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Spotlight on NEOSEC Ocean Literacy Summit Planners – Valerie Perini and Northeastern University Marine Science Center

Valerie Perini is the NEOSEC representative from the Northeastern University Marine Science Center (NUMSC) and is serving on this year’s Ocean Literacy Summit Planning Committee. Northeastern University is the site for the first day of the summit and the Marine Science Center is hosting one of the field trips at its scenic marine research and educational facility on the peninsula at historic East Point in Nahant, Massachusetts.   

Val has been the NEOSEC representative for two years. “With the event being hosted in Boston, I knew I wanted to be involved in the Summit Planning Committee. NEOSEC connects NU to other folks doing similar work in the region.” Val had attended a summit as a Northeastern graduate student. When her boss asked if she was interested in being the NEOSEC representative, she responded, “Yes, I would love to be involved!”

NEOSEC’s mission aligns with that of the NUMSC. “Our mission in the Outreach program is to connect resources of the center to the community, translate knowledge to meet societal needs, inspire interest in marine science careers, and promote environmental literacy. This is key to NEOSEC’s mission as well. Knowing about those other NEOSEC organizations is so valuable. Scientists can share knowledge.”

Val has been part of NU MSC Outreach since her college days. “My background is marine science and research. I studied at Northeastern for both my bachelor’s and master’s. I did an internship with the MSC Outreach Program (through NU’s coop program.) It opened my eyes to being a science communicator and that really resonated with me. I stayed connected with the Outreach program since then. I’ve worked in all different roles at the Marine Science Center and it was field experiences in Nahant and elsewhere that showed me marine science is for me – nature as a classroom.”

 

 

Val is enthusiastic about marine education. We work with all ages. It’s what I love. You have to fine tune your communication skills, more complex with older students, and with younger students, show them how fun nature is. I particularly like helping kids who haven’t had this exposure before, such as recent immigrants who just moved here. It gives them a sense of place. You have to inspire appreciation first before you can expect them to preserve and protect the environment.”

Something Val is concerned with and thinks about a lot, is how to promote diversity and inclusion in the sciences. “What we are striving for but struggle to achieve is diversity and inclusion in this field. Especially at the graduate level and higher, the field is not very diverse. Our goal is to involve people from different backgrounds, cultures, and economically or otherwise disadvantaged groups, in order to achieve a broader perspective that will benefit the field. When we lead a school group in which a majority of students are non-white, it’s tough because the students might have a hard time seeing themselves in this career because of the lack of diversity in the educators and scientists. They think, ‘They don’t look like me.’ I want them to know this is attainable.” 

Val was recently promoted from Outreach Educator to Outreach Program Coordinator. “My job involves less teaching now and more directing and overseeing the program. Our K-12 programs involve a lot of communication with staff, teachers, and scientists around both logistics and curricula/content. Another part of my job is identifying and applying for grants to support our programs, and especially to promote the involvement of economically or otherwise disadvantaged groups, and work towards improving that diversity and inclusion problem I mentioned earlier.  In my new role, I also manage the Marketing and Communications for the Marine Science Center, and work with faculty to help them articulate the broader impacts of their research, which is important for obtaining research funding.”

In looking at her career, Val gets satisfaction from seeing the growth of others. “I’ve been on quite a journey, starting as intern and now as director. Under my guidance and the guidance of my supervisor, seeing the staff I supervise grow and develop, helping them access opportunities, is really powerful for me. I’m proud of the culture of the outreach program.” 

Val, thank you for your passion for your students, your staff, marine education, and NEOSEC! 

Spotlight on NEOSEC Ocean Literacy Summit Planners – Nina Quaratella and the North American Marine Environment Protection Association

Nina Quaratella is the Education and Outreach Manager at the North American Marine Environment Protection Association. Along with her day job, she is serving on the NEOSEC Planning Committee for this year’s Ocean Literacy Summit.  “I got involved in the NEOSEC Summit Planning committee right when I began working for NAMEPA. NAMEPA has had a presence within NEOSEC for several years but wanted to get more involved. Also, as a young professional I did not have experience planning a Summit. I am using this opportunity to gain experience in what goes into planning an event like this. It takes a lot of work, collaboration, motivation, and organization!”

