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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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News from the NMEA National Office: Creating Great Stories with our Chapters

Posted By Jeannette Connors, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I like to think of hosting an NMEA conference the way that American novelist and short story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne describes the construction of a great story. He says that “easy reading is damn hard writing.”

Chapters BookNMEA has 16 regional Chapters (14 currently active) and each year one of these Chapters takes on the daunting task of planning an NMEA conference. Because these conferences run so smoothly and are so successful, our Chapters make it look like easy work. Assisting them behind the scenes gives the National Office a glimpse into how much work and how much time is involved in planning these events. Attending a conference is stimulating and satisfying, like a novel that is engrossing and easy to read. The only requisite is to show up, relax and enjoy. These conferences are fascinating from the Introduction to the last Chapter.

Queen Mary Bow ViewAn NMEA conference unfolds like a charming novel. A good story starts with an inviting setting. This year, the Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators Association (SWMEA) is hosting our annual conference from July 15-20 and they have chosen a picture-perfect backdrop. We will be aboard the RMS Queen Mary, a retired British ocean liner now permanently docked in Long Beach, CA as a hotel, museum and event facility.

Similarly, the Introduction to a great read should be appealing and capture the reader’s attention. NMEA18’s Introduction invites us to experience a thrilling evening on the beaches of California. A starry, perhaps moonlit night will open an event called the Grunion Run. Grunion are small silverside fish with, shall we say, interesting behaviors when they make their way onto the beach. Be sure to arrive in time to enjoy this unique activity! If you can’t attend this beach event, we also have an evening kickoff event in the Queen Mary’s Britannia Salon. This elegant salon is situated at the stern of the ship and opens onto a private deck where guests can enjoy the fresh ocean air and panoramic views of Long Beach.

Skimming the Contents, some of the chapters of our story include:

  • Reflect, Blend and Design at our Pre-Conference workshops!
  • Sessions, sessions and more sessions. A few of our many sessions include:
    • Exploring the Deep Ocean with NOAA
    • If You Eat Seafood, You’re Probably Eating Plastic
    • Project Based Learning Marine Science
    • Globally Sourced Interdisciplinary Lessons that Flow from the Mountains to the Ocean
  • NMEA’s Youth Conference rocks! Calling all middle school, high school and college students who are passionate about marine science, education, and conservation
  • Field Trip Fun including Catalina Island, whale watching and the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge

After finishing an unforgettable book, sometimes I want to flip to the first page and start the adventure again. Fortunately, I can look forward to another bestseller by the Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association (GOMMEA) at the NMEA2019 conference in New Hampshire!

Queen Mary photo credit:

Tags:  National office  NMEA18 

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Q&A with NMEA Member Spotlight - Jennifer Magnusson

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Thursday, April 26, 2018

Describe your involvement in marine/aquatic education:

Jennifer Magnusson

I think of myself as a behind-the-scenes marine educator. I’ve worked in the classroom, aquarium, advertising agency, and research lab, and they all became a part of who I am and helped me find my niche. I am lucky to work with some really great organizations that are helping to make known the world of water—notably the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators (NAME), and now NMEA! The ocean inspires me and I aspire to boost ocean literacy through social media, science communication, website and graphic design.

I have helped organize and facilitate MBARI's EARTH Teacher Workshops since 2003. EARTH workshops connect teachers with scientists in order to bring current research and real-time data into classrooms and informal learning environments. I am always inspired by the fabulous teachers I get to work with every summer and am looking forward to this summer's workshop in Newport, Oregon, co-hosted by Oregon State University, NSF Regional Class Research Vessel (RCRV), and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub!

What do you like most about being a part of NMEA?

I love that feeling of belonging I get when I am with my fellow marine educators! It doesn’t matter where we are or what our focus is, the ocean brings us all together for conservation, education, and ocean literacy! The people I have met at conferences and events are all doing amazing things and their enthusiasm buoys me up. Right now I live over 1200 km away from the ocean in northern Alberta, so being with like-minded people really connects me back to the thing I love the most!

What issue are you most passionate about right now?

