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5 Questions with NMEA's new president, Robert Rocha

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Sunday, September 20, 2015

As is the annual tradition, NMEA leadership changed hands this summer at the annual conference in Newport, RI, and Robert Rocha, Director of K-12 and Science Programs at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, took the helm for 2015-2016. Get to know Bob better with this quick Q & A!

Robert Rocha

1) How long have you been involved with NMEA and what roles have you played in our organization?

I attended my first NMEA meeting in 1996, at the University of New Hampshire. I have missed just four conferences since then. I have been a chapter representative for Massachusetts Marine Educators (2009-2011), a member of the conference committee (2009-2011), chair of the 2011 annual conference in Boston, a board member (elected in 2013), member of the Executive Committee (2014-present), and president-elect (2014-2015).

2) In your view, what makes NMEA an unique organization?

NMEA has a great blend of work hard and play hard. We all take our work seriously but try not to take ourselves too seriously. I also think that the mix of formal educators, informal educators, administrators, writers, students and advocates is unique and ensures that perspectives won't get stale or one-sided.

3) What changes do you expect to see in NMEA over the next year and in the next decade?

In the next year I expect that NMEA's transition to a more streamlined, online tech-friendly organization will come to full fruition. I also expect great progress on many of the short-term steps laid out in the strategic plan. In ten years, I expect NMEA to be a more culturally diverse organization that will support and motivate new populations to get involved in marine education. I also expect that we will have more consistent significant annual sponsorship.

Bob Rocha on guitar 4) What's a favorite memory from a NMEA event or conference?

There are a few. I'll mention three:
  1. Having a nice conversation with a nice older lady at my first NMEA conference during the award ceremony and then hearing her name called as the recipient of Marine Education Award. That nice lady is Anita Freudenthal. I've been a big fan of Anita and Hugo, and the award ceremony, ever since.
  2. Hosting the 2011 conference and feeling proud of Massachusetts Marine Educators and our volunteers for running such a fun productive conference, and;
  3. Knowing that the Boston conference was the site of the meeting that led to the formation of the European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) and that I got to be part of that process. What has happened in Europe since then in such a short amount of time is remarkable.

5) For fun ... if you were a superhero, what would your special power be?

I would have the power to make everyone clean up their own messes, including all businesses. Litter is so unnecessary and a clear sign of laziness.

Tags:  profile 

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5th anniversary of Youth Ocean Conservation Summit to be celebrated in Florida this November

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Friday, September 18, 2015
YOCS logo

Join NMEA board member Sean Russell for the 5th anniversary Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, which will be held on Saturday, November 14 at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla.! This event will provide young people with a unique opportunity to learn about current threats to marine ecosystems, develop action plans for their own conservation projects to address these issues in their local communities, and take part in special training sessions designed to give them the skills necessary to make these projects successful. Registration for this event, as well as the full summit details, is now available.

In celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Summit, the Community Ocean Conservation Film Festival will kick-off the weekend at Mote Marine Laboratory on the evening of November 13. This event will feature the award-winning film Shark Girl, which follows the powerful story of twenty-one year old Madison Stewart, and her work to save sharks. Admission to this event is free, but seating is limited and attendees must RSVP by completing the registration form. This event will also feature remarks from renowned shark conservation advocate, Wendy Benchley, a showcase of youth-driven ocean conservation projects and artwork, and a silent auction/raffle fundraiser.

Tags:  youth 

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NMEA Past-President, Connecticut Sea Grant Education Coordinator receives Fulbright Specialists Award

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Friday, September 4, 2015

NMEA Past-president and Strategic Planning Chair Diana Payne has been selected for a Fulbright Specialists project in Denmark at the Technical University of Denmark’s National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua) during the fall of 2015, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Payne, who is Assistant Professor and Education Coordinator with Connecticut Sea Grant, will co-lead an international ocean literacy workshop with invited experts from Japan, US, Canada and the European Union, assess strategic benefits for integrating ocean literacy in institutional research strategies, train graduate students and senior researchers on research career and strategic research impact benefits of ocean literacy, and collaborate with SeaCHANGE partners at DTU to work with schools to empower educators, students and educational communities to address ocean literacy.

Payne is one of over 400 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad this year through the Fulbright Specialists Program. The Fulbright Specialists Program, created in 2000 to complement the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, provides short-term academic opportunities (two to six weeks) to prominent U.S. faculty and professionals to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post secondary, academic institutions around the world.

Payne NMEA 2015 award The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange activity, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over its 60 years of existence, thousands of U.S. faculty and professionals have taught, studied or conducted research abroad, and thousands of their counterparts from other countries have engaged in similar activities in the United States. Over 285,000 emerging leaders in their professional fields have received Fulbright awards, including individuals who later became heads of government, Nobel Prize winners, and leaders in education, business, journalism, the arts and other fields. Recipients of Fulbright Scholar awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement. 

Payne was also recently named the 2015 James Centorino Award winner at our annual conference in Newport, RI, earlier this summer. 

