Jim Wharton is a Professional member of NMEA and director of conservation and education at the Seattle Aquarium.
He is an active member on NMEA committees for Ocean Literacy, Scholarship, and Education Research. He is a member of the Executive Committee for NMEA and participating in the current strategic planning process. He is active in his local chapter, Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators (NAME), and a Life member of Florida Marine Science Educators Association (FMSEA).
We asked him four key questions about his experience with NMEA:
1. Why did you join NMEA?
I joined NMEA in 2004 while playing a small role in the 2004 conference planning effort. I recognized the potential networking benefit, but at the time, my primary motivation was identity-related. I was a marine educator and this was my professional organization. I wanted to be part of a larger movement to create an ocean-literate society and NMEA was the primary actor in this endeavor.
2. How has NMEA helped you achieve your professional goals?
My membership in NMEA and FMSEA (or more accurately, my activity in these organizations) has laid the foundation for much of my professional opportunity and accomplishment since. The professional network I’ve built through conferences and committee work has been integral to earning positions at Mote Marine Laboratory and the Seattle Aquarium, and was crucial to collaborating on major federally-funded marine science projects.
Being part of NMEA puts you in the middle of the most important conversations in our field surrounding ocean literacy, conservation, science education, and broadening participation. It gives you the chance to interact with accomplished professionals doing important work and have your voice heard. It also affords you the opportunity to give back through mentorship and service.
3. What are you most proud of NMEA for accomplishing/influencing?
NMEA has been the primary driver, with the help of many important partners, in the ocean literacy movement. Without their strategic and dedicated efforts over the last decade, ocean science may have evaporated from standards and classrooms altogether. NMEA is the most effective advocate we have for the role of the ocean in science and environmental education.
4. If you had to describe NMEA in three words, what would they be?
Ocean, education, advocate.
Join Jim during our Google Hangout On Air on Wednesday, May 28 at 4 p.m. EST!