

Arabic and Romanian will be added in the next round of testing. If you do not find your native language in the list above, please contact us if you are interested in helping us with additional translations.

Thanks so much for your help! Please contact us with comments or suggestions.

Mac Cannady, Lawrence Hall of Science
Géraldine Fauville, University of Gothenburg and EMSEA Board of Directors, NMEA Board of Directors
Craig Strang, Lawrence Hall of Science and Chair, NMEA Ocean Literacy Committee

Tags:  international  Ocean Literacy  survey 

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Ocean Leaders send letter to Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump: What will you do as President for the Blue in our Red, White and Blue?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 23, 2016
US FlagThis past week a letter went out to campaign representatives for Secretary Hillary Clinton and Mr. Donald Trump from 115 ocean leaders in business, science, conservation, education and other fields seeking clarification on what they will do if elected President to protect our public seas, ocean economy and maritime security. The aim is to get a response by early September on how the next President will act on key coastal and ocean issues.

These include the fight against illegal pirate fishing, establishment of marine protected areas – like National Parks in the sea - and coastal adaptation to sea level rise and other climate challenges.

The letter also calls for appropriate levels of funding for frontline agencies involved in exploration, conservation and maritime law-enforcement including the U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Ocean leaders who’ve signed this letter include CEOs of seafood and other businesses, directors of major science labs, aquariums and diver organizations, well known ocean explorers, authors, artists, marine conservationists, members of Congress and former heads of EPA and NOAA. As a diverse organization representing marine & aquatic educators, we joined in signing on behalf of our educator members.

For more information on the ocean letter feel free to contact David Helvarg, Executive Director Blue Frontier.

Also feel free to contact the Clinton and Trump campaigns directly. Their responses have been respectfully requested by September 7.

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Guest Blog by Martha Papathanassiou: NMEA15 in Rhode Island - My first time at NMEA

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Thursday, August 18, 2016
Having participated in several conferences about marine science education and ocean literacy in Europe, it was time to tread on new ground. I remember when I met Meghan Marrero, in Sweden, during another work meeting about ocean literacy and the link between the U.S. and Europe. She was later to become my nominator for the Expanded Audiences Audience Scholarship, which I successfully received in May 2015. It was going to be the first time I would attend the Holy Grail of Conferences (for me): the annual NMEA conference in Rhode Island.

Beyond Greece, my work involved networking with marine science educators in Europe, the Transatlantic Ocean Literacy Panel and marine educators throughout the United States and beyond and to experience best practices for marine education and communication, which I could bring to my work in Europe and share through my professional networks.
NMEA 2015 logo
The timing of the annual NMEA conference was also pretty critical: a few months after the conference, I was putting on a conference of my own: the European Marine Science Education Association (EMSEA) conference, held in Crete. As the Chair of the EMSEA15 Conference, it was important for me to experience an NMEA conference, as EMSEA conferences have largely been based on lessons learned from NMEA.

During the 2015 conference in Newport, I met the conference organizers, I had the opportunity to observe how a successful conference is run, got some tips and fresh ideas on how these tips could be applied to the conference I was responsible for, while one of the ideas stuck with me in the long term and the EMSEA community can be thankful for it now: the auction. It was one of the highlights of the conference for me and it was an idea I later suggested to the EMSEA15 Organizing Committee, as we often hear about our colleagues who are not able to join us in these fruitful conferences due to the increased registration fees and travelling costs. For this reason, we decided to hold the first ever EMSEA fundraising event, in order to raise money for a scholarship for the upcoming EMSEA16 Conference, to be held in Belfast, in October. The event was an Aquarium Bingo, which took place right after the end of the conference. It also served the purpose of building community, getting to know colleagues and sharing fun activities with them while also raising money for an important cause.
EMSEA 2015 logo
The Aquarium Bingo was a successful and fun event, which allowed us to raise more than 600 euros for two bursaries, each worth 300 euros. The money will be used to cover the registration fees of individuals who are not usually able to attend the conference. The event was organized with the help of the HCMR’s Aquarium staff, who have long and solid experience in similar events. Participants paid a small fee to participate in the bingo and then entered the Aquarium in order to identify the various animals they saw in the photographs they had been handed out. Once all animals were identified, the game came to an end. The feedback from the delegates was very positive and everyone was happy to participate in an event held for a good cause. Personally, I think it was probably one of the most important events of the EMSEA15 Conference and I hope it will become a tradition in the coming years at EMSEA conferences. For this, I can only thank NMEA for inspiring me to set up this event.

Being at NMEA15, I had the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of NMEA members and share my ideas about how ocean literacy has spread in Greece and the Mediterranean region, as well as throughout Europe.

EMSEA 2015The opportunity to present the 2015 EMSEA Conference was highly valuable to me and EMSEA overall, as it is the first time that the EMSEA conference is moving to the south of Europe and it is really important to gain visibility, promote the conference as much as possible and personally invite members of NMEA to attend.

More importantly though, I think my experience can only be measured in the wealth of new friendships and relations that were built during those few days. Personally, and professionally, the benefit of attending such a conference cannot be described in words. I am ever so thankful to have attended NMEA, meet so many education professionals from around the world, while I was thrilled to see my new friends and colleagues at EMSEA15.

Tags:  conference; guest blog  EMSEA 

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Guest Blog by David Bader: Vaquita, Conservation #4aPorpoise

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Vaquita, Conservation #4aPorpoise

In 2008 the Baiji river dolphin, found only in China, was declared extinct. Now, less than a decade later another cetacean faces extinction, the Mexican vaquita porpoise. Many people have never heard of either of these animals and as marine educators we have an opportunity to share knowledge of this critical issue, a first step in supporting conservation efforts that may save the vaquita and perhaps several other cetaceans.

