2nd NMEA Conference

August 3-6, Newark, Delaware (University of Delaware)
Theme: Marine Awareness: Teaching for the Future

President-Elect Renny Little (Photographer: unknown) Photo source: Volume 1, No. 1  Current  Newsletter

President-Elect Renny Little (Photographer: unknown) Photo source: Volume 1, No. 1 Current Newsletter

Executive Committee

President: Arie Korporaal (CA) (1976-77)
President-Elect: Warren (Renny) M. Little (MA)
Secretary: Richard Schlenker (ME)
Treasurer: Nancy Kaufman (DC)
Executive Secretary: Thayer Shafer (CA)

Board of Directors:

(1976-78): R. Wesley Batten (VA), Karen Hensel (NY), Barbara Klemm (HI), Nancy Richardson (NY), James Schweitzer (LA)

(1978-79) John Crowley (MA), Vicki Osis (OR), Robert Stegner (DE), Kenneth A. Stibolt (MD), and Art West (MA)

Honorary Member:

Thayer Shafer. Thayer was recognized for his role in organizing the first official NMEA conference and acting as NMEA's first Executive Secretary.

Conference Highlights:

Dr. Robert Stegner, now remembered through the Stegner Memorial Lecture Series, was a gracious host at the University and aboard his classic yacht. Concurrent sessions were organized around the theme, Marine Awareness: Educating for the Future.

The first Sea Grant workshop, coordinated by Dr. James McCloy (TX) was held. Hal Goodwin presided over a panel discussion on Sea Grant's role in marine education, and Sue Gammisch announced Sea Grant funding of the Marine Education Materials System (MEMS), which subsequently expanded into several regional distribution centers.

As quoted from the Fall 1977 Journal, Sea World: toward a greater understanding of the world of water, "The conference of the newly organized Association, held in the nation's first state, was attended by some two hundred marine educators including representatives from public and private schools, aquaria, colleges, government agencies, the Sea Grant Program, and lay citizens from 35 states including Alaska and Hawaii. The Second National Conference was organized around two goals. First, the conference was designed to broaden the scope of marine education.....and define marine literacy as an interdisciplinary venture. The second goal was to provide a forum in order to continue the dialogue on how best to expand the marine experience to achieve the Association's goal in promoting a marine literate society."

As quoted from the Reprint of Ripples, Fall NYSMEA Newsletter in Current Volume 1, No. 1: "More than one hundred and fifty 'marine educators' from Maine to Florida, Alaska to Hawaii gathered on the campus of the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware on August 3rd for the second annual three-day conference of the National Marine Education Association. The theme of the conference was: 'Marine Awareness, Teaching for the Future,' and those of us in attendance came away with our heads just 'swimming' with ideas on how to raise the awareness of our students and colleagues."....."Dr. Athelstan Spilhaus, founder of Sea Grant blew our minds with a vision of building cities at sea, as a Naval architect would. Dr. John Ellis, Deputy Commissioner of Education, gave us a glimpse of what the quality of life would be like if the ocean were allowed to continue to die, as Lake Erie did. Barbara Klemm, Assistant Director of Curriculum Research at the University of Hawaii refers to her effort as 'marinating the curriculum,' and the New England Aquarium uses as its slogan: 'To Make Known the World of Water.'"

This was the first conference attended by Lundie Spence. She attended both the conference and the Sea Grant workshop, looking for a job. She met Dr. Dick Frankenberg from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who had one of the first Sea Grant Education Awards. He offered her a temporary job which lasted 20 years.

NMEA Gavel (Photograph taken 2004 by Susan Leach Snyder)

NMEA Gavel (Photograph taken 2004 by Susan Leach Snyder)

Photograph: Courtesy of R. Little

Photograph: Courtesy of R. Little

In an e-mail written in 2004 to the NMEA history chair (Susan Snyder), Renny Little (NMEA President 1977-78) stated, "I was pleased to hear from Don Hudson (ME) recently that the gavel is still in use, and enjoyed seeing it in a couple of your pictures. It is an old caulking hammer that I bought in Essex, MA in the spring of 1977. If I remember correctly, I presented it to the Society at the Delaware meeting.

We started a journal of the officers at that time, but I understand that it has been lost in the transfer of officers. Can't remember when the tie came into being."