Tags:  member  recognition 

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NMEA 2015 Stegner Memorial Lecture

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Thursday, August 20, 2015

We were thrilled to have storyteller Valerie Tutson join us in Newport to be the speaker for our NMEA 2015 Stegner Memorial Lecture. Check out her engaging talk below!


Tags:  NMEA15  Stegner 

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Current submission deadline approaching

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Monday, July 20, 2015
Current Cover

Hurry! August 3 marks the deadline for sending in articles for the fall issue of our peer-reviewed journal Current. We’re seeking original manuscripts about ocean literacy, marine science education, ocean art, literature, maritime history, as well as strategies and resources for teaching students in Kindergarten through graduate school or informal education settings.

Please submit manuscripts to the editors at for consideration. For information on submitting articles to Current, please visit our Guide for Contributors.

Tags:  current 

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NMEA 2015 on Storify

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Friday, July 17, 2015

NMEA 2015 Storify

Did you enjoy attending our annual conference in Newport,RI? Or were you following along via social media from afar? 

You can see some of the photos, posts, and resources that were shared throughout the event, which were curated in our conference Storify here > 

Also, you can also experience the fun that was the NMEA 2015 Lightning Strikes session in an additional Storify here > 

Tags:  conference 

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Congratulations to our new NMEA Board members!

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Friday, June 26, 2015

Please welcome our new board members!

Tami Lunsford

Tami Lunsford, President Elect

Jackie Takacs

Jackie Takacs, Treasurer

Megan Marrero

Megan Marrero, Board of Directors

David Christopher

David Christopher, Board of Directors

Sean Russell

Sean Russell, Board of Directors

Kate Achilles

Kate Achilles, Board of Directors

Geraldine Fauville

Geraldine Fauville, Board of Directors

Tags:  Board 

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Our summer newsletter highlights #NMEA15, a new issue of Current, and our new jobs resource

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Thursday, June 25, 2015
2015 Summer newsletterOur Summer newsletter is out!

It offers a preview of our annual conference, NMEA 2015 in Newport, announces the newest issue of our journal, Current, and our new jobs resource. It also includes other updates by NMEA members and chapters from this Spring!

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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From the President - 2015-2017 Strategic Plan

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Monday, June 22, 2015

2015-17 Strategic Plan cover "At Last!" Thanks to the hard work of many individuals, both inside and outside our organization, and with Susan Haynes and Diana Payne at the helm, the NMEA Board and Strategic Plan Implementation Team are ready to present the National Marine Educators Association 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.

As you can imagine, since 2012 much thought and deliberation from various stakeholder perspectives has gone into creating this living document, one that we can make adjustments as needed. The Board of Directors and Strategic Planning Implementation Team listened and incorporated your input into the 2015 – 2017 NMEA Strategic Plan. By design, this strategic plan is intended to be a flexible, living document that will be revisited frequently and built upon over the next three years. 

A heartfelt thank you to all who participated in the strategic planning process up until now and thank you in advance to those members who have stepped up as leads to move the strategic plan forward. If you have not participated in the process to date, it is never too late. There is quite a bit of work to be done to take our organization to the next level. Please take the initiative and reach out to the Key Focus Area Leads and offer your time and talent. A rising tide lifts all boats!

View the strategic plan here > 

- E. Howard Rutherford, President

Tags:  strategic planning 

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Guest Blog by Lane Rosen: NYSMEA helps bring attention to a coastal area in need

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Friday, June 19, 2015

Coney Island Creek has been a neglected body of water in Brooklyn, NY, for many years. Members of New York State Marine Education Association (NYSMEA) and Cultural Research Divers organized "It's My Estuary Day" to take place at Kaiser Park, on the banks of Coney Island Creek, on May 30. It was a celebratory community service event which brought awareness to the salt marsh estuary on both sides of the creek.

NYSMEA beach clean-up  

Over 300 K-12 students attended from eight local schools, along with politicians, scientists, and representatives from science organizations, diving and engineering companies, and colleges. Students involved with The Billion Oyster Project relocated oyster gardens to the park as part of an effort to restore New York Harbor with oyster reefs. Students learned how to monitor oyster growth and collect water chemistry data. They also used technology to gather weather and climate data.

NYSMEA kids with microscope

There was an organized coastal cleanup along the beach which removed over one ton of marine debris. Brooklyn College displayed a Jamaica Bay resiliency plan and a seaweed touch tank.

NYSMEA garbage cleaned up

Students and an engineering firm launched their underwater robots: Sea Perch ROVs and a professional ROV.

NYSMEA ROV testing

Students and educators seined for fish in a project identifying fish species called the Great Fish Count organized by Columbia University, which was coordinated in 13 sites around New York City on that day. Local scientists spoke on several current marine topics to an audience composed mainly of high school students.

NYSMEA seining

A collaboration of organizations called "Making Waves," which includes NYSMEA, is trying to bring a marine education barge featuring a marine science teaching lab and commercial dive training center to Kaiser Park. Overall, it was a great day with over 500 people in attendance, and it brought marine environmental awareness to the local community!

- Lane Rosen, NYSMEA President 

Tags:  NYSMEA 

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