NAMEPA embodies the NEOSEC mission to leverage and strengthen the region’s extraordinary ocean science and educational assets to advance understanding of the vital connections between people and the ocean. Nina describes her role as the NEOSEC contact for NAMEPA: “As Education and Outreach Manager, it is naturally my role to work alongside other conservation groups and educators for NAMEPA. The bulk of NAMEPA staff work more closely with shipping companies and those in the marine industry, and my role is connecting NAMEPA’s educational materials and programs to scientists, conservationists, and formal and non-formal educators.”

Nina says, “I fell into education because I like people and writing.” She has her science chops too with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a double minor in Biology and Geospatial Technologies. After getting her degree, Nina served two AmeriCorps’ service terms followed by four seasonal jobs in environmental education and habitat restoration, with a marine science focus. All experiences were valuable, but she explains “After a lot of moving around, I was ready for a permanent position. My supervisor at [fellow NEOSEC Member] NBNERR was supportive and I started applying.” Nina describes joining NAMEPA as an odd story. The cascading events are a fine example of what to do when life hands you lemons – make lemonade! After a strong preliminary interview, Nina went on a final interview in her native Rhode Island. The interview did not go well at all. Dejected, she went to her family home in Westerly and hoped to raise her spirits playing volleyball that night. She blew out her knee. Temporarily confined to a wheelchair, she couldn’t return immediately to her seasonal field educator job at NBNERR’s Prudence Island. Unstoppable, she went to see her cousin in a surf competition that just happened to be hosted by NAMEPA. Seeing her wheel through the beach, the co-founder and executive director Carleen Lyden Walker rushed over and handed her a bag with NAMEPA information. Nina read it over, called NAMEPA, and Carleen is now her supervisor. Nina concludes, “Everything happens for a reason.”

Nina is coming up on her 1st year anniversary with NAMEPA. In addition to her responsibilities coordinating education programs, Nina has assumed responsibility running community cleanups, coordinating the NAMEPA college and high school chapter program, and managing the annual art contest. Nina says, “We have the kids creatively express themselves. The theme is ‘Better Shipping for a Better Future’. We use the winning art work in our calendar.” Nina is enthusiastic about educating people that do not ordinarily get exposed to marine science. “We have partnerships with Boys & Girls Clubs. We find ways to put resources in new places such as Title 1 schools.” She engages her participants. “I try to end a program with a ‘What can you do?’ activity. I try to connect students to the ocean to inspire the next generation of ocean stewards. I just taught a session and the students were already so well informed about ocean issues.”

Nina is proud of the many free educational downloads available at the NAMEPA website: https://namepa.net/education/materials/preview/ You can download educator guides, activities books, flyers, and more on such topics as “8 Ways to Use Less Plastic,” “An Educator’ s Guide to Marine Debris” in English and Spanish, “Exploring the Marine Environment – Activities & Games for Kids of All Ages,” and “Marine Industry Learning Guide.”  Nina sees download requests from around the world!

In addition to educating students and the public, NAMEPA brings marine industry into the conversation about sustainable practices.  Most of NAMEPA’s members are shipping companies. NAMEPA hosts large events where there is a marine presence such as a recent event in Houston and an upcoming event in New York City. These are attended by conservation groups, educators, and the industry. Nina hasn’t seen enough appreciation of the role that marine industry plays. She points out, “Much of what we use has spent part of its life on a ship.” Forging strong relationships with the marine industry is important to address marine-related concerns. Nina states, “The industry is receptive to sustainability messages. Some have to make changes [due to regulations], but a lot want to protect the ocean. They rely on it.”

Nina’s biggest concern is that many people think the ocean is too far gone, that we can’t do anything. “I don’t think that is true at all! Their small changes can make a difference. I don’t want hopelessness.” Thank you Nina for your positive can-do attitude and contributions to planning the 2018 Ocean Literacy Summit!

