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Support Marine & Aquatic Education #OneDropAtATime

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Friday, November 30, 2018
Giving Tuesday Banner

Dear NMEA supporters,

As ocean lovers we know that Earth’s largest feature needs our help. Waters are warming, plastics are infiltrating, and populations are shifting.

The work that we do in support of our mission, “making known the world of water,” is even more critical as we face these challenges.

Like the ocean, NMEA has changed in recent years, and our influence around the Blue Planet has expanded. Our sector of youth members, champions of our ocean future, has grown exponentially, and these young leaders have attended our youth conferences and special webinars. At our annual conferences, Traditional Knowledge practitioners have shared their unique perspectives, with impressive artistic and cultural flair, while describing how First Nations communities have been particularly affected by global changes. Through our Expanding Audiences program, we have supported educators who represent or work with communities traditionally underrepresented in marine science, and our NMEA Board of Directors has participated in diversity training to learn how to broaden our culture of inclusivity.

Perhaps most visible is NMEA’s influence in the international community. Our annual conferences have welcomed marine educators from six continents (no penguin members yet as far as I know!), and our organization has provided impetus and support for marine education networks to form and flourish around the globe. The ocean literacy movement, of which NMEA has always been a lead partner, has spread worldwide, and ocean literacy is even explicitly mentioned in the charter for the United Nations’ Decade of the Ocean.

Although all of these accomplishments should be celebrated, there is still work to be done. With your support, donations to this year’s Annual Appeal will extend our influence in places and spaces where we have not been before. Our vision for change includes new initiatives in several areas. For example, in 2019, we seek to have a refreshed website that better reflects our activities and values and highlights the work that we do as an organization. We hope to offer more travel support to members within the United States, as well as leaders coming from developing nations. A redesign of our Current journal will ensure a broader readership and more up-to-date features. A webinar series will connect our youth members with professionals in a variety of marine science careers, showcase the importance of Traditional Knowledge for ocean conservation, and demonstrate the diversity of our members. Through conferences, summits, publications, and digital tools, we will share the principles and practices of ocean literacy with new audiences.

Our organization is dependent upon memberships and donations. We need your help to make these ideas come to fruition.

So, on this Giving Tuesday, and in this season of giving, we ask you to support our efforts through a donation of any amount in order to meet these goals. Visit to make your tax-deductible donation to our Annual Appeal. Together we can make a difference, one drop at a time.


Meghan E. Marrero, EdD
National Marine Educators Association 2018-19

Tags:  annual fund  fundraising 

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Check your inbox for our summer newsletter

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Summer Newsletter

Our summer newsletter is out!

It features a message from our new president, Meg Marrero, plus information about our NMEA Expanding Audience and Traditional Knowledge scholarship winners for 2018. It also highlights the latest issue of our journal, Current, a wrap-up of the NMEA18 conference in Long Beach and information about the 2019 conference in New Hampshire, as well as other news items and reminders! 

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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Traditional Ecological Knowledge at NMEA18: Knowing Where We Come From

Posted By Linda Chilton, Saturday, September 1, 2018

Chandra LedgesogHow often do we think of who we are, who formed our foundation and what our connections are when we introduce ourselves to someone new?  Chandra Ledgesog opened many eyes and challenged us all to think more deeply when she presented her session, "Hofagie wa’gey: Integration of Traditional Knowledge of Ulithi Atoll" at NMEA 2018 as a representative for the traditional knowledge group. It is valuable in many ways to connect where you come from to where you are going.  

Chandra’s illustration of how traditional knowledge has helped her community in being resilient both in the past and going forward provide valuable lessons for all of us.  They have always needed to manage life in an area that is highly saline at one meter above sea level and continue to deal with impacts from WWII with leaking abandoned artillery on their atoll. In the present, impacts of climate change provide significant challenges with increased water temperatures resulting in both coral bleaching and expansion of a coral that doesn’t provide fish habitat.  The resulting decline in fisheries stocks is just one of many challenges they must face.  Added to that is increased intensity of tropical typhoons and drought conditions much of the year.  

