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Guest Blog by Robert Rocha: EMSEA 2015 in Crete

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Monday, December 21, 2015

The third annual European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) conference was held from September 28 through October 1, 2015, at the CretAquarium in Gournes, Crete. More than 100 people from 22 countries attended this great event. The conference focused on two topics: evaluating actions and methods as well as their impact on diverse audiences, including schools and aquaria; looking ahead into the future and shaping ‘the way forward’ for ocean literacy in Europe and beyond. Workshops were well run and well attended.

EMSEA 2015

Social events included a roof-top ice breaker, and one night later a tour, dinner and traditional Cretan dancing at an open-air museum. Pierre-Yves Cousteau gave an inspiring keynote lecture and, to end the conference, attendees very enthusiastically, and very generously, participated in Aquarium Bingo, as a means of raising scholarship funds for EMSEA 2016.

EMSEA 2015

NMEA was well represented with fifteen members in attendance. Several, including Ivar Babb, Tina Bishop, Evy Copejans, Geraldine Fauville, Susan Haynes, Meg Marrero, Diana Payne, Gail Scowcroft, Craig Strang, Peter Tuddenham, and I, led workshops and/or poster sessions.

EMSEA 2015

An interesting and successful format for sharing information was the Open Space Discussion. Everybody in attendance gathered in one large room and were encouraged to offer topics of discussion by writing them on a sticky note, ‘selling’ the topic to the crowd and choosing a time to lead the talk. Once the topics were posted, attendees could choose one for the first time slot and another for the second time slot. According to the rules, ‘Whoever shows up is the right amount of people for that group and whatever takes place is the only thing that could have happened.’ Personally, I enjoyed the Open Space Discussion about finding international ways of celebrating the 500th anniversary of Magellan’s voyage.

EMSEA 2015

Congratulations to conference chair Martha Papathanassiou, the EMSEA team, the staffs of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research and the CretAquarium for a successful and informative conference. Mark your calendars for the fourth EMSEA conference, scheduled for October 4-7, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

- Robert Rocha, 2015-16 NMEA President

Tags:  conference  EMSEA  guest blog 

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Call for 2016 NMEA conference session proposals is now open!

Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Wednesday, December 16, 2015
NMEA 2016

UPDATE 2/28: The deadline has been extended to 3/11!

The call for concurrent session proposals for the 2016 NMEA conference – Making Waves: Current Connections in Marine Science – is NOW OPEN!

Plan to share your passion and experiences with your fellow marine educators June 27-30, 2016, in sunny Orlando, Florida.

Conference strands include:

  • Global connections
  • Technology connections
  • Classroom connections
  • Informal education connections
  • Educational research connections

    Concurrent sessions will be 45 minutes in length or submitters may elect to present during the poster session. All session proposals must be submitted online here >

    The call for proposals closes at 5 p.m. EST on Monday, February 29 Friday, March 11.

    Questions? Please contact Concurrent Sessions Chair, Ann Marie Shields, at

    For general questions about #NMEA16, please contact the conference chairs at

    See you in Orlando!

    Tags:  conference  NMEA16 

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    Guest Blog by Andy Gould: MAMEA holds annual conference in NC

    Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Sunday, November 29, 2015

    The Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association (MAMEA) held their annual conference November 6-8, at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher in Wilmington, NC. A total of 54 educators from 5 states attended the conference.

     MAMEA 2015 Conference

    The event included presentations from formal and informal educators on topics ranging from plankton to ROV’s, several aquatic-focused curricula, and hands-on activities centered on climate change.

    MAMEA 2015 Conference

    Also highlighted were several presentations about youth, and how to encourage and enable them to take leadership roles in conservation education. Participants were treated to two excellent guest speakers: Andy Wood from the Coastal Plain Conservation Group presented Ecosystem Collapse or Habitat Shift: Climate Change, Snails, and Unanticipated Consequences. 

    MAMEA 2015 Conference

    And  Bonnie Menteleone from the Plastic Oceans Project, who presented about her work in studying and teaching about marine plastics around the world.

    MAMEA 2015 Conference  

    During the conference, MAMEA presented their two annual awards. Tami Lunsford of Newark, Del., received the Outstanding Classroom Educator of the Year award, and Dr. Roseanne Fortner of Oak Island, NC, received the Outstanding Informal Marine Educator Award. It was a pleasure to have a chance to honor both of these talented and dedicated educators! 

