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EMSEA 2014 scholarship available

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Saturday, August 23, 2014

EMSEA 2014 logoInterested in attending the 2014 EMSEA conference in Sweden this October? Great news - a scholarship is available for NMEA members!

Hurry - the deadline to apply is September 2! 

Download the application here >

Tags:  conference  EMSEA 

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It's strategic planning time!

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Friday, August 15, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
2014 Strategic Planning

Have you let us know what you think yet? NMEA's Strategic Planning Wiki will be open until August 29!

We are deep into our strategic planning process that will be our focus for the next three years. We had a lively Visioning Retreat session immediately following our annual conference in July and have been busy talking with members, non-members, advisors, funders, corporate partners and more. 

You are an important part of NMEA and we'd love to know your thoughts. Our strategic planning Wiki will remain open until August 29. Now is your chance to contribute your valuable perspective into the future of NMEA.

Please contact us if you have trouble adding your thoughts to the Wiki.

After the Wiki closes on August 29, we will be working towards completing the plan in October. Stay tuned!

Tags:  strategic planning 

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Meet our 2014 Honorary Member, Dr. Rosanne Fortner

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Honorary membership is the highest honor bestowed upon an NMEA member, recognizing exceptional lifelong service to marine science education. Dr. Rosanne Fortner, an internationally known educator and long-time leader in Sea Grant and NMEA, was awarded permanent status of NMEA Honorary Member at our national conference in July. A pillar of the NMEA community, Rosanne has been a member since 1977, attending 32 NMEA conferences and serving as NMEA President in 1988.

Hear from Roseanne below!

Tags:  award 

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2014 Outstanding Teacher Award goes to Sherry Rollins

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sherry Rollins - 2014 Teacher of the YearFor the past 19 years, Sherry Rollins has been a middle school science teacher in Gloucester County, Va.  She has a long and productive track record of providing students with opportunities for hands‐on, feet‐wet science.  Sherry has maximized her impact and output by collaborating with teaching colleagues within her school, and by partnering with regional institutions and programs.

A teacher for 26 years, Rollins has accumulated a long list of contributions made to teaching colleagues, schools, and the greater educational community.  A sampling of her activities include: ten years coaching Great Computer Challenge teams; eight years coaching all girl robotics teams; and three years as a science fair mentor at the county level.

Sherry has also been active in her local chapter, the Mid‐Atlantic Marine Education Association (MAMEA), sharing her experiences with fellow educators at annual MAMEA Conferences. She and her teaching partner Judy Gwartney‐Green have delivered sessions on Incorporating the Local Environment into Your Classroom and on the implementation of Experiential Field Studies Trips. She is gracious and generous in helping any teacher who seeks advice about incorporating more field experiences in their science classes.

Rollins received her undergraduate degree in biology from the College of William and Mary in 1992.  A lifelong learner, she continued her education, taking graduate science courses at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), Christopher Newport University and Virginia Commonwealth University.  In 2006, Sherry earned a Masters in Integrating Technology in the Curriculum from Walden University.  Keeping current, she continues to seek out professional development opportunities that offer content, skills and teaching resources she can apply in her classroom.

Watch her receive her award at our national conference: 

Tags:  award  conference 

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NMEA 2014 Comes to a Close, Looking Ahead to 2015

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Wednesday, July 30, 2014

We'd like to send out a huge "Thank you!" to the over 300 teachers, scientists, informal educators, and science communicators who joined us for a full week of speakers, sessions, and field trips in Annapolis, Md., and the surrounding region. NMEA 2014 was a resounding success thanks to all the hard work and planning of the Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association (MAMEA) and the Conference Committee. Check out all that went on with our conference Storify, which contains a great collection of photos and posts from conference attendees! 

We are now looking forward to NMEA 2015, which will be held in Newport, RI, and were treated to a fun comparison of conference locales and beautiful preview video from next year's hosts, our Southeastern New England Marine Educators (SENEME) chapter. Check out the video below, keep an eye on the conference page for updated information, and mark your calendars for June 29 - July 2, 2015. We're looking forward to seeing you in Rhode Island then!

Tags:  conference 

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Connect with us on Pinterest, Instagram & Storify for NMEA 2014

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Thursday, July 17, 2014

NMEA 2014 hotelGet social with us for the 2014 annual conference

Our conference Storify is up and running, and we'll be curating our favorite social media from the conference, including Tweets, photos, and video! Check back often - the newest content will always be at the top.

Our Pinterest boards will also be useful if you're attending - one highlights conference events, and two others give ideas what to check out around Annapolis and around the region

We will also be posting photos on our new Instagram account - you can find us on there at the same handle as our Twitter account: @NatlMarineEd

And finally, don't forget to keep an eye on our Facebook page and follow and use the hashtag #NMEA14 for all conference-related posts! 