Communities have moved homes inland, yet they find themselves challenged to keep pace with coastal erosion.  Chandra’s people are strong, resilient people who have faced many changes.  Relationships within the archipelago include cultural exchanges between those on high islands and low islands, thus there are places to go with inundation from the sea or storms. 

Ulithi AtollOften times scientists come to communities to impart their knowledge and study the people before departing, only taking.  Chandra’s community has built relationships with biologists from different atolls as well as different regions.  This takes time and trust building but in doing so it creates opportunities to grow and work together, sharing knowledge and understanding of what is happening. Their work together has resulted in the growth of marine protected areas and strategies for monitoring fish populations.  The researchers who come with respect for culture and customs, come to learn, develop relationships and work together on joint efforts.  These partnerships have resulted in both cultural exchanges and sharing science and science practices.    

While historically traditional knowledge (culture, dance, song and more) was passed down in everyday life including cooking with grandmothers, currently there are many other interests for youth and there have been gaps in the exchange of knowledge and skills which were held closely and highly valued.  The decrease in valuing of these skills risks the loss of knowledge.  Youth often find it a challenge to pursue college degrees, to become scientists and policy makers with the struggle of both language and culture.  It is through Chandra’s studies and work that she and others are ensuring that traditional knowledge continues to be treasured and shared. Her presentation helped all of us to see that integrating traditional knowledge into future conservation plans is critical for success and doing so requires a holistic approach. 

Photo information:

  1. Chandra Ledgesog presenting at NMEA18
  2. Ulithi Atoll c. 1992, from NOAA's Small World Collection, photographer: Mr. Ben Mieremet

Tags:  NMEA18 

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From the Editor - Summer issue of Current is now available online for members

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Saturday, August 18, 2018

Current Summer 2018We’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 how a marine science workshop with a multisensory twist is inspiring educators and students, to a program that’s combining creative art activities with real-life science to educate elementary-aged students about the impacts of plastic on our environment—along with 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/Winter 2018 general issue of Current is September 17, 2018. 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—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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Expanding Our Audiences - 2018 Scholarship Winners

Posted By Dieuwertje Kast, Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A strategic goal of NMEA is to increase the number of members who represent and/or educate underrepresented minorities including, but not limited to people of color, indigenous people, island people, international communities, inland areas, and English-language learners.

We were honored to offer the following exceptional educators Expanded Audience Scholarships for 2018.

Nevada Winrow

Nevada WinrowAs the founder of Black Girls Dive Foundation, a community-based, non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering young girls from unrepresented and underserved communities to explore their STEM identity; Dr. Winrow brings many years of experience to the organization. Her background in research and higher education administration has positioned the organization as a forward-thinking beacon of youth empowerment in STEM. It is Dr. Winrow’s belief that we must transcend the typical STEM education and move towards more robust and innovative pedagogical approaches and robust programming that bridges formal with informal science learning settings an produce connected digital networks to broaden minority participation in STEM and transform the lives of our youth into future sciences.

Her philosophy manifests in her dedication and service in teaching and administrative positions in higher education. Dr. Winrow has served on several Boards of Trustee of Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) and well as industry performance excellence Boards of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. 

Dr. Winrow considers herself a life-long learner. She earned her Ph.D. in Neuropsychology from Howard University. She holds a Masters Degree in Cognitive Neuroscience/Neuropsychology from Howard University, a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology from Lincoln University and is currently completing her MBA with a specialization in Finance from the University of Baltimore. She is a former Neuroscience Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and NIH fellow of the National Institution of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Dr. Winrow completed graduate work in Child Neuropsychology at the Paedological Institute in Duivendrecht, The Netherlands under Dr. Dirk Baker and completed two clinical research postdoctoral fellowships at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology followed by a second postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology Division. Her clinical research interests are in the neuropsychological and neuroradiological correlates of stroke in a pediatric sickle cell disease population. Dr. Winrow has published research and served as a contributing book author with the National Institutes of Health/ National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood Disorders on issues revolving neurodiagnostic assessment and stroke, and clinical case management in children with sickle cell disease.