Jennifer Magnusson

I think the issue that is most relevant to my life right now is single-use plastics. My family has done our best to reduce or eliminate our use of things like plastic bags, plastic water bottles, Ziploc bags, plastic wrap, straws, and individually-wrapped snacks. So much of the marine debris and plastic pollution comes from our society’s need for things to be fast and easy, but if we all just take a few extra minutes to pack our child a litter-free lunch or bring our own cup and straw to the coffee shop, we could reduce that waste significantly. I am committed to doing my part and spreading the word to help others do theirs. There are many resources available to help end plastic pollution:

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

I have always wanted to go to Antarctica and haven’t been able to get there yet! When I was in the 6th grade, we watched a film about an icebreaker in Antarctica, and some of the scientists came to visit our classroom. Oh, how I wanted to be one of those scientists on that icebreaker! There is so much exciting research going on right now in Antarctica…I just need to connect with someone who’s looking for a science communicator to take along on an expedition!

Tags:  member highlight  Q&A 

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2018 Student Webinar Series

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Wednesday, April 11, 2018

NMEA is hosting two FREE live webinars this spring. Educators may bring their students or attend on their own. It is a great opportunity for young people in particular to learn about conservation, citizen science, and careers in marine science.

May 9 @ 1:00 pm ET

Citizen Science on the Beach: Research and Outreach with California Grunion

Dr. Karen Martin (Pepperdine University) and Melissa Studer (Beach Ecology Coalition)

Grunion runningThe spectacular midnight runs of California Grunion are well known to Californians. This endemic silverside fish, found only off California and Baja California, shares critical spawning habitat with millions of beach goers along one of the world’s most heavily populated coastlines. Spawning occurs during spring and summer, the times of heaviest human use. Although regulations offer some protection, human impacts on California Grunion include a recreational fishery with bare-handed catching, and habitat loss from shoreline armoring and beach erosion. This webinar will examine the adaptations and adventures of these amazing fish in the California beach sand, and the influence of citizen scientists called Grunion Greeters on beach management and protection of this charismatic species. 

Register online:

Image courtesy of S. Kasbati and

Archived Webinar:

Vaquita: The world’s most endangered marine mammal

Dr. James Danoff-Burg  (The Living Desert)

VaquitaPlease join Dr. James Danoff-Burg, Director of Conservation at The Living Desert, as he discusses conservation efforts for the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. Both classrooms and individuals are invited to join this webinar.

You can listen a recording of the webinar here >

Image courtesy of D. Bader

Webinar Flyer Thumbnail

Please feel free to
download and share
the flyer with any
educators who might
be interested!

Tags:  webinar  youth 

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2018 NMEA Membership Drive

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Tuesday, March 27, 2018

NMEA Membership DriveDear NMEA Members,

The Membership Committee launched the 2018 Membership Drive at NSTA on March 22, and it will continue through Wednesday July 2nd.

This time it will be a bit different! Here is the plan, and the prize is an NMEA Lifetime Membership!

  1. Any existing NMEA member who brings in a new (NOT renewing) member gets an "entry"
  2. Anyone who gets that person to also join their chapter gets a second "entry"
  3. All entries will be placed in a hat and the winner will be drawn from the hat at the conference. Winner gets a lifetime NMEA membership.

Additional details

  • There is google form ( that members fill out for each person they bring in (they can pay for the new member’s membership or just recruit them). There will also be a line on it for if they also join their chapter.
  • Also encourage your “new members” when they fill out the membership registration form to include your name as how they learned about NMEA.
  • Right before the conference, we will verify that they are all actually members.  Then we will print out names and draw from a hat to choose the winner!

The prize of a Lifetime Membership is made possible by a generous donation from our past president, Tami Lunsford. What a wonderful way to give back to NMEA. Thanks, Tami!

Any questions please contact NMEA Membership Committee Chair, Lynn Whitley at

Good luck to all of us for a very successful Membership Drive 2018!  

