The third annual European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) conference was held from September 28 through October 1, 2015, at the CretAquarium in Gournes, Crete. More than 100 people from 22 countries attended this great event. The conference focused on two topics: evaluating actions and methods as well as their impact on diverse audiences, including schools and aquaria; looking ahead into the future and shaping ‘the way forward’ for ocean literacy in Europe and beyond. Workshops were well run and well attended.
Social events included a roof-top ice breaker, and one night later a tour, dinner and traditional Cretan dancing at an open-air museum. Pierre-Yves Cousteau gave an inspiring keynote lecture and, to end the conference, attendees very enthusiastically, and very generously, participated in Aquarium Bingo, as a means of raising scholarship funds for EMSEA 2016.
NMEA was well represented with fifteen members in attendance. Several, including Ivar Babb, Tina Bishop, Evy Copejans, Geraldine Fauville, Susan Haynes, Meg Marrero, Diana Payne, Gail Scowcroft, Craig Strang, Peter Tuddenham, and I, led workshops and/or poster sessions.
An interesting and successful format for sharing information was the Open Space Discussion. Everybody in attendance gathered in one large room and were encouraged to offer topics of discussion by writing them on a sticky note, ‘selling’ the topic to the crowd and choosing a time to lead the talk. Once the topics were posted, attendees could choose one for the first time slot and another for the second time slot. According to the rules, ‘Whoever shows up is the right amount of people for that group and whatever takes place is the only thing that could have happened.’ Personally, I enjoyed the Open Space Discussion about finding international ways of celebrating the 500th anniversary of Magellan’s voyage.
Congratulations to conference chair Martha Papathanassiou, the EMSEA team, the staffs of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research and the CretAquarium for a successful and informative conference. Mark your calendars for the fourth EMSEA conference, scheduled for October 4-7, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
- Robert Rocha, 2015-16 NMEA President