Dr. Winrow is an aquatic enthusiast who is certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructions (PADI) as a Master Scuba Diver and is a member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. She has taken her love of science and the ocean and founded, Black Girls Dive Foundation, creating opportunities for young girls from ethnic minority groups to explore their STEM identity. Although a new foundation, Dr. Winrow has made significant strides in position the organization’s operational sustainability through strategic domestic and international partnerships, fundraising and sponsorship and grant awards.

Meghan Emidy

Meghan EmidyMeghan Emidy is an environmental educator, scientist, and marine conservation advocate. Meghan studied Environmental Science at Westfield State University in Massachusetts and is now a recent graduate of Scripps Institution of Oceanography where she earned her master's degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. For her graduate work, Meghan developed a high school curriculum on the subjects of climate change, coastal ecosystems, and marine protected areas that integrates subject matter within a place-based education framework. 

Meghan has worked as an educator at the New England Aquarium and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Meghan now works as a fellow at WILDCOAST, an international conservation organization dedicated to conserving coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife. She continues her education and outreach work by taking youth on field experiences in coastal and marine environments through WILDCOAST's Explore My MPA program. Each year more than 300 students, including many from tribal communities, park-poor neighborhoods, and under-represented backgrounds, are brought to the ocean to learn about marine ecology and conservation. Meghan strives to create equitable learning opportunities for San Diego's youth through this program and her work as an environmental educator.

Carla Christie

Carla ChristieCarla Christie is a Marine Biologist from Chile, and because of her passion on the endemic and unknown Chilean dolphin, she switched from science research to science communication. Thanks to a Chilean government scholarship, Carla has a Masters in Science Communication from Otago University New Zealand, where she began the draft of the book “El delfín chileno” published in 2015.

Carla is currently the Coordinator of Science Outreach at the Science Faculty of Universidad Austral de Chile in the city of Valdivia, southern Chile, developing cultural and educational projects and activities for school students and the community.

Carla was selected as one of the “100 young leaders from Chile,” recognized as a “Young Entrepreneur of Marine Conservation” by the program “Chile es Mar” lead by the Chile-California Council, was part of a cultural TV program “La Odisea: Valientes en la Patagonia,” and recently represented Chile in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) from the US Department of State “Hidden No More: Empowering Women Leaders in STEM.”

Carla presented with Mark Friedman from LA Maritime Institute and Yasuyuki Kosaka from Japan: “If You Eat Seafood, You’re Probably Eating Plastic,” a panel discussion with hands on activities on micro-plastics research/data collection and exper­imentation with innovative solutions, educational and action activities.

Claudio Aguayo

Claudio AguayoClaudio Aguayo is a Senior Research Officer at the Centre for Learning and Teaching, and the Research & Development Director at the App Lab, Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. His main role is to lead research to inform innovative practice of learning technologies in education. He is currently undertaking research projects at the local, national and international level in mobile learning, sustainability education, marine science education, and educational app development. Claudio’s current interests include the role of technology in non-formal contexts through affective and emotional dimensions, embodied cognition in digital learning spaces, and integration of traditional knowledge in technology-enhanced learning.

Claudio’s presentation at NMEA18, “Mixed Reality Learning In Marine Ecological Literacy Education,” reported on an ongoing research study based in New Zealand that explores the use of mobile technologies within freechoice learning settings for marine ecological literacy education, with special attention given to the theoretical principles and practical considerations informing the use of Mixed Reality learning in visitor centers for cross-sector education.

Tags:  expanding audiences  NMEA18  scholarship 

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2018 NMEA Scavenger Hunt

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018

Scavenger Hunt Directions

Grab a partner for a chance to win two tickets to tour the Queen Mary with one of the ship’s outstanding tour guides. All responses must be in by 5pm on Wednesday.

