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Guest Blog by David Bader: Vaquita, Conservation #4aPorpoise

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Vaquita, Conservation #4aPorpoise

In 2008 the Baiji river dolphin, found only in China, was declared extinct. Now, less than a decade later another cetacean faces extinction, the Mexican vaquita porpoise. Many people have never heard of either of these animals and as marine educators we have an opportunity to share knowledge of this critical issue, a first step in supporting conservation efforts that may save the vaquita and perhaps several other cetaceans.

At the Aquarium of the Pacific we are working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction program which hopes to leverage the resources and reach of zoos and aquariums across the country on critical animal conservation issues. Leading the charge in public outreach for the Vaquita SAFE program, the Aquarium of the Pacific is helping to coordinate messaging and outreach among dozens of organizations and institutions. As a first step, we have gathered the critical resources, images, graphics and fact sheets, and made them free to access and use for anyone wanting to participate. These will be made available on the AZA Vaquita SAFE page in the coming months.

The Vaquita Porpoise is found only in small region of the Northern Gulf of Mexico, an area about the size of Rhode Island. Today less than 60 remain within this range. Vaquita have suffered for decades, accidentally caught and killed in gillnets targeting fish and shrimp. Much of the shrimp in past years was exported legally into Southern California fish markets. Today, Mexico has banned fishing within the vaquita range in an effort to save the remaining population. However, illegal fishing is rampant and largely unchecked. Fisherman, who have little money or education, are turning to illegal fishing for a fish called the totoaba.  Also endangered, the totoaba is caught for its swimbladder, called fish maw in china.  One large swimbladder from a totoaba can fetch more than $10,000 in China and this is proving to be an irresistible lure for fishermen who have spent more than a year without fishing and a steady income.

Vaquita, Conservation #4aPorpoiseThe key to vaquita species survival is twofold. First, Mexico must step up enforcement of laws aimed at protecting the vaquita. Second, we must maintain pressure on both our government and the Mexican government to make sure everything is done to keep the vaquita from going extinct. This is how NMEA members can become heroes in the story of the vaquita. Please join the AZA and the Aquarium of the Pacific in spreading the word about the vaquita. Share and follow the hashtag #4aPorpoise on social media. Talk to your students, friends and audiences about the situation. And lastly, support sustainable seafood practices. While the vaquita is in a dire situation, the Hectors Dolphin, Irrawaddy Dolphin, and Finless Porpoise face similar threats and could soon be in the same position if we don’t address the issues of overfishing and bycatch.

- David Bader, NMEA President-elect
Director of Education, Aquarium of the Pacific

Watch David speak on this topic for the Aquarium of the Pacific via Facebook Live >>

Tags:  guest blog; conservation 

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Live broadcasts from our NMEA 2016 Conference

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Friday, July 15, 2016

We live-streamed a few speakers and our rolling shark panel via Facebook Live during our annual conference in Orlando, Fla., this summer. Did you miss them? Or do you want to see them again? Access them below! 

Tags:  conference  NMEA16 

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Check your inbox for our summer newsletter

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Tuesday, June 28, 2016
2016 Summer newsletter


Our summer newsletter is out!

It highlights the kick-off of our annual NMEA 2016 conference in Orlando, Fla., the summer issue of our journal, Current, and some exciting updates on what a few of our members and chapters have been up to! 

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:  newsletter 

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Guest Blog by Linda Chilton: Traditional knowledge opportunity at NMEA 2016

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Monday, June 27, 2016

Have you ever wondered:

    * How can we get people to care about the Everglades (or our own natural spaces) when they haven’t been there?

    * How can we advocate for giving water the respect it deserves?

Then make sure to attend "A Full Spectrum Approach to Everglades Activism by Love the Everglades Movement" on Tuesday, June 28, from 1:30 – 2:15 p.m. in Oceans 2, and the Traditional Knowledge and Tribal Reps meeting just before the session from 12:30 – 1:15 pm Oceans 2.

Our presenter, Houston R. Cypress, is a Two-Spirit Poet, Artist, and Activist from the Otter Clan of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. He resides on the Miccosukee Reservation located west of Miami, Fla. He maintains a number of traditional villages located on tree islands scattered throughout Water Conservation Area 3A. This area is known as the historic River of Grass and called by his community KAAHAYATLE, which can be translated as "Shimmering Waters."

Houston is committed to supporting his society of clans by assisting in cultural preservation, environmental protection, community outreach, business development, media & event production, and strengthening sovereignty.

