Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Georgia Sea Turtle Center at the 2008 National Marine Educators Association Conference

AAAG Note: Since Dylan the Sea Turtle was released in June, we have been following the Georgia Sea Turtle Center in Jekyll Island as they post information on Dylan and other sea turtles in need. This story is from their blog. We hope you enjoy it. Keep up the good work!

One World, One Water:
NMEA 2008 Conference

Beautiful Savannah, GA was the site for the 2008 National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) conference. NMEA is comprised of educators and researchers devoted to the study of marine and fresh water environments. Attendees gathered from all over the world to share recent research findings and innovative education ideas. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center had a strong presence at the conference as Alicia Marin and myself (Sarah Mathias) both were honored to be chosen to present and exhibit.

Visitors to our exhibit were often greeted by us as they browsed the table filled with info on school programs, adoption and membership options, walkway to wonder brick info, and much more. A laptop computer display allowed passersby to take a virtual tour of the Center, and thanks to the wonderful world wide web we could track our released patients online right at the table!

On the first day of the conference I presented "Swim into Learning with Sea Turtles." The audience was taken on a journey through the Georgia Sea Turtle Center learning how they can utilize our facility either through a virtual visit, our outreach programs, or even through our website! At the end of the program the room was instantly transformed into a treatment room filled with four sick and injured sea turtles, plush ones of course! The audience became sea turtle doctors as I presented "Sea Turtle Rescue 911," an innovative program designed for high school students.

Later in the week Alicia presented her master's thesis "Sun, Sand, and Sea Turtles: Conservation through Non-formal Education. Alicia wowed the crowd as she presented several craft, game, and program ideas that were used for a summer camp she created for children in the Caribbean. At the end of her slideshow she brought the fun of her camp and the GSTC to Savannah as she taught Amazing Adaptations. Amazing Adaptations is one of the GSTC's most popular programs in which one lucky person is turned into a sea turtle and is one of the many activities created for her thesis.

The last day of the conference offered participants the chance to explore Georgia's beautiful coast, and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center was proud to be chosen as a field trip option. Eighteen educators got the chance to take a journey through the Center as loggerhead sea turtles, visit with our patients, and go behind the scenes to view the food prep area, treatment room, surgical suite, and x-ray room.

One World, One Water was a great experience from which we gained new insight into marine science education and visited with colleagues from all over the world. We were proud to be a part of such an extraordinary gathering of exceptional people and hope to attend future conferences.

~Sarah Mathias, Educator

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