Tags:  conference  NMEA14 

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July 2014 Newsletter

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 2014 newsletter
Our summer newsletter is out! It provides a preview of our national conference, which kicks off next week, introduces the new editor of our peer-reviewed journal,
Current, highlights the IPMEN 2014 conference, and more!

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:  news  newsletter 

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An update from the 2014 IPMEN Conference - Guest blog & photos by Craig Strang

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Saturday, July 12, 2014

I'm at the International Pacific Marine Educators Network Conference in Tokyo and Iwate Prefecture in Japan. It is the 5th biennial conference of the organization. I was the keynote speaker at the first two meetings, and am making a presentation later this afternoon. Yesterday (July 11) was the conference field trip day. We visited Tsukiji, the Tokyo Fish Market, the largest in the world. It was an amazing, incredible, overwhelming experience.

Walking the aisles in the world's largest fish market

Cutting a tuna on a band saw

I saw more species of marine life at the market than I have ever seen in any public aquarium, including forms of life that I hardly knew existed, much less that they are edible. I had strongly conflicting feelings. While it was fascinating and fun to see, it was also disturbing for me to understand that we are taking that much marine life out of the ocean--every day--just at Tsukiji. I wondered if the photos I took might someday not too far off, provide a historic record for my grand children of how much life there USED TO BE in the ocean.

I visited Tsukiji once before in 2008 and saw large amounts of whale meat for sale in several locations. I asked our guide if our group could see whale meat this time. He said that because there is so much international pressure, they no longer let tourists visit the areas where whale meat is sold.

Octopuses at Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

Box of tunicates at Tsukiji Fish Market

 Squid at Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

Later in the day, we went aboard the Shinyo Maru, the research vessel of the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT). We heard about the fisheries research being conducted by the ship. A representative of the Japan Ministry of Education also told us about the network of 41 fisheries high schools in Japan that train young people for careers in the fisheries industry. He told us that in the 1960s there were 52 fisheries high schools. The number of schools is declining because of the decline of the fishing industry. Japan is slowly running out of fish--a confirmation of my uncomfortable impressions at Tsukiji an hour earlier.

The Shinyo Maru, the research vessel for Tokyo University of Marine Science & Technology

Having tea aboard the Shinyo Maru. NMEA members from L to R: Evy Copejans, Karen Mastumoto, Karen Blyler, Geraldine Fauville, Judy Lemus, Peter Tuddenham

Tomorrow (July 13) the entire conference leaves Tokyo to travel by bus to Iwate Prefecture to visit the area devastated by the March 11, 2011, tsunami. We will learn more about the impact of the tsunami, the recovery efforts, and the planning to prepare for the next tsunami.

This morning (July 12), Professor Tsuyoshi Sasaki, the conference chair and Nobuaki Okamato, the President of TUMSAT, welcomed us to the Conference, followed by some thoughtful remarks by Harry Breidahl, Past President of the Marine Education Society of Australia, and NMEA Past President Mike Spranger about the history of IPMEN. Tsuyoshi arranged for several groups of junior high and high school students to present about their own original research projects. The students were fantastic, presenting fairly technical topics all in English.

Tsuyoshi Sasaki translating for the representative from Ministry of Education who oversees the 41 Fisheries High Schools

I was most moved by a group of high school students from Iwate Prefecture who were studying marine debris after the March 11 tsunami  devastated their community. They ended up wanting to do something to decrease marine debris in their community, so they made a very clever, fairly substantive video about how sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and end up choking on them. The approximately five minute video used animation with pictures of two turtles on popsicle sticks. The turtles are friends, and one eats a plastic bag and dies, the other is very upset. “Where is Yasuki? What happened to him?” the surviving turtle friend asks plaintively. They anthropomorphized the turtles in a childlike and emotionally compelling manner that portrayed sadness but also confusion about sudden loss of a “friend.”

High School students from Iwate who made the video about plastic bags and turtles

I couldn’t help but think that those turtles carried some of their animators’ suppressed anguish about losing friends, parents, homes. I wondered, did one of these lovely 15-year-olds lose a parent to the wave? What were these kids’ lives like three years ago today? I asked a question about whether the students had made videos before or was this their first? They said tersely it was their first.

Their teacher stood up in the back of the room and said that he helped them to learn the technical skills they needed but that they had written the script, done all the shooting, editing, and production. Then he said, “The students, they never talk about the tsunami. Never talk about it. So, I help them to communicate using video.” Later at lunch, the teacher told me that one of the boys who made the video has been very quiet since the March 11 event and that today, he saw that boy smile for the first time in many months.

Author Craig Strang is Associate Director of the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California-Berkeley and a past-president of the National Marine Educators Association.

Tags:  conference  IPMEN 

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Participate in the International Pacific Marine Educators Network from afar!

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Monday, July 7, 2014

IPMEN logo
Are you interested in international marine education, particularly in the Pacific? If so, register to participate online in the 2014 International Pacific Marine Educators Network biennial conference, being held July 12 in Tokyo (July 11-12 in the United States - see time conversions below).

The conference begins with opening remarks from the president of Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT) followed by presentation from students from Konan Junior High School, Yamawaki Gakuen Junior and High School, Kuji Junior High School and Misaki Junior High School and then TUMSAT professor Jota Kanda on radionuclides observation in biota off the coast of Fukushima after the nuclear power plant accident. IPMEN 2014 is being held in Japan to help bring hope back to the people of that devastated region.

Next, IPMEN attendees will deliver 18 presentations (in two concurrent sessions) on topics that address coastal recreation areas devastated by natural disasters; preparing coastal areas for natural disasters; balancing traditional knowledge with science and technology, including within the fisheries industry; and fostering an understanding of food cultures and traditions, including within fisheries.

IPMEN 2014 participants include four past NMEA presidents as well as marine educators from Australia, Belgium, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand and the United States. Indonesia is anticipated to have a strong presence at the conference and may host the 2016 IPMEN conference.

If you are considering registering to participate online, please join us on July 8 at 3:30 p.m. Hawaii (6:30 p.m. Pacific or 9:30 p.m. Eastern) to take a test run of the videoconference system that will be used. You’ll be impressed by the quality and user-friendliness of the Blue Jeans system. If you decide to register, cost is only $50 per person or per group, and group participation is encouraged!

The conference can be viewed real-time or asynchronous. For more information or to sign up to take the test run, please email Sylvia Spalding at

Or if you are ready to register for the conference, go here and scroll down to 'Video Conference registration' >

Special thanks to NMEA, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council and the College of Exploration for sponsoring the web component of IPMEN Japan 2014!

Time conversions for IPMEN Japan 2014 conference

  • Japan: July 12 (Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Hawaii: July 11 (Friday) from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Pacific: July 11-12 (Friday-Saturday) from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Eastern: July 11-12 (Friday-Saturday) from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Tags:  conference  IPMEN 

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Q&A with Jane Rubinsky - the new editor of Current

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Monday, June 30, 2014

1) What intrigued you about serving as editor of Current?

Well, before I knew I would be a writer, I was interested in the life sciences. In high school, my imagination was captured by the documentary series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, which began running on television in the late 60s, and I briefly considered studying oceanography. I grew up around boats and the water, because my father was in the Coast Guard for many years and then retired to run his own marine electronics business.Jane Rubinsky

A lot of my writing and editing work has centered around the performing arts. But when I was looking for a new job after many years at Juilliard, I was open to a variety of paths and was trying to identify those that most interested me. I share an afternoon’s ride on the Water Taxi with friends almost every summer, and they always settle in the air-conditioned, windowed cabin while I head immediately for the ladder to the upper deck. That year, I felt a lightness and joy expanding inside me as the wind blew through my hair and my nostrils filled with the briny air (yes, the Hudson River is a tidal estuary) and I suddenly thought, “I love this! I could be involved with anything to do with the ocean!”

That experience, combined with already having worked in an educational environment, led me first to the New York State Marine Education Association, and from there to the NMEA.

2) What excites you most about taking the helm of this journal?

I’ve been writing and editing for three decades, but this is a new area for me professionally. I’m looking forward to learning a lot and working with interesting people!

3) How do you see Current evolving in the future - particularly in the digital realm?

I think Current deserves a much wider audience. So many of my friends seem to know someone involved with marine science in some capacity; their eyes light up when I’ve mentioned this. I’ve yet to explore the ways in which the NMEA is growing and changing and how Current can help reflect that, but digital publishing will certainly play a part.

4) Will you be able to attend our national conference in Annapolis this summer?

I wish I could … but other obligations make that an impossibility this year. But next year, who knows?

5) What is your favorite marine critter?

It would have to be the seahorse, which has intrigued me ever since I examined a dried one as a child. (The practice of preserving them as souvenirs has contributed to their endangerment, but I didn’t know that when I was eight or nine.) They seem like magical, made-up creatures: a fish that wears its skeleton on the outside, swims upright with that rapidly vibrating dorsal fin, moves its eyes independently of each other, changes color, has a prehensile tail, dances during courtship, greets its mate every morning during gestation – and on top of all that, the males give birth! If they didn’t exist, Hans Christian Andersen or J.M. Barrie would have had to invent them. Despite their otherworldly qualities, their lives seem pretty hard; they are poor swimmers and must eat constantly to keep going. I’ve never seen live ones in action, but would love to someday.

Jane Rubinsky6) What’s a fun fact that most folks don’t know about you?

Most people who’ve met me within the past 15 years have no idea that I used to be a dancer, and that dance was actually my major at Mount Holyoke College. But the secret is out now, because I just performed in the ensemble for a contemporary dance adaptation of Romeo and Juliet with the Hudson Guild Theatre Company in Manhattan in June – returning to the stage some 34 years after my last public appearance!

You can connect with Jane on LinkedIn and on  Twitter at the handle @HeightsCat.


Tags:  current  Q and A 

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