"We had some long nights in Delaware too, but still got some good dancing in as we did in Washington and Milwaukee. It was the last time that most of us saw Bob Stegner as he died before the next meeting in Washington. We set up the Stegner Lecture in his memory. I'm glad you are perpetuating it. He was a dedicated marine educator."

In a letter written in 2004 to the NMEA History Chair, Thayer Shafer (1977 Executive Secretary) stated, "At the Delaware Conference, in addition to 'Renny" Little presenting the caulking hammer to the association, he also presented me with an inscribed antique brass ship's binnacle and Arie Korporaal presented me with the first Honorary Membership."

Additional Highlights of 1977:

Tax exemption was granted to NMEA in care of the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C. on March 28, 1977.

The "Memorandum of Agreement between the United States Office of Education and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration" was signed on August 25, 1977. This agreement was designed: "...to encourage the development of an integrated and coordinated national, state, regional, and local marine environment education program."


In 1977, NMEA members received 3 publications; one was a newsletter (Current: National Marine Education Association) and the other two were issues of the journal (Sea World: toward a greater understanding of the world of water).

Current was begun to provide members with information about NMEA and as a service from NMEA. Current began as a newsletter in the fall of 1977.

Right: This was the first edition of Current: National Marine Education Association. The editor was Henri Rauschenbach (MA), the Publicity Chairperson: Barbara Waters (MA), and the Field Coordinator: Les Picker (ME). This issue was sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant Program & 4-H Marine Education Program.

In a section of the newsletter titled "Lines from the President," President Renny Little reported that the 1977 conference gross receipts were $250. He also shared that a sizable subsidy had been made to NMEA by Project COAST. He reminded members that at the annual meeting, two resolutions had been passed: "One is to urge cooperative efforts between the Association and those who regulate vessel operations, and the other to encourage the efforts of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in this area."

Linda Sadler, Coastal Awareness Coordinator for the Office of CZM in Washington D.C. summarized the latest report of the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere. She quoted part of the report, "A National Marine Education Association has been formed and the publication of a Journal of Marine Education (Sea World) has begun, providing a nationwide forum for the interchange of marine-related curriculum materials and ideas originating at the local level. NACOA believes that there is a worthwhile role that can and should be played by the Federal Government in support of these local efforts."

In this edition of Current, Prentice K. Stout (RI) had a column in which he reviewed "Marine Literature" and Les Picker (ME) reported on "Sea Grant Happenings." The response to the call for information came from 16 states and was included in the section of the newsletter called "State Room". Two additions in the upcoming winter newsletter were announced: (1) the "Letter to the Editor" Column and (2) "Profile" (of a Marine Educator) Column.

In 1977, The Journal of Marine Education was taken over briefly by Sea World and given the name Sea World. Two issues were published in 1977, one in the fall and the other in the winter. This journal was published by Sea World Communications. Jon Walker is listed as the Publisher and Richard C. Murphy as Managing Editor.

Photograph by Susan Leach Snyder

Left: The fall issue began with, "We have a new name! Sea World is more exciting and has greater appeal than The Journal of Marine Education. Remembering that our objective is to spread the word about the sea and man's relationship to it, we must reach as many teachers, kids and even parents as possible. The name Sea World, when taken literally, conveys an important message. Although our name has changed, the direction and format of our publication remain the same. The feature section contains informative articles of broad appeal, and the curriculum section is specifically directed toward the teacher and classroom use."

The Fall issue focused on the coastline and coastal zone management. Also in the issue was a special report by Arie R. Korporaal (CA) (1st NMEA President) titled "Marine Awareness: Educating for the Future...A Report on the Second National Conference of the National Marine Education Association." In his report, he discussed the conference, documented the officiers of NMEA that had been elected to begin serving in 1978, and discussed future conference sites. Plans for future conferences were as follows: August, 1978: Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington; 1979: aboard the "Delta Queen" as it cruises the Mississippi River; 1980: either Hawaii or Florida.

Photograph by Susan Leach Snyder

Right: The focus of this issue was to make the reader aware of some of the art and literature of the sea. In his editorial, Richard C. Murphy stated, "We are emotional creatures and need more than science to create in ourselves the fundamental concerns required to wisely manage our ocean