Here’s how you play.

  1. To submit responses, create a folder for your team here: Title the folder with your and your partner’s names.
  2. In your team folder, create one google doc to answer questions. At the top of the page write your names, email addresses, and phone numbers. Number the questions that have answers.
  3. Upload your photos into your folder with the correct titles for each photo.
  4. As soon as you finish all of the questions (or as many as you can complete) rename your team folder so that it has your names and DONE, e.g., EmilyWeiss_NeetiRiar_DONE. Make sure to finish by 5pm on Wednesday.

A winning pair will be randomly selected from the highest scoring teams. Winners will be notified by Thursday morning.

Scavenger Hunt Challenges (5 points each)

  1. Take a picture with one of next year’s conference hosts in front of the NMEA 2019 booth. (title: 1NMEA19)
  2. Take a picture with the Elkington Plate and Grovesnor China, matching the pose of the woman eating and man reading his menu. (title: 2China)
  3. Take a picture of yourselves next to the picture of Queen Elizabeth and Crew of the Queen Mary. (title: 3QECrew)
  4. What time do the horn stacks go off?
  5. There are not the same number of lifeboats on the RMS Queen Mary and on the model of the ship on the promenade level. How many lifeboats are on each?
  6. Take a picture of yourselves in front of the Winston Churchill Suite. (title: 6Churchill)
  7. Take a picture of yourselves in front of Door 13 in the Engine Room (title: 7EngineRoom)
  8. How many times did Queen Mary board the RMS Queen Mary?
  9. Take a picture or short video of yourselves in one of the “haunted” parts of the ship. (title: 9Haunted)
  10. Take a picture of yourselves with a current member of the NMEA board (if you’re a current member of the board find someone not on your team). (title: 10Board)
  11. Take a picture of yourselves by the pool. (title: 11Pool)
  12. Take a picture of yourselves with someone you met at this conference; title it with how you met. (title: 12[HowWeMet])
  13. Take a picture of yourselves holding some Queen Mary memorabilia in the gift shop. (title: 13Memorobilia)
  14. Ask someone who works on board the ship for the spookiest thing they’ve ever seen while working here. Write down their story.
  15. Take a picture of yourselves with Audrey Hepburn. (title: 15Audrey)
  16. What is the record breaking number of people aboard any ship? And which ship holds this record? Hint: you may need to find a tour guide to help you out.
  17. Take a picture of yourselves having a drink on the deck outside the Observation Bar. (title: 17Bar)
  18. How many Bell Boys are in the picture by the Cunard House Flag?
  19. How many tins of tea are in the Steward’s Pantry?
  20. What shape is on the shower curtain in the Captain’s Quarters?

Bonus questions (2 points each)

  1. Of current RMS Queen Mary staff, who has worked on board the longest?
  2. How old was he when he started?
  3. Take a picture of his picture (he’s not on board this week)

Download a printable file of instructions

Tags:  NMEA18 

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Coney Island Creek Estuary…Finally Getting a Little Bit of Love

Posted By Merryl Kafka, Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Coney Island, more well known as the Playground of the World, with roller coasters, spook houses, the world’s largest wonder wheel, shooting galleries, and even some vintage skee ball arcades, is also an ecological gem. With four miles of sandy beach, it is one of the most beautiful beaches along the mid-Atlantic. The opposing landmasses—Rockaway Peninsula, in Queens, and the Atlantic Highlands and Sandy Hook in NJ—shelter the beach, rendering gentle waves upon its shores. Sometimes the water’s surface is as smooth as silk. This is in contrast to the beaches in Rockaway and Long Island that have unprotected exposure to the open Atlantic, creating the rough waves that make them ideal for surfers.

