Saturday, July 2, 2011

Project Represented at National Marine Educator's Conference

This week, I had the opportunity to do two talks about our work at the National Marine Educator's Conference in Boston, MA.  Although it's called the National Marine Educator's conference, attendees included people from not just the continental U.S., but Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa and even Australia. Despite the differences in the environments in which we work, the challenges seem to be similar, and there have been some themes in the talks I've been to:

  • How to better integrate the oceans into what kids are learning in school (one presentation mentioned that 50% of people in the U.S. live within 50 miles of the coast, and even in coastal areas, there is very little taught about the oceans and their importance!); 
  • Working with volunteers - how important they are in marine education;
  • Increasing learning about the oceans by using a multi-disciplinary approach, such as incorporating art and nature journaling;
  • Using partnerships to accomplish our goals.
One of my talks was on the successful partnership established through the Marine Debris to Energy Project - made up of Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, NH Sea Grant, UNH Cooperative Extension and the University of Georgia, and how we've been able to do even more marine debris removal work by working with the NH Commercial Fishermen's Association, NH Fish and Game, and NH Port Authority. We've removed over 60 tons of marine debris from the environment in about 15 months - something that couldn't have happened without us all working together!

I also spoke about our Whales & Marine Debris web site, which maps sightings of whales and litter. I was happy to have lots of formal and informal educators in the room, and to hear their feedback. We've been working on lesson plans to accompany the site, which we'll be sending to them to hopefully test out. We'll also post it here once we get it uploaded to the web.

I'm headed down to Boston again today and looking forward to talks on whales, marine debris, and more on integrating marine science experiences into classrooms.

Enjoy the holiday weekend! 

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