At the Aquarium of the Pacific we are working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction program which hopes to leverage the resources and reach of zoos and aquariums across the country on critical animal conservation issues. Leading the charge in public outreach for the Vaquita SAFE program, the Aquarium of the Pacific is helping to coordinate messaging and outreach among dozens of organizations and institutions. As a first step, we have gathered the critical resources, images, graphics and fact sheets, and made them free to access and use for anyone wanting to participate. These will be made available on the AZA Vaquita SAFE page in the coming months.

The Vaquita Porpoise is found only in small region of the Northern Gulf of Mexico, an area about the size of Rhode Island. Today less than 60 remain within this range. Vaquita have suffered for decades, accidentally caught and killed in gillnets targeting fish and shrimp. Much of the shrimp in past years was exported legally into Southern California fish markets. Today, Mexico has banned fishing within the vaquita range in an effort to save the remaining population. However, illegal fishing is rampant and largely unchecked. Fisherman, who have little money or education, are turning to illegal fishing for a fish called the totoaba.  Also endangered, the totoaba is caught for its swimbladder, called fish maw in china.  One large swimbladder from a totoaba can fetch more than $10,000 in China and this is proving to be an irresistible lure for fishermen who have spent more than a year without fishing and a steady income.

Vaquita, Conservation #4aPorpoiseThe key to vaquita species survival is twofold. First, Mexico must step up enforcement of laws aimed at protecting the vaquita. Second, we must maintain pressure on both our government and the Mexican government to make sure everything is done to keep the vaquita from going extinct. This is how NMEA members can become heroes in the story of the vaquita. Please join the AZA and the Aquarium of the Pacific in spreading the word about the vaquita. Share and follow the hashtag #4aPorpoise on social media. Talk to your students, friends and audiences about the situation. And lastly, support sustainable seafood practices. While the vaquita is in a dire situation, the Hectors Dolphin, Irrawaddy Dolphin, and Finless Porpoise face similar threats and could soon be in the same position if we don’t address the issues of overfishing and bycatch.

- David Bader, NMEA President-elect
Director of Education, Aquarium of the Pacific

Watch David speak on this topic for the Aquarium of the Pacific via Facebook Live >>

Tags:  guest blog; conservation 

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Live broadcasts from our NMEA 2016 Conference

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Friday, July 15, 2016

We live-streamed a few speakers and our rolling shark panel via Facebook Live during our annual conference in Orlando, Fla., this summer. Did you miss them? Or do you want to see them again? Access them below! 

Tags:  conference  NMEA16 

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Check your inbox for our summer newsletter

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Tuesday, June 28, 2016
2016 Summer newsletter


Our summer newsletter is out!

It highlights the kick-off of our annual NMEA 2016 conference in Orlando, Fla., the summer issue of our journal, Current, and some exciting updates on what a few of our members and chapters have been up to! 

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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Guest Blog by Linda Chilton: Traditional knowledge opportunity at NMEA 2016

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Monday, June 27, 2016

Have you ever wondered:

    * How can we get people to care about the Everglades (or our own natural spaces) when they haven’t been there?

    * How can we advocate for giving water the respect it deserves?

Then make sure to attend "A Full Spectrum Approach to Everglades Activism by Love the Everglades Movement" on Tuesday, June 28, from 1:30 – 2:15 p.m. in Oceans 2, and the Traditional Knowledge and Tribal Reps meeting just before the session from 12:30 – 1:15 pm Oceans 2.

Our presenter, Houston R. Cypress, is a Two-Spirit Poet, Artist, and Activist from the Otter Clan of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. He resides on the Miccosukee Reservation located west of Miami, Fla. He maintains a number of traditional villages located on tree islands scattered throughout Water Conservation Area 3A. This area is known as the historic River of Grass and called by his community KAAHAYATLE, which can be translated as "Shimmering Waters."

Houston is committed to supporting his society of clans by assisting in cultural preservation, environmental protection, community outreach, business development, media & event production, and strengthening sovereignty.

Tags:  NMEA16  TK 

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NMEA members attend School of Rock in Cape Town

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Sunday, June 26, 2016

Several NMEA members were aboard the drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution in Cape Town, South Africa, last month for the School of Rock professional development program, including Sharon Cooper (Program Lead), David C. Wehunt (TEAMS, MAMEA), Lyndsey Manzo (GLEAMS), Lisa Tossey (MAMEA), Kerri Allen (FMSEA), and Linda Chilton (SWMEA).

Check out all that happened on the School of Rock blog, which all participants contributed to, and on a blog Linda maintained for her program. And of you're attending our NMEA 2016 conference in Orlando, learn more about the core drilling science that takes place on the JOIDES Resolution at Sharon's "Core Discoveries, Beneath the Sea!" session on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in Oceans 11! 

School of Rock 2016

School of Rock 2016






School of Rock 2016

School of Rock 2016

Tags:  professional development 

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NMEA 2016 will have a sand AND shell swap!

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Shells Shell and sand swapHave you ever learned about a really cool activity that requires different sands or different shells? Here’s your opportunity to expand your educational resources! 

Have you had someone donate their precious shell collection….but you just don’t have a need for all those shells? Here’s your chance to find them new homes! 

NMEA 2016 conference participants are encouraged to bring extra shells/shell collections and/or sand from their home beach to share (please label the bag or jar of sand with at least the city and state/province/country).

A limited number of small zipper seal bags will be available—please feel free to bring your own film canisters, small jars or baggies to use to "collect” your sand samples. The sand and shell swap will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 30 in the Oceans 3 room at the conference. If you would like to drop off sand or shells ahead of time, you can put them in a tote box under the Florida Sea Grant table in the exhibit area. 

Tags:  conference  NMEA16 

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