Behind the popular beaches, on the bay side of Coney, is Coney Island Creek. [Photo shows a view of Coney Island Creek on the left and the ocean front beach on the right.] Once a neglected waterway and dumping site for derelict boats, cars, WW II minesweepers, and even a yellow submarine that is still stuck in the mud since its maiden launch in 1971, the creek continues to be a part of the iconic images of Coney.

The creek is an urban tidal creek, 1.5 miles long, with a variety of miniature habitats such as salt marshes, mudflats, sand dunes, and woodlands. Wildlife has returned, including peregrine falcons, egrets, ospreys, skimmers, swans, horseshoe crabs, mud snails, oysters, and many kinds of fish from the larger predators such as bluefish and striped bass to smaller killifish and silversides.  Human consumption restrictions do exist! The waters are too polluted, due to the historic industry of coal, gas, ship building, gas stations, auto salvage junk yards, and the most recent discovery of sewage seepage from a nearby housing complex. In fact, a Request For Proposal has just been issued to allocate violation funds to restore the creek, The C.I. Creek Environmental Benefit Project Fund. NYSMEA is in the process of applying for this to extend and enhance our efforts to improve the creek conditions and continue to work with schools and the community for sustaining both educational and stewardship ethics.

Despite the history of decades of dumping, the creek is resilient and improving with NYSMEA’s commitment to restoration, conservation and community education. We just completed our 4th annual event, “It’s My Estuary Day,” created by NYSMEA’s Executive Director and underwater welder, Gene Ritter, along with a collaborative team of partners and environmental organizations: C.I. History Project, C.I. Beautification Project, City Parks Foundation, Brooklyn STEM, (whose president is also our NYSMEA President Lane Rosen); Coastal Classroom, and other NYSMEA Board members; myself, Lisa Breslof, Lou Siegel, and Karla Ferrero. [Photo shows Gene Ritter (right) receiving a service citation from Councilmember Treyger, with NYSMEA President Lane Rosen to the left.]

With over 300 student volunteers from 10 schools, more than 1.5 tons of debris was collected. In the past, hundreds of Spartina plugs were planted to mitigate erosion and rebuild a breeding ground for marine life, the nursery of the sea. Students, teachers and community members engaged in interactive educational stations ranging from aquatic robotics, plankton viewing, whale bone explorations with Gotham Whale, the life of an oyster with the Billion Oyster Project, networking with the Waterfront Alliance, doing a seining and fish count with the NYSDEC, and many other participating organizations. It was an amazing day and a day in which we were so proud of the youngsters willing to care and learn about our waterways.

As I like to say, coastlines are our lifelines.

~Dr. Merryl Kafka
NYSMEA Board Member

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NMEA Blue-Green Lifestyle

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Thursday, June 28, 2018

It’s almost time for NMEA 2018, hosted by the Southwest Marine Educators Association in sunny Long Beach, CA!  As you begin to pack your bags please remember NMEA’s Blue-Green Initiatives and…

Bring Your Own (BYO):

  • BYOWB – favorite REUSABLE water bottle!
  • BYOM – favorite REUSABLE mug!
  • BYONBH – favorite REUSABLE name badge holder from a previous conference or workshop.  If you have a stash of extras and are willing to donate them, bring them along.  We will gladly share them at registration for others to reuse!
  • BYOT – favorite REUSABLE tote, for all of that awesome NMEA swag!

It’s always wise to plan ahead.  Think: how can I pack lighter? What do I want to do in my spare time? Where should I eat?  How can I be more blue-green?  Well, here are some additional travel tips and possible answers to those lingering questions:

  • Bring your own refillable toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. so that you don’t need to use the ones offered in your room.
  • Keep your towels on the rack and reuse them.
  • Practice water conservation!
  • Do to specific requirements of the ship, the rooms may be chilly…we recommend bringing layers!  But hey, southern California can be cool at night anyway!
  • Pack clothes that can be worn more than once.  Do you really need 5 pairs of jeans?
  • Eat at establishments that support local, organic and/or sustainable food supplies, and avoid take-out unless packed in sustainable packaging.  Check out
  • OH…you can’t forget dessert! and
  • Bring/use reef and eco-safe sunscreens. 
  • Support local businesses and buy locally-made souvenirs.
  • Make sure to plan some time to explore the historic Queen Mary.  From exhibits to tours, it has it all.  Check it out!   NMEA attendees get a discount! Woot! Woot!

