SAME Conference attendees tour the campus at USM's Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, Miss. (Courtesy SAME)

Each field seems to have their own professional organization.  In the field of marine science education, that organization is the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA).  The Southern Association of Marine Educators (SAME) is the regional branch of NMEA and serves to build relationships and collaborations among marine and environmental organizations and educators throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Discovery Hall Programs (DHP) educators and staff have been involved in the Southern Association of Marine Educators (SAME) for decades. From being members to giving presentations, developing newsletters, serving on the board, as well as hosting local and national conferences, individuals in DHP have been integral to the success of SAME.  

The 2018 annual meeting of the SAME chapter took place on November 2 and 3 at the newly opened Marine Education Center, the education campus for USM’s Gulf Coast Research Lab in Oceans Springs, Miss. DHP was well-represented at the conference, with educators Greg and Mendel Graeber, Virginia Driskell, Chris Flight, JoAnn Moody, and Lauren Still in attendance.

DHP educator Greg Graeber on the R/V Alabama Discovery for a lesson in the estuary ecosystem.

Marine Education Center Director Chris Snyder spoke to conference attendees about the new education center, giving guests a tour of new classrooms and outdoor learning spaces. He explained the integration of resilience and aspects sustainability in the design and construction of the center, a much-needed replacement to the former J.L. Scott Marine Education Center, which was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Presentations included an introduction to iNaturalist, a citizen-science based website and online social network developed for mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity around the world. DHP Educator Greg Graeber eloquently terms it “a social media site for science geeks.”

During the conference, new officers were announced at the business meeting. DHP’s own Greg Graeber is the new President-elect, and John Duprius of St. Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette, La. is joining the group as Treasurer.  We wish calm seas and active members for Greg and look forward to hearing more about SAME activities in the months to come.