The revival of Gamming in NMEA publications marks an absence of more than sixteen years. NMEA’s President’s Circle, made up of former presidents and leaders, contribute to this feature. Gamming is meant to 1) inspire, create, and pass on wisdom; 2) give recognition to unsung stars; 3) pass on stories, ideas, and dreams: 4) give meaning to our work as marine and aquatic educators; 5) learn from seasoned and experienced marine and aquatic educators. Comments may be directed to President’s Circle Coordinator Bill Hastie at:

 Gam (gam) 1. a social visit; 2. an exchange of visits between the crews of whaling ships at sea.

NMEA News | Volume 22, Issue 1, Spring 2006

Gamming with Bill Hastie

The thing I like about science is its tentativeness—a trait exactly opposite its public image—cold, hard facts unscathed by emotion and judged only by objectivity; a body of knowledge unchanged by the centuries; the highest accolade its followers bestow is to be declared “right.” Yet the body of knowledge science has accumulated is due almost exclusively to challenges to what was right and true, and a willingness (and the courage) to consider ideas that didn’t lay well with contemporary truths. That is the process and essence of science, and that process produces a set of “facts” that are simply the closest approximation to what we believe to be true at the time. This open door to new ideas is also what makes science compelling and exciting.

The work of Dr. Masaru Emoto of Japan recently opened that door and created a few waves in my usually calm world of water. Dr. Emoto has been photographing water crystals with some very interesting results. Using high-speed photography, he discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific human thoughts are directed at them. Dr. Emoto found that water from clear springs or water exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water or water exposed to negative thoughts produced photos of incomplete, asymmetrical crystal patterns with dull colors. In other words, Dr. Emoto’s work suggests that molecules of water are affected by human thoughts, words, and feelings, and that water somehow “remembers” these elements as it forms crystals.

Limited space here precludes the details, but Dr. Emoto has concluded that water does have the ability to copy and memorize information. Quoting from his book The Hidden Messages in Water (Beyond Words Publishing Co., Hillsboro, OR, 2004), “Water circulates around the globe, flowing through our bodies and spreading to the rest of the world. If we were capable of reading this information contained in the memory of water, we would read a story of epic proportions. To understand water is to understand the cosmos, the marvels of nature, and life itself.” That last sentence immediately reminded me of early statements about why we believed marine and aquatic education was so important. Perhaps it wasn’t an exaggeration.

The heavy weather in my water world came about halfway through his book, and tested my science open door policy. There can be little argument that water is a wonderfully unique substance: its solid form floats in its liquid form, it dissolves most other substances, and is extremely difficult to maintain in its pure form. The ability of water to dissolve other substances creates a “soup of life” that supplies the oceans with nutrients required for life, the very place we believe life originated on Earth.

Most of us believe that the ancient forming earth already contained water that eventually fell as rain and formed oceans (to put it simplistically). I taught this to students. But what if…water arrived on this planet in the form of lumps of ice from space. Satellite images actually show small mini-comets falling into the atmosphere at the rate of about 10 million each year. These are really balls of water, some weighing in at a hundred tons or more. Dr. Louis Frank, University of Iowa, first came up with this theory, and it has since been termed “credible” by NASA and the University of Hawaii.

And what if…what if water contained a memory of life when it came, as Dr. Emoto’s work suggests, forming the perfect medium from which earthly life could emerge—the oceans. Compelling isn’t it? Water, the life force itself. Water, the very essence of existence, to be protected and revered. Water, with a new meaning for marine and aquatic educators. Water, both fresh and salt indeed!

NMEA News | Volume 22, Issue 2, Summer 2006

Gamming with Jeff Sandler

Many years back, NMEA had absolutely no money and we struggled mightily just to keep Current alive. What we did have was spirit, and a belief that marine education was important. We believed then and still believe now that marine education is a gift to each generation.

As marine educators, our contribution to the well-being of the planet is to share our knowledge and our passion for the world of water. Our goal is to create a well informed public. A well informed public means people recognizing that our water planet is fragile, coupled with the knowledge and understanding of how best to care for it.

Therefore, a major focus of our work is always about providing solid science information. Equally important is the goal of affecting our students so their relationship to water becomes more heightened personally. I say this is of equal importance because if we hope to create an enlightened populace willing to act as positive stewards, then our audiences need to feel some kind of meaningful visceral connection to water. Providing information without passion just creates more stuff to know without the key ingredient—emotional attachment.

Another important goal is informing our audiences as to problems facing the world of water, coupled with ideas as to how we can protect it. However, we need to be cautious here.

Young students especially need to experience the magic and majesty of water before they get exposed to the problematic issues. If our audiences have not yet developed a personal, caring relationship to water prior to becoming exposed to its problems, there is a good chance they will not be receptive to stewardship. With this in mind, those of us who work with young students have the responsibility to excite the students as well as educate them.

So how do we prepare ourselves to address these goals as effectively as possible so that we can have maximum impact?

That is where NMEA fits in.

NMEA should always be about providing innovative ideas, the tools to put them in use, and the inspiration to want to implement them. Consistent with this, I take particular delight in the wonderful contribution “The Bridge” makes. NMEA is about its people. We are a network of like-minded professionals available for sharing and assistance.

We are also friends. I see NMEA as family. We are kindred spirits who have in common a love of water, and a desire to share our love and knowledge of it to others. My life has been enriched both personally and professionally by the wonderful people I have met and interacted with via NMEA. Whatever success I have had is shared by all those NMEA friends who have helped along the way.

I started this article by pointing out that in the old days NMEA was not about money, mostly because we had none. We were about spirit and a belief in our mission. I encourage our leadership to remember that, and always put people first. All other considerations, especially money, should be secondary.

Just as we hope to make our audiences feel more connected to the world of water, so should we have our members feel as warmly connected to our NMEA family as possible.

People first.