    - Andy Gould, President, MAMEA 



    Tags:  conference  MAMEA 

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    Boston Harbor Educators Conference held at University of Massachusetts Boston

    Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Thursday, October 22, 2015

    This year’s Boston Harbor Educators Conference was held on September 26. It was a spectacular day, full of learning and fun! This annual event—one of two yearly Massachusetts Marine Educators (MME) conferences—was held at University of Massachusetts Boston, which is undergoing a tremendous building expansion. Getting to the university was a challenge, but the day certainly proved worthy of it.

    The first speaker was Dr. Greg Skomal from Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, well-known for his commentaries and work with white shark populations, particularly off the Cape Cod coastline. His research was absolutely fascinating, thought provoking, and very well-received; a great way to start the day.

     Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

    Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

    Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

    Hands-on workshops ranging from bird studies, fish ageing, elasmobranch physiology, and tide pool critters, to making drifters and tracking our waste provided opportunities for educators to explore new avenues.

    Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference 

    Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

    Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

    Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference Dr. John Mandelman from the New England Aquarium was the afternoon speaker, presenting a comprehensive look on the ‘catch and release’ interactions with sharks and rays and other species. This, too, was a most informative and enlightening talk with much audience interaction.

    Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference  

    Boston Harbor Educator’s Conference

    The afternoon featured a trip to Lovell’s Island to actually explore and ‘play in’ the tide pools!

    Boston Harbor Educator’s ConferenceIt was a great day and we hope many more will join us next year. We were especially excited to have several new people join MME!

    Guest post by Elaine Brewer, MME

    Tags:  conference  MME 

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    Following along with #EMSEA15 from afar

    Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Tuesday, September 22, 2015

    EMSEA 2015 Storify

    The third European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) conference is being hosted by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research in Heraklion, Crete, from September 28 through October 1. Follow along as we compile tweets, photos, and links in this Storify

    Tags:  conference  EMSEA 

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    NMEA 2015 Lightning Talks

    Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Monday, September 21, 2015

    Lightning Talks are a fast-paced, lively new format for science communication and outreach. Get a taste from this NMEA 2015 session with 5-minute talks on a wide range of topics by informal education thought leaders from across the country. Topics include: shark outreach, nature play, partnerships, behavior change, youth development, virtual learning, and public science events.

    This playlist includes six of the sessions presented at our annual conference by: Jim Wharton (Seattle Aquarium), David Niebuhr (Audubon Nature Institute), E. Howard Rutherford (USF College of Marine Science), Kristin Evans (Texas State Aquarium), Kasey Gaylord-Opalewski (Mote Marine Laboratory), and Julie Henry (Ocean Advocate and Leadership Coach).

    Apologies to David Bader (Aquarium of the Pacific) and Laura Diederick (Smithsonian Marine Station), who also presented sessions that were not fully recorded due to technical issues.

    Tags:  conference  NMEA15 

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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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    From the Organizers: NMEA 2015 Update

    Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Saturday, May 23, 2015

    Have you registered for the 2015 National Marine Educator's Association Conference yet? If not, please be sure to take advantage of the Early Bird Registration discount (a $50 savings!), which has been extended to May 31!

    Please note that field trip pre-registration has NOT been extended and will close on Tuesday, May 26! Southeastern New England Marine Educators (SENEME) encourages you to join other formal and informal educators, scientists, students, and government and industry members from across the U.S. and around the world to explore our world of water at this unique conference event in Newport, RI, June 28 - July 2.

    To register for the 2015 NMEA Conference, please go here > 

    Rhode Island is a quintessential New England summer destination, and Newport is at its hub. Home to spectacular coastal scenery, historic architecture, and a thriving and lively waterfront downtown, Newport is perfect for outdoor summer adventures or just relaxing.

    Experience all that Rhode Island (and other Southern New England destinations) have to offer through the incredible field trips offered before and after NMEA. Enjoy a classic New England seafood luncheon at the highly rated Matunuck Oyster Bar and learn about local aquaculture efforts during a special tour of this unique shellfish farm in Potter’s Pond. Through NMEA field trips, participants can also explore lighthouses and enjoy the seashore, scuba dive in one of the most frequented dive sites in southern New England (Ft. Wetherill), learn the basics of sea kayaking, or fish for cod, sea bass, tautog, fluke, bluefish, or even tuna in the waters off Block Island.