Educational Passages’ Global Ocean Literacy Program

Somewhere between Portugal and Wales, West sprung a leak in its hull.  Don’t worry. West is an unmanned 5′ sailboat originally launched from Maine, recovered in Portugal two years later, restored, relaunched and found, again, in Wales. Portuguese messages stored in the hull were dried, digitized and shared with the American students who launched the vessel four years prior.   West is one of 80 mini-boats finding their way around the global oceans.  These mini-boats are part of the Global Ocean Literacy Program developed through educationalpassages.com.  Learn more by emailing us at miniboats@educationalpassages.com.

Marine Science and Mosaic Art Program

The Northeastern University Marine Science Center presents the Marine Science and Mosaic Art Program – April 18-21. Students in grades 7-12 are invited to join us to learn about local and far away marine habitats, and build a marine mosaic representing these habitats.  Click here for more information.

Hurricane Island Summer Programs

The Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership provides extraordinary opportunities to discover what it takes to make a difference in the world – as students, scientists, citizens, and leaders! Sitting 12 miles off the coast of Rockland, ME, this beautiful off-the-grid community is an ideal setting for middle and high school programs in science, sustainability, and leadership. Our hands-on 1-2 week summer programs invite students to immerse themselves in the natural world, challenging them to explore and ask questions like trained naturalists in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Programs are small (with a maximum of 12 students) and are led by trained field scientists and educators, providing a level of instructor expertise and maturity you won’t find in other summer experiences. We have programs in Sustainability (HS), Marine Biology (HS and MS), and Island Ecology (HS and MS). Financial Aid is available! No day is complete without hiking, swimming, sailing, or rock climbing. Come participate in our field science and leadership programs and make memories and friendships that last a lifetime! Visit our website, email programs@hurricaneisland.net, or call 207 867 6050 for more information and to register! 
 
 
 
Are you interested in becoming a bird bander? This year Hurricane Island is happy to offer Beginner Bird Banding and Advanced Bird Banding workshops taught by world-class instructors from The Institute for Bird PopulationsBird banding data are useful in both research and management projects. By banding birds, we can identify individuals and track their dispersal and migration, behavior and social structure, life-span and survival rate, and reproductive success and population growth. Visit our website, email programs@hurricaneisland.net, or call 207 867 6050 for more information and to register!

Upcoming Events

Marine Technology for Teachers and Students (MaTTS) Project

– Now accepting applications!

The Marine Technology for Teachers and Students (MaTTS) Project, based at the University of Rhode Island’s Inner Space Center and the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus, will be accepting high school teachers for a year-long professional development opportunity. The project focuses on providing teachers and students hands on and virtual experiences with new technologies related to exploring the global ocean and discovering pathways to marine careers using these new tools. Participating teachers will engage colleagues and students at their school, receive training, and gain experience in marine and ocean science technologies and receive a stipend.
Application deadline is Friday, January 8, 2015.
For more information and to apply, please visit: www.mattsproject.org.

High School Marine Science Symposium

The Massachusetts Marine Educators (MME) have been hosting a High School Marine Science Symposium since 1984. This event attracts hundreds of high schoolers and their teachers to come together and learn about research and practice around marine science topics and issues.  This event features both keynote speakers in a plenary format as well as hands-on break-out workshops led by scientists, policymakers, graduate students, and others engaged in marine-related careers. It is co-sponsored by the Northeastern University Marine Science Center, with additional support from Salem State University.

Annual Science Contest

american salvage logonamepa logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CONTACT; Jason Clark

September 1, 2015                                                                  (504) 220-0453

jclark@americansalvage.org

Alexandria, VA – The Education Committees of the American Salvage Association (ASA) together with the North American Marine Environmental Protection Association (NAMEPA) announce a special awards competition for marine science projects conducted at the high school and undergraduate college levels. This initiative is intended to highlight the importance of preserving the marine environment through the use of sound environmental practices, to raise awareness of the art and science of marine salvage, and to promote careers in the salvage and maritime industries.

