Every two years, the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative hosts an Ocean Literacy Summit; a day in which individuals gather together to learn new ways to spread knowledge about the ocean to their local communities. This November, the Ocean Literacy Summit was held at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, Maine. The theme this year was Ocean Literacy Principle 3: the ocean is a major influence on weather and the climate.
Dr. Andy Pershing opened the event with a relevant keynote addressing what the warming of the Gulf of Maine means for everyone, especially those of us who live around its waters. The two sessions of lightning talks—timed five-minute talks with 10 slides automatically advancing every 30 seconds—were as invigorating as they were informative. The panel on climate change education, moderated by Ari Daniel, was encouraging to everyone in the audience.
This year’s Summit had two additional new events. Interspersed throughout the day, participants could speak with educators at the Marine Education Fair. To close the Summit, participants were encouraged to sit and speak with presenters about the topics that intrigued them the most at the Concluding Café.
For those who could join earlier, additional activities were held the day before the Summit. The National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation held an insightful workshop on how to empower people with information on climate change. Dr. Bob Chen from the University of Massachusetts, Boston held a Broader Impacts workshop showing individuals different ways to reach their audiences. During the evening, the Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association hosted the welcome reception at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, introducing Summit participants to Peterson Toscano, a comedian with an ability to shed some humorous light on the heavy topic of climate change.
Throughout the Summit, marine scientists shared their latest findings while educators shared how they teach about climate change. Participants were encouraged to share their own insights during the Summit on social media with the event hashtag #OLSummit16. All posts can be viewed on Storify here >
- Elaine Brewer, NMEA Communications Pod and Social Media Chair