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Guest Blog by Elaine Brewer: Massachusetts Marine Educators hold annual conference

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Last month, the Massachusetts Marine Educators held their annual conference and meeting at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). In a sunny, ocean-side room in the Clark Building on the WHOI Quissett Campus, participants arrived and chatted with exhibitors, including Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Bow Seat Ocean Awareness, and the Museum Institute for Teaching Science.

As the event got underway, attendants were treated to two great keynote speakers. Dr. Ben Harden from Sea Education Association spoke about his research in the Arctic Ocean on where the Gulf Stream ends and other currents begin. He related his experience in using the temperature and salinity driven density gradients that power global ocean circulation, as a teaching tool, and even demonstrated some related classroom activities. Dr. Carla Curran from Savannah State University spoke on how educators can use marine mammals and other charismatic megafauna to drawn on the interest of students, and shared her inspiring experiences as a research scientist who has made K–12 outreach efforts a priority in her career and research program.

After a delicious lunch of soup and sandwiches, participants had many options for learning in the two two afternoon sessions. These activities ranged from classroom demonstrations and discussions to beach field trips and tours, and were led by a variety of MME member organizations including the Northeastern University Marine Science Center, NOAA, WHOI, and the New England Aquarium.

On the guided tour of the R/V Neil Armstrong, participants heard from the second mate and other crew members about the research and daily operations on WHOI’s newest research vessel. A climate education workshop demonstrated how teachers can implement the new Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Standards, while relaying to their students the importance of engineering climate change solutions. In a dolphin necropsy workshop, educators learned how to model a real life marine mammal stranding assessment for implementation as a cross-curricular STEM lab activity.

After a full day of learning, inspiration, and sharing of ideas, conference attendees enjoyed the chance to catch up with old friends and new at the reception held at the Sea Education Association. A huge thank you goes out to Dr. Amy Siuda for chairing the event and to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for hosting the event at the Clark Building on their Quissett Campus.

- Elaine Brewer, MME  

Tags:  MME 

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Guest Blog by Elaine Brewer: Massachusetts Marine Educators co-sponsor annual student marine art contest

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Monday, November 23, 2015

2016 MME student art contestStellwagen Bank is a marine protected area covering over 800 square miles at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay. For hundreds of years, this area has acted as a productive fishing ground, and more recently as a whale watching destination. It has been a National Marine Sanctuary since 1992.

For over a decade, Massachusetts Marine Educators (MME) have co-sponsored the annual Marine Art Contest with Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The contest has been, and still continues to be, a great way for students to get involved with the aquatic world around them. Each year, the contest has a different theme which students depict with their artistic talents. Teachers have incorporated the contest into their curriculum, using it as a way to entice students to become conscious of the world around them.

The theme for 2016’s contest is "Marine biodiversity of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary: Celebrating the amazing ocean creatures of New England’s national marine sanctuary.” Although the theme focuses on Stellwagen Bank, students from all over the world enter their art pieces. Not only do winning students have their artwork displayed throughout New England and in an annual calendar, they can also win prizes!

This contest isn’t just for the classroom. Students can individually send their artwork in as well! The deadline to submit artwork for the 2016 Art Contest is April 29, 2016. If you have any questions, visit the Stellwagen Bank’s Kids Corner, the MME webpage, or contact Anne Smrcina at Best of luck to all those who enter!

View the full contest brochure (PDF) here > 

And check out the 2016 calendar (PDF) for inspiration here > 

Tags:  contest  MME 

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Boston Harbor Educators Conference held at University of Massachusetts Boston

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Thursday, October 22, 2015

This year’s Boston Harbor Educators Conference was held on September 26. It was a spectacular day, full of learning and fun! This annual event—one of two yearly Massachusetts Marine Educators (MME) conferences—was held at University of Massachusetts Boston, which is undergoing a tremendous building expansion. Getting to the university was a challenge, but the day certainly proved worthy of it.

The first speaker was Dr. Greg Skomal from Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, well-known for his commentaries and work with white shark populations, particularly off the Cape Cod coastline. His research was absolutely fascinating, thought provoking, and very well-received; a great way to start the day.

 Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

Hands-on workshops ranging from bird studies, fish ageing, elasmobranch physiology, and tide pool critters, to making drifters and tracking our waste provided opportunities for educators to explore new avenues.

Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference 

Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference Dr. John Mandelman from the New England Aquarium was the afternoon speaker, presenting a comprehensive look on the ‘catch and release’ interactions with sharks and rays and other species. This, too, was a most informative and enlightening talk with much audience interaction.

Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference  

Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

The afternoon featured a trip to Lovell’s Island to actually explore and ‘play in’ the tide pools!

Boston Harbor Educator’s ConferenceIt was a great day and we hope many more will join us next year. We were especially excited to have several new people join MME!

Guest post by Elaine Brewer, MME

Tags:  conference  MME 

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Guest Blog by Carolyn Sheild: 39th Annual MME Conference and Meeting at WHOI

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Thursday, May 28, 2015

The 39th Massachusetts Marine Educators' annual conference and meeting was once again held at the world renown Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) in Woods Hole, Mass., on May 2. This year’s theme was "Adventures with Marine Technology.” Attendees enjoyed listening to stimulating speakers, and many took part in enriching afternoon options.

MME 2015 conference

Dr. James Yoder, Vice President for Academic Programs and Dean at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, welcomed us and gave a WHOI update. Our first speaker, software engineer Gwyneth Packard, spoke about "REMUS AUV’s: Autonomy, Tracking, and Imaging.” She described the range of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) that have been used for a variety of challenging tasks and missions, from examining underwater tunnels to finding plane wreckage on the seafloor. To better understand shark behavior, the REMUS SharkCam has been deployed on several occasions. The footage was fascinating, especially when a shark bit the vehicle tracking it! The use of AUV technology has improved our capacity to attain data and make new discoveries.

The second speaker, Liz Magee, gave an engaging talk entitled "Two Weeks Living Under the Sea: Research and Daily Life on Mission 31.” Liz, who is a diving safety officer at Northeastern University, was an aquanaut who participated on Mission 31 last June with Fabien Cousteau. She spoke about the research scientific divers conducted off the coast of Florida while living underwater in the Aquarius habitat. Being saturated gave divers the unique opportunity to collect two years worth of data in just a few weeks. Intriguing videos illustrated the many aspects of climate change being studied, including sampling coral polyps and giant barrel sponges, as well as collecting zooplankton. Liz knows this adventure was a chance of a lifetime, and we were fortunate to have her share the experience with us.

MME 2015 conference

After a delicious lunch of Roland’s clam chowdah or Joe’s bean soup, participants enjoyed receiving eclectic and sometimes useful door prizes. This year, instead of having an afternoon speaker, the MME Board decided to offer more afternoon field trips and tours. Attendees could choose from five options: the zephyr cruise, a tour of the Marine Biological Laboratories (MBL) Marine Resources Center, an extended WHOI dock tour, a piloting lesson at Nobska Light, or a self guided tour at WHOI’s Ocean Science Exhibit Center.

MME 2015 conference 

It was a beautiful day to be outside, and see more that Woods Hole has to offer. Those who journeyed out on the water were pleased to be able to collect and examine a wide range of organisms. Dock tour participants were thrilled to get the opportunity to go aboard the Knorr, which discovered the Titanic. The tour of the Marine Resources Center excited those interested in seeing a diverse array of organisms. Since the exhibit center had the "shark cam” on display, many attendees took a trip across the street to check out the bite marks! And the new Nobska piloting lesson challenged those who took part to use math and navigation skills while enjoying the scenery. The afternoon concluded with a relaxing social reception at Sea Education Association.

Thanks to all who attended, and to all those who did so much to make this conference run so smoothly. Hope to see you next year!

- Carolyn Sheild, MME Conference Chair

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Guest Blog by Bill Andrake: MME high school science symposium recap

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Thursday, April 30, 2015

For over thirty years, the Massachusetts Marine Educators (MME) chapter have held high school marine science symposia, where high school students and their teachers have an opportunity to hear from speakers and participate in workshop sessions led by scientists, students, educators, and other professionals working in a variety of marine related disciplines

In 2013, after many years of running a single event, MME expanded this program by holding two symposia simultaneously, one on the South Shore of Boston at UMass Dartmouth, as well as an event on the North Shore. This year’s North Shore High School Marine Science Symposium (NSHMSS) was held on March 18 at Salem State University in Salem, Mass. 


The program began with a continental breakfast and welcome from the Salem State Administration and Faculty:  Mary Dunn, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Admissions; Ryan Fisher, Biology Department Chair; and Steve Young, Professor of Geography. Next, students and teachers spent two hours in classrooms and labs for hands-on workshop sessions.