Experimental science or engineering projects involving marine sciences that were conducted in 2015 at the high school or undergraduate college level are eligible. Projects should focus on one of the following broad marine science areas: Marine Environmental Care, Naval Architecture, Marine Engineering, Ocean Engineering, Meteorology, Underwater Robotics, Air Emissions from Ships, Alternative Fuel Supplies for Ships, Oil and Chemical Spill Remediation, Offshore Well Control, Diving Systems, Marine Biology, Marine Ecosystems, Marine Microorganisms, Ship Design, Ship Breaking, Recovery of Sunken Ships, Cargo, Fuel or Pollutants, related Marine Salvage or Marine Environmental projects.

Project abstracts of 300 words or less and a technical paper describing the project will be accepted from September 1, 2015- October 1, 2015. Winners will be notified on or before October 15, 2015.

Competition will be divided into 2 groups for prizes: High School 9-12th grades and College/University undergraduate students. 1st place winners will be invited to receive their awards at an industry function event of the American Salvage Association and/or the North American Marine Environmental Protection Association (NAMEPA) in the fall of 2015.

All papers will be considered for awards by both ASA and NAMEPA. Papers may win prizes in both contests.

 

For additional information on the competition and to submit an entry, please go to:  http://www.americansalvage.org/science-fair/

 

The American Salvage Association’s (ASA) Education Committee is committed to promoting general maritime industry interest with a focus on marine salvage, and to help develop maritime industry expertise through interactive experience with ASA salvage professionals 

The North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) is an independent, marine industry-led association which engages maritime businesses, government and the public to “Save our Seas” by promoting sound environmental practices. NAMEPA operates as a nongovernmental organization committed to preserving the marine environment through educating seafarers, port communities and students about the need and strategies for protecting this important global resource. Visit www.namepa.net

World Oceans Day is June 8th

      The theme for this year is Healthy Oceans, healthy planet. Like a human heart, the oceans are tied to global health. This metaphor can easily be tied to many of the ocean literacy principles – don’t miss this opportunity to educate!

World Ocean Day Activities from NEOSEC members:

Buttonwood Park Zoo

Monday, June 8          11:00am – 3:00pm

Free with Zoo admission

Come celebrate World Oceans Day at the Zoo! This is an opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the importance of protecting our oceans and everyday actions they can take to help protect them.

New England Aquarium
Blue Discoveries Family Day: World Oceans Day Festival

Sunday, June 7          11:00am – 3:00pm
All activities are free and open to the public! NOTE this does not include Aquarium admission.

World Oceans Day is a time to celebrate the efforts of our entire community in protecting the blue planet. The New England Aquarium is teaming up with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to invite the public to a family-friendly day that showcases the conservation efforts of community groups, vendors and non-profits.

NAMEPA will be at Capitol Hill Oceans Week in Washington
DC
Saturday, June 6th    10:00am – 2:00pm
Activities are free with cost of admission
World Oceans Day activities include a visit from Coast Guard Auxiliary on safe boating practices, sustainable seafood, hands on activities on intro to the ocean and marine debris, water conservation, and a rov in the Marsh Trek exhibit (weather permitting), plus crafts and a scavenger hunt.

Environmental Protection Agency Introduces Eco Student Blog

The EPA’s recently established The Eco Student Blog is an on-line place to read about what kids are doing to protect the environment. Teachers, students, parents are encouraged to pass along their favorite websites about nature, plants, or water for possible inclusion in a future blog entry. The blog also welcomes postings by kids 13 and up describing an environmental service project or other environment-related activity they are involved in. Contact Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator Wendy Dew at dew.wendy@epa.gov, (303) 312-6605 (office) or (303) 532-7729 (cell) for more info.

Environmental Protection Agency Introduces Eco Student Blog

The EPA’s recently established The Eco Student Blog is an on-line place to read about what kids are doing to protect the environment. Teachers, students, parents are encouraged to pass along their favorite websites about nature, plants, or water for possible inclusion in a future blog entry. The blog also welcomes postings by kids 13 and up describing an environmental service project or other environment-related activity they are involved in. Contact Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator Wendy Dew at dew.wendy@epa.gov, (303) 312-6605 (office) or (303) 532-7729 (cell) for more info.