Other things you can do once conferencing is over:

  • Tide pooling at Abalone Cove
  • Taking a southbound drive down Pacific Coast Highway at sunset
  • Checking out the surf at Huntington Beach (Surf City USA!)
  • Walking down Main Street in Seal Beach
  • Eating breakfast burritos at every possible opportunity!


Tags:  Conservation  NMEA18 

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NMEA Board Election Results - Welcome to our new board members!

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Board Collage - Officers

The NMEA Nominations committee would like to welcome and congratulate our new Board of Directors who will take office on July 19, 2018.  Congratulations to President-elect Kate Achilles, Treasurer (re-elected) Jackie Takacs, and Directors Sean Russell (re-elected), Lindsay Patterson, and Jenny East

Board Collage - DirectorsWe would like to thank Steve Stewart who is rotating off the board after filling a one-year term.  We would especially like to thank David Christopher for over ten years of dedication and selfless service to the NMEA board.  He has served on and been chair of several committees, organized the 2014 NMEA Conference, and he has served as a chapter rep and a director.  NMEA would not be the same without all that he has done behind the scenes.

Board Collage - OutgoingOur gratitude also goes to Jeannette Connors, Lisa Ayers, and Jennifer Magnusson for their work in organizing the website, bios, and voting system.  NMEA is truly a great team that is successful because of everyone's involvement and support.

Tags:  Board 

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Why You Won’t See Beef at NMEA 2018

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Thursday, June 14, 2018

CattleDocumentation states that the livestock industry is responsible for approximately 15% of global human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.  Of this percentage, 80% of the emissions are directly related to animals such as cattle.  A typical cow releases 100 kilograms of methane gas each year, or approximately 1/10 of a metric ton. 

Now multiply that number by the outrageous number of cows on this planet (approximately 1.5 billion) and you get…a very big number!  Now, we know we can’t just blame the cows, but they are a major contributing factor in global climate change.  But is it really just the cows?  Scientific evidence shows that methane gas produced by livestock is second to fossil fuel production, but resource use and environmental impacts of farm-raised edible protein matters just as much, if not more.

Here’s an interesting fact from the World Resources Institute: “If cattle were able to form their own nation, they would rank third behind China and the United States among the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters.” That’s a scary thought.

Rest assured that without beef there will be plenty to eat, and you can bet that sustainable seafood will be on the menu. As consumers we need to be aware of the effects of our choices.  Along with this year’s conference being “beef free”, conference participants are being asked to bring their own lanyards, reusable water bottles, and mugs. 

As an added bonus, this year’s swag bags, designed by ChicoBags, are fashioned out of 100% post-consumer, recycled plastic bottles. Can we agree that this is awesome?! 

RMS Queen MaryIn addition, the conference committee is encouraging bus, bicycle, and boat transportation to and from events, the conference, and of course sightseeing around beautiful Long Beach, California.  Behind the scenes, the conference committee has been working hard to minimize the amount of single use plastics, and we are proud to say that all of the conference venues are on board!  Speaking of “on board,” let’s focus on the Queen Mary, shall we?  In terms of reusable items, the Queen Mary gets the win.  Her history is nothing, if not amazing.  She started as a transatlantic luxury cruise liner hosting many Hollywood elites, was transformed into the largest and fastest troopship to sail during WWII, transformed back to her original self, and finally became a grand floating hotel, attraction, and icon of Southern California.  We hope that you are as excited as we are.  Looking forward to a fabulous NMEA 2018!

~ NMEA Conservation Committee

Give it a try: observe one meat-free day a week to curb your carbon emissions.

Tags:  Conservation  guest blog; conservation  NMEA18 

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