Each student had the opportunity to select and participate in two workshops from the fourteen offered on the program. The sessions engaged students in hands-on activities which covered a wide range of marine related topics. Students were able to explore relevant environmental issues by constructing computer maps of sea level rise as well as perform chemistry experiments to understand ocean acidification.


Through squid and fish dissections, students learned about the fascinating biology of cephalopods and how to determine the age of a fish from its otoliths (ear stones). Techniques for exploring the deep were presented in sessions that mapped shipwrecks and engineered underwater vehicles. Students learned about important ecosystems such as coral reefs and the rocky intertidal and could even play detective as they pieced together the actual skeletons of marine mammals. The 28 workshop presenters included scientists, graduate students, educators, as well as other high school students who shared their projects in ocean stewardship.

Following the workshop sessions, all participants gathered in Veteran’s Memorial Hall for our keynote speaker, Liz Magee, who manages the Three Seas Program and diving operations at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center located in Nahant, Mass. Liz told the story of her two weeks of living and working under the sea as an aquanaut in Fabien Cousteau’s "Mission 31.” She was a part of a team that conducted over one hundred hours of research in 63 feet of water inside and out of the Aquarius Reef Base off the Florida Keys. It was a fascinating adventure and inspirational story and we were so thankful to have Liz share it with all of us.

Following our keynote address the day concluded with a lunch for all the participants and another successful MME event came to a close.

This year’s NSHSMSS was attended by over 150 students and their teachers. Our South Shore event at UMass Dartmouth did not happen this year, however we do plan to hold it in 2016. The High School Marine Science Symposia are events that MME is especially proud to continue to offer as we fulfill our mission which is to support all educators to inspire students of all ages to be stewards of the ocean. In addition, this event may serve as a vehicle for addressing a "Key Focus Area” in the new strategic plan of the National Marine Educators Association to "Engage Youth Leaders.”

More information about our presenters, workshops, and program can be seen by downloading the program >

For more about MME and other events visit their website>

- Bill Andrake, MME Chapter Rep.

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Massachusetts Marine Educators launch new website

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Sunday, January 25, 2015

Look at who has a new website: our Massachusetts Marine Educators (MME) chapter! Their aim was to create a updated and dynamic site that could better showcase all of the wonderful activities and opportunities MME and its members have to offer. 

MME new website design

The site was developed in Wordpress to allow for easy posts and updates by MME's board and  features a dynamic homepage with news, upcoming events, links, and a photo slider.

MME website photo page

The site also includes photo galleries, and allows MME to better manage content and inform the community of thier conferences and opportunities. Check it out here > 

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Guest Blog by Erin Hobbs: Boston Harbor Educators Conference recap

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Thursday, October 2, 2014

What a great Saturday at the Boston Harbor Educators Conference hosted by Massachusetts Marine Educators (MME) at UMass Boston!

Boston Harbor

Phil Colarusso, a diving scientist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, started the day with a great talk discussing the recovery of Boston Harbor. He showed incredible footage of sea life found in the newly improved Boston Harbor and contributed its success to the installation of the Deer Island wastewater treatment facility.

Phil Colarusso, a diving scientist for the EPA

The second speaker of the morning was Marc Albert, Boston Harbor Islands Stewardship Program coordinator. He gave educators an overview of all the major projects and research on the Boston Harbor Island.

Marc Albert, Boston Harbor Islands Stewardship Program coordinator

One thing that struck me during his presentation was the amount of challenges associated with civic engagement. As an educator, I encourage my students to be stewards and there are many individuals that want to help, but how? How do we improve park management and research in a way that includes everyday stewards like myself and my students? This is a question educators throughout the state and country are asking and simultaneously trying to answer.

In addition to the great speakers, there were great snacks and engaging workshops. I personally loved the workshop on citizen science. Loree Griffin Burns presented not only on her series of books, but on many fabulous projects that scientists of all ages could participate in. Loree discussed possible citizen science projects for collecting marine debris, tracking monarchs, frog watch, and more. This is the stuff that gets kids excited and I recommend her books.

Loree Griffin Burns

To top off the beautiful 83 degree Saturday, participants cruised to Thompson Island and toured through Boston Harbor. This was just another spectacular event hosted by MME!

- Erin Hobbs, president, Massachusetts Marine Educators

Tags:  conference  MME 

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