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Convenor's Welcome

Leafy Seadragon

On behalf of the Organising Committee "Welcome to the 1998 National Marine Education Society of Australasia Conference".

The Conference aims to bring together those involved in marine and coastal education programs from throughout Australasia to:

  • explore the concept of biodiversity when describing Australia's coastal and marine environments, with a focus on temperate environments
  • investigate strategies used in finding out about the marine and coastal environment
  • engage in opportunities to link understandings of coastal and marine environments to best practice education programs for schools and community groups
  • further develop links between those involved in marine and coastal education

The Conference title "Seaweeds, Syngnathids and Seashores" was selected to highlight the unique nature of our southern shores and the need for their active conservation. The area around the entrance to Port Phillip Bay has more algal species than the entire Japanese archipelago. The family of fish called the Sygnathidae, which includes seadragons, seahorses and pipefish has over half of its species world-wide in southern Australia.

It is these and the many other unique organisms in our temperate waters, and the habitats which support them, that require greater awareness and protection in the face of increasing pressure on the marine and coastal environment. Therein lies the challenge to marine and coastal educators - to develop effective strategies to improve awareness and effect conservation of our coastal and marine environments.

Through a range of excellent Keynote Addresses. Workshops and Field trips, Panel discussions. Displays, informal sessions and, of course the Conference Dinner, we will promote marine education as a key strategy for marine conservation.

As 1998 is also "International Year of the Ocean" it is a timely reminder for us all to also consider education and conservation of the largest single environment on the Planet. The Seaweek theme and presentation will provide some direction for this.

We sincerely hope that your visit to southern Port Phillip Bay is both stimulating and rewarding and that your stay is also an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Mark Rodrigue
Conference Convener
Vice President, MESA (1997-8)

Conference Committee

Kerri Erler

Conference Coordinator

Mark Rodrigue

Conference Convener - Convenor Saturday

Harry Breidahl

Convenor Saturday

Jody Plecas

Convenor Sunday

Sharon Hinton

Convenor Sunday

Gayle Seddon

Press Liaison

Peter Johnson

A.V and site co ordinator

Michelle Lauder

Display coordinator

Faye Donaldson, Maragret O'Toole, Nancy Tzsernjavski

Mesa Executive

Gun emplacements at Point Nepean,
venue for the '98 MESA Conference.


Ian Tibbetts, School of Marine Science, University of QLD.

Vice- President & Undercurrents Editor

Mark Rodrigue Marine & Freshwater Resources Institute Marine Discovery Centre


Jan Oliver

Marine Parks, Queensland

Membership Secretary

Brian Trench

Cambden Education Centre NSW.


Sue Scott. CSIRO Education Centre Brisbane

Council Members

Terri Erbar, Judith Ham, Regina Mageriowski, Greg Shroud

Seaweek Coordinator

Barbara Jensen

PO Box 664 Byron Bay 2481

Our Sponsors for this Conference

Department of Environment, Sport and Territories

Coast Action / Coast Care

Marine and Fresh Water Resources Institute

We would also like to thank the following people and organisations for the help and support.

  • MESA executive for their guidance down the rocky road to conference organising
  • Melbourne Water for the provision of the primary kits and other bits
  • Parks Victoria
  • Gould league
  • The Portsea Camp
  • Arts Western Australia for funding "Cry of the Sea Dragon"
  • The makers of the sea dragon that accompanied us on our journey across the Bay
  • Bob Nicholson, Culture Officer of the Wurundjeri Tribe land & Compensation Heritage Council Inc.
  • Provender Pantry for the catering for Saturday
  • Special thanks to Peter Marganov of Coast Action
  • Our special volunteers for the conference
  • Last, but not least, the very hard working committee