NMEA Membership Committee
(Bill Andrake, Dave Bader, Mellie Lewis, Diana Payne, Lynn Whitley)

Tags:  membership 

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Check your inbox for our winter newsletter

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Saturday, March 10, 2018

Winter 2018 Newsletter

Our winter newsletter is out

It features information about our NMEA Whale of a Share-a-thon at the NSTA conference in Atlanta. It also highlights the latest issue of our journal, Current, a wrap-up of the regional NOSB, registration information for NMEA18, and student opportunities, 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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AMEA Call for special issue of “Marine education in Asia”

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Thursday, February 22, 2018

AMEA LogoIn order to strengthen Asia’s regional marine education academic research, enhance interaction from marine educators, communicate research outcomes, and extend the influence of global marine education, the Asia Marine Educators Association (AMEA) established a research committee in 2017 and decided to publish an academic journal. The first publication will be the special issue of Higher Education Research of Ocean University of China (HEROUC). The first special issue call for topics includes:

  1. Marine education theory research
  2. Academic marine education activities research
  3. National or regional marine education practices
  4. National or regional marine education comparative research
  5. Ocean literacy or marine education evaluation research
  6. National or regional marine education curriculum
  7. National or regional marine education policy
  8. Other research related to marine education or ocean literacy

We expect the first AMEA publication to showcase information about Asia’s marine education, and inspire educators to exchange knowledge about promoting marine education in their countries. This special issue is estimated to comprise 10-12 papers on marine education practices and policy from different countries, and will be printed as hard copies. We will share the journal at the 2018 NMEA conference in Long Beach, CA. The next step of the research committee is to establish the Asia Marine Education Journal, which will be formally announced at the 2019 AMEA conference in China.

For more information please see the website:

Contact: AMEA secretary general Chia-Dai (Ray) Yen,

Tags:  AMEA  international  Ocean Literacy 

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

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Current WInter 2018From the Editors:  We’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 week-long STEM summer day camp is helping young students learn more about seafloor exploration, as well as how educators are using tools like digital arts, a marine film series, and the Coriolis force in the classroom to inspire students and teachers—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 Summer 2018 general issue of Current is May 14, 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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Guest Blog by Anne Stewart: CaNOE's role in the global ocean literacy movement

Posted By Jeannette Connors, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

In the first of a three-part series, CaNOE's (Canadian Network for Ocean Education) Co-chair Anne Stewart explains CaNOE's place in the global ocean literacy movement.

CaNOE works to advance ocean literacy in Canada, but not in isolation. CaNOE, and Canadians, benefit by connecting to the global ocean literacy groundswell that is gaining momentum and imbuing ocean optimism.

Internationally, CaNOE has links to networks like the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) in the USA, and the European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA). These are professional associations, which, like CaNOE, aspire to an ocean literate citizenry: people who understand the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean. Ocean literate citizens can also communicate about the ocean in meaningful ways and make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean’s well being and its gifts. NMEA is the oldest (40+years) and largest of these organizations, and is a primary proponent of the collaborative and evolving ocean literacy framework. CaNOE and EMSEA are of a similar young age, both arising around the time of the Galway Statement.

The tripartite Galway Statement – signed by the USA, EU and Canada in 2013 – placed ocean literacy as a foundational and crosscutting theme for transatlantic research cooperation. The signing was followed in Europe by substantial financial commitments to the ocean literacy projects Sea Change and ResponSEAble, both funded through Blue Growth, Horizon 2020. These projects are also buoyed by the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance – Coordination and Support Action Project (AORA-CSA). The implementation of the Galway Statement is achieved internationally through AORA with senior tripartite leadership and through tripartite working groups that collaborate on areas of identified mutual cooperation.

Transatlantic cooperation in the Galway sense refers both to the North Atlantic with its Arctic interactions, and to the tripartite countries, unions, and seas on both sides of the North Atlantic. In Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard (DFOCCG) leads and consults nationally throughout the year with the Galway Canadian Marine Working Group. Chairs and co-chairs of identified areas of co-operation also work internationally with their respective AORA working groups. (To help visualize AORA and how it works, see the image below.)

The Trilateral Galway Implementation Committee tasked the AORA Ocean Literacy working group to also work with AORA Aquaculture and AORA Seabed Mapping working groups and to advance the G7 Ministers’ action on plastic in the ocean. With so much going on, the AORA Ocean Literacy working group recently expanded to include leadership from NMEA, EMSEA and CaNOE. This was formalized through a unanimous recommendation by the AORA Ocean Literacy Working Group Co-leads in their contribution to the Galway “Golden Paper” accepted by Galway Implementation Leadership. This formalizes bottom up, as well as top down participation, in boosting ocean literacy across the Atlantic by assuring participation of individuals who are well immersed, dedicated to, and fluently conversant in the drive towards ocean literacy.

The current AORA Ocean Literacy working group has collaborated for four years, since formative transatlantic ocean literacy workshops were held in the UK, Belgium, Sweden and Portugal. CaNOE was there for the entire voyage in its frail little craft, crewed solely by volunteers. There was no funding or travel support from Canada and it was only through the generosity of the European Commission, Portugal, EMSEA, NMEA and AORA-CSA that CaNOE volunteers were able to participate at the transatlantic ocean literacy table. From the inception of the idea of transatlantic ocean literacy, Canada has been involved via CaNOE.

- CaNOE Co-chair Anne Stewart

In November, 2017 CaNOE co-chair was joined by Tara Donaghy, appointed by Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard. Tara is well positioned to make a really positive difference to the future of collaborations and a very warm welcome is extended.

Tags:  EMSEA  guest blog  ocean education  Ocean Literacy 

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NMEA and Maryland Sea Grant: The Perfect Combo

Posted By Jeannette Connors, Thursday, November 2, 2017

If you’re old enough to remember the vintage Reese’s commercial where two passersby bump into each other and say “Hey you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!...Hey you got your peanut butter in my chocolate” and then a voice over says “Two great tastes that taste great together!” you may have reacted the same way I did: with a head-thumping “Of course they go together!” This advertisement popped into my mind when I thought of the way Maryland Sea Grant and the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) enrich and enhance each other like peanut butter and chocolate. Founded just a year apart, the National Marine Educators Association in 1976 and Maryland Sea Grant in 1977, both organizations have histories rich in education, science and public outreach.

Maryland Sea Grant is administered by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Maryland Sea Grant is part of a network of 33 Sea Grant programs around the country and is located a few blocks from the University of Maryland College Park campus.

NMEA is a national organization of members that range from teachers, informal educators, university professors, students, and more from around the world working together to enhance the understanding and safeguarding of our freshwater and marine ecosystems. NMEA has 17 regional chapters that support and promote nationwide initiatives in education and conservation.

So how did these two organizations bump into each other? For many years, NMEA’s National Office was located in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. When NMEA needed a new home in 2012, a bid for proposals was issued and peanut butter and chocolate came together when Maryland Sea Grant became the host of NMEA’s National Office in 2013. What stands out to me during this transition period was the way NMEA arrived at Maryland Sea Grant’s doorstep. UPS plunked down in our reception area dozens of boxes, cartons and containers filled with NMEA history, ready to be unpacked, sifted through, re-filed and re-organized into their new living quarters. Around this time, NMEA updated to a computerized membership database system, so things were hopping at the new National Office.

NMEA National Office staff (J. Adam Frederick and Jeannette Connors)A walk through the hallway of the Maryland Sea Grant office offers an illustration of how seamless the transition was and continues to be.  In our reception area, one of the first things you’ll notice is an area rug with an ocean blue background and schools of fish in the foreground. Continue down the hallway and you’ll see gorgeous bay-themed artwork by local artists, as well as various photos of aquatic plants and sea creatures. You’ll hear conversations about aquaculture, education, and ocean conservation. On an especially busy day, you might hear the sounds of video editing and snippets of interviews with scientists, watermen, teachers, Bay pilots, and video shorts on topics like installing a rain garden and seafood safety technology.

Off to one side of the hallway is the NMEA National office, tucked inside the larger Maryland Sea Grant space. In square feet, the National Office consists of one 10 x 12 office, ½ of another 10 x 12 office and some storage space in College Park and Baltimore. Nevertheless, the small space doesn’t affect NMEA’s ability to continue the work that for decades has been done with dedication and enthusiasm. Just like chocolate and peanut butter are perfect companions, Maryland Sea Grant and NMEA are a sweet combination.

- Jeannette Connors, NMEA National Office Manager

Photo: NMEA National Office staff (J. Adam Frederick and Jeannette Connors) at the NMEA 2017 Annual Conference in Charleston, SC


Tags:  History  National office 

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7/15/2018 » 7/20/2018
NMEA 2018 Annual Conference