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Southern Association of
Marine Educators (SAME)

Making known the world of water, both fresh and salt.

SAME's 2005 Annual Conference
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Dauphin Island, AL

The 2005 SAME conference was to be held at J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium in Biloxi, but Hurricane Katrina changed our plans drastically. The hurricane destroyed the center’s interpretive areas and gift shop, and all of the exhibits and animals were lost. Most of the records and publications at NMEA’s national office, housed there at the Marine Education Center, were also destroyed, washed away in a 24 to 27-foot tidal surge. Dr. Sharon Walker and her staff have moved their base of operations to the Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs. Many of their structured programs will be implemented “on the road” during this academic year. Their Project Marine Discovery Student Mini-Camps, Teacher Workshops and Institutes, and National Ocean Sciences Bowl will be held at their new location on the GCRL campus. Perhaps the most difficult part of this transition, as Shelia Brown portrayed for us at the SAME conference, is that their students are spread all over the country. Some low-income families are still without a place to live. Many parents have lost their jobs. Many of the students who came to J.L. Scott year after year cannot yet return to their schools on the Mississippi coast. For more information on the impacts of Katrina, read the Fall 2005 issue of Sea Briefs on MASGC’s Web site:

Dauphin Island Sea Lab came to our rescue and offered to host the 2005 SAME conference. We are very grateful to John Dindo, Denise Keaton, Jenny Cook, Joan Turner, Greg Graeber, Mendel Graeber, and the DISL kitchen staff for making our weekend a huge success. The conference was sponsored by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and the National Science Foundation. Through a grant, participants were able to be with us all weekend for a minimal registration fee and also received a one-year membership to SAME and NMEA.

The themes of the conference were Aquatic Invasive Species of the Gulf of Mexico and Marine Biotechnology. We had four excellent speakers: Dr. Charles Jacoby of University of Florida, Tami Wells of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Dr. Scott Spear of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, and Joshua Cheshier of Mississippi State University GeoResources Institutes. Participants chose from three wonderful field trips: a kayak trip out to Sand Island, a tour of Fort Gaines, and a cruise on Mobile Bay aboard the A.E. Verrill.

Chuck Jacoby talks to the group about some of our most invasive species.

Tami Wells tells us about the use of GIS to map locations of invasive plant species.

Dianne Lindstedt and Beth Hines arrive safely on Sand Island.

Kayakers enjoy a beautiful sunset as they paddle back to Dauphin Island.

Participants on the kayaking field trip collect seashells and sand
samples from Sand Island.

A Great Blue Heron keeps a close eye on the kayak group.

Joan Turner and her beagle, Chewy, are a perfect kayak team.

Chewy shows off his specially-fitted life vest.

We returned to Dauphin Island after a perfect sunset.




The annual conference of the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) is held in July. The next few NMEA conferences will be in New York, New York (2006, our 30th anniversary), Portland, Maine (2007), Savannah, Georgia (2008), and Monterey, California (2009). SAME offers scholarships for several of its members to attend the NMEA conference each year. Plan to attend one of these so you can get the “big picture” on marine and aquatic education and network with other educators across the country.

This site is hosted by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program
Louisiana Marine Education Resources Web site.