    The May 26 deadline for field trip pre-registration is quickly approaching and space is limited- be sure to reserve your spot on one of these fantastic trips ASAP!

    Register for a NMEA field trip here >

    Tags:  conference 

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    Guest Blog: Time to submit your abstract for the EMSEA 2015 conference

    Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Saturday, May 16, 2015
    EMSEA15 logo

    The third European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) conference (#EMSEA15) will be hosted by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research and held at the Aquarium Cretaquarium in Crete from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 this fall.

    As EMSEA is now a well-established and widely recognized conference around Europe, we decided to take it a step further this year and challenge what we know and how we can use that to our benefit to grow, develop and build on this ever-increasing, active ocean literate community.

    The idea is to focus on evaluating the impact of actions, projects and activities that have taken place since the first European conference on ocean literacy, in Bruges, in 2012. We want to look ahead to the future, and be part of ‘the way forward’ for ocean literacy! We want to thereby explore and discuss the development of ocean literacy in Europe, how ocean literacy is being used within formal and informal education and, finally, is ocean literacy really affecting us and the society we live in?

    Evaluating and measuring the impact of ocean literacy and seeing the results from around the world is also important as we can learn and develop new ideas or collaborate with our counterparts from around the globe.

    Based on the above, two main sessions have been formulated, one on "Evaluation of Actions and Measured Impact” and the other one on "The Way Forward”.

    Both sessions are split into two parts, to make it easier to distinguish between different target groups.

    SESSION 1 Ocean Literacy: Evaluation of Actions and Measured Impact:

         1.a) Schools
         1.b) Museums, Aquariums and Science Centres

    EMSEA is continuously gaining support in Europe and beyond, however, it is time to pause, reflect and evaluate how far we have come and where we can go from here. It is time to evaluate past actions that have brought us here and use our lessons learned to shape the way forward and develop new ideas for the future of ocean literacy.

    In this session, we therefore, expect to see abstracts that describe actions, activities and initiatives that have measured their impact on their audiences.

    We are inviting abstracts that not only describe the activities carried out but also the evaluation of these actions and their impact. In this way, we will have a clearer picture of how ocean literacy has been, so far, perceived, by the target audiences of both formal and informal education.

    SESSION 2 The Way Forward: Innovative Methods of Promoting Ocean Literacy:

        2.a) Schools, Aquariums, Science Centres and Industry
        2.b) Research Projects

    This session looks at innovative methods of how to best promote ocean literacy in settings such as formal and informal education, or industry. The word ‘industry’ here could include companies responsible for children’s books, learning materials, educational toys, resources for school children and youth in general, ecotourism, recreation, and other related commercial ocean enterprises.EMSEA Facebook page

    Research projects are often required to dedicate a part of their work on educational activities. It is interesting to look at these activities and see how we can keep the momentum going as, too often, when a project ends all efforts fade and results from educational activities are not further used or taken up once funding has terminated.

    At the end of both sessions, ample discussion time and a "concluding remarks” session will allow for comments and suggestions on how to work around the issues identified during the sessions and on how to best use our knowledge, experience and resources for building and advancing ocean literacy in Europe and beyond.

    We invite you to submit your abstract through May 30.

    For further information concerning EMSEA15, visit our conference website and stay tuned by liking us on our new Facebook page!

    - by Martha Papathanassiou and Géraldine Fauville on behalf of the EMSEA15 organizing committee

    Tags:  conference  EMSEA 

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    NMEA 2015 registration is now open

    Posted By Lisa D. Tossey, Thursday, April 30, 2015

    NMEA 2015 logoRegistration is now available for our annual conference, which will be held June 29 through July 2 in Newport, RI

    Discounted early bird registration rates are available through May 31 (they've been extended!), and online registration will be available until June 24. 

    Exhibitor and vendor registration is also available here > 

    And don't forget to check out all the fun field trips and book your hotel room at our fabulous group rate, which is only available through June 7! Make your reservation here > 

    Tags:  conference 

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