Tags:  NMEA16  TK 

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NMEA members attend School of Rock in Cape Town

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Sunday, June 26, 2016

Several NMEA members were aboard the drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution in Cape Town, South Africa, last month for the School of Rock professional development program, including Sharon Cooper (Program Lead), David C. Wehunt (TEAMS, MAMEA), Lyndsey Manzo (GLEAMS), Lisa Tossey (MAMEA), Kerri Allen (FMSEA), and Linda Chilton (SWMEA).

Check out all that happened on the School of Rock blog, which all participants contributed to, and on a blog Linda maintained for her program. And of you're attending our NMEA 2016 conference in Orlando, learn more about the core drilling science that takes place on the JOIDES Resolution at Sharon's "Core Discoveries, Beneath the Sea!" session on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in Oceans 11! 

School of Rock 2016

School of Rock 2016






School of Rock 2016

School of Rock 2016

Tags:  professional development 

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NMEA 2016 will have a sand AND shell swap!

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Shells Shell and sand swapHave you ever learned about a really cool activity that requires different sands or different shells? Here’s your opportunity to expand your educational resources! 

Have you had someone donate their precious shell collection….but you just don’t have a need for all those shells? Here’s your chance to find them new homes! 

NMEA 2016 conference participants are encouraged to bring extra shells/shell collections and/or sand from their home beach to share (please label the bag or jar of sand with at least the city and state/province/country).

A limited number of small zipper seal bags will be available—please feel free to bring your own film canisters, small jars or baggies to use to "collect” your sand samples. The sand and shell swap will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 30 in the Oceans 3 room at the conference. If you would like to drop off sand or shells ahead of time, you can put them in a tote box under the Florida Sea Grant table in the exhibit area. 

Tags:  conference  NMEA16 

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From the Editors: Summer issue of Current now available

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Saturday, May 28, 2016

Spring 2016 Current coverWe’re excited to bring you another general issue of Current featuring articles by NMEA members from all over the country and overseas to provide new ways to discover the "world of water.” In this issue, you’ll find a variety of engaging articles and activities, including a collaborative look at women in leadership who share their experiences in advancing science and protecting the ocean. An article on creating and evaluating discussion guides to improve learning experiences at public aquariums, science centers, and other out-of-school learning environments, a hands-on activity exploring environmental and economic impacts through engaging high school students in a mock Town Hall meeting, as well as many other exciting topics.

Please continue to send in your original manuscripts on research, lessons, resources, or strategies focused on marine education, including science, art, literature, and maritime history. The next deadline for submitting articles for consideration in the fall 2016 general issue of Current is September 12, 2016. And don’t forget to stay connected to the NMEA by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Access the latest issue of Current here—happy reading!

Interested in submitting an article to Current? Guidelines for submissions are available here >

Not a member yet? Join NMEA and receive access to Current, as well as all our other member benefits, here >

Tags:  current 

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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: Survey to define Marine Education

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Friday, May 13, 2016
Marine Education survey

We all know marine education is more and more important in the world. However, there isn’t a comprehensive connection for all the marine educators. We hope to further understand the background of marine education and research the integration system for marine educator international collaboration.

This survey is posted to encourage a wider worldwide definition of "Marine Education" and should take about 5 minutes to complete. All your responses will be kept confidential.

The data will be used in defining the research. Please pass this survey to groups you may be in, agencies you know that employ marine engineers, maritime academies, port workers, ship captains, and K-college and adult education. Thank you in advance - we appreciate for your help in promoting a marine education research summary!

This is a pre-trial for review at the #NMEA16 annual conference in Orlando, Fla., next month. 

Access the survey here > 

- Mare Timmons, UGA Marine Extension Service & Chia-Dai (Ray) Yen, Taiwan Marine Education Center 

Tags:  NMEA16  survey 

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Don't miss the Stegner Lecture at #NMEA16!

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Stegner Lecture

Here's another great reason to join us at our annual conference in Orlando next month - the Stegner Lecture!

National Parks are best known for wildlife and scenery, but the reasons parks matter go far beyond the tangible. From Yellowstone to Hawai’i Volcanoes, Gettysburg to Biscayne, national parks are deeply powerful places that impact people in extraordinary ways. Join Biscayne National Park Rangers Megan Davenport and Gary Bremen as they celebrate the National Park Service Centennial by blending music and storytelling to share deeply personal experiences from national parks across the nation.

Hear more from them in the short video below! 

Tags:  conference  NMEA16 

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