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International Marine Education News

Ever since John Tomkin first lead a party of 23 Australian marine educators to the west coast of the USA in 1990, MESA members have visited a wide variety of overseas venues. You can take a virtual tour beyond our shores to experience all manner of marine education events and opportunities.

Updated in October 2010 by Harry Breidahl (MESA International Committee Convener).
National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) Conference 2010

NMEA is the USA based equivalent of MESA here in Australia.

Each year in June or July (summer holiday for schools in the USA), NMEA holds a major national conference. In July 2010 I was able to attend the NMEA conference held in Tennessee.

A number of other MESA members have been active on the international scene, especially by working with NMEA, and Australia is now regarded as an international leader in marine education through our contribution to organizations such as IPMEN (see below).

More on NMEA ..


NMEA Conference 2011 (Boston)

The NMEA 2011 conference will be held in Boston. The conference dates are June 29 to July 3, 2011 and the venue will be the Northeastern University, close to downtown Boston. One exciting piece of news is that NMEA 2011 delegates will be able to stay at the conference venue until July 5 (to celebrate July 4th in Boston).

Full details are not yet available so contact Harry Breidahl at if you are keen to learn more, especially in relation to important international meetings planned for June 27.
  Boston video Early information  
World Environmental Education Congress WEEC 2011 (Brisbane)

International travel is not always required to attend an international conference. AAEE will host the WEEC in Brisbane. The conference dates are July 19 to July 23, 2011.

It would be great to see a strong marine education component of this International conference.

International Aquarium Congress 2012

The International Aquarium Congress (IAC) planned for Cape Town in South Africa in September 2012 may also be of interest to MESA members.

While it is early days yet for this conference, MESA members may be interested to know that there are currently plans to include an education strand in this conference. Contact Harry Breidahl at if you are interested in learning more.

International Pacific Marine Educators Network (IPMEN)

MESA members have been most active on the international scene through our support of an organization called IPMEN. You are invited to be part of this growing international effort to safeguard the health of the ocean and the communities who depend upon it.

IPMEN currently has active members around the Pacific and further afield. Membership of two IPMEN discussion groups is informal. If you are already a Facebook member, just search for the IPMEN Facebook Group and join. To join the IPMEN Google Group simply go to and sign in.


IPMEC, Honolulu Hawaii , January 2007

The International Pacific Marine Education Conference (IPMEC) was a direct result of the One Ocean Marine Forum (OOMF) held in July 2005. Originally planned to be held in Fiji, the conference was moved to Hawaii as a result of a political coup in Fiji.

Around 100 marine educators from 18 nations attended this conference in Honolulu to share resources and build a network aimed at ensuring the health of the Pacific Ocean and the communities who depend upon it. All IPMEC presentations are available at


Ocean Exploration

In May 2002 MESA member, Harry Breidahl attended the USA Government sponsored International Global Ocean Exploration (IGOE) Workshop in Paris France. One result of this Workshop was The Exploration of the Seas report to the US Congress.

I have also been fortunate enough to have been invited to work as an international educator aboard USA deep-sea research vessels in September 2002 and in September 2003.

Two examples of educators participating in international deep-sea exploration programs are in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.


IPMEN 2010 Conference (Fiji)

The IPMEN 2010 conference was held in Fiji in July 2010. It brought together 87 participants from a dozen countries to address ways marine education can help Pacific communities prepare for the new millennium.

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium
All of the IPMEN 2010 presentations are now accessible on the web at The next IPMEN conference will be in southern Chile in 2012. Contact Harry Breidahl at if you are interested in learning more.

IPMEN conference 2008 (Townsville)

The International Pacific Marine Educators Network (IPMEN) formed at IPMEC in Hawaii. We had our first formal conference under the IPMEN banner in Townsville in October 2008.

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium
The conference theme was “Sustaining the Pacific – learning from elders, listening to youth”. All IPMEN 2008 presentations are now available at

  Open Space Technology

‘Technology’ in this case means simply a tool; a process. Open Space is a method used around the world for convening fully participatory conferences, retreats and work meetings. It is also used to help people in high conflict situations communicate, and indeed, it is used for true peace work in places such as Northern Iraq, Israeli and Palestinian lands, Haiti, East Timor and Serbia.

Using Open Space one person can convene from 5 to over 2000 people for participatory decision-making, interdisciplinary task work and understanding each other across differences. In Open Space, teams, entire organizations, communities, and fusions of different groups work together more quickly; go deeper; break through to new thinking; appreciate each other in new ways. It’s a method you can teach yourself; workshops are also offered.


One Ocean Marine Forum (OOMF), July 2005

The One Ocean Marine Forum (OOMF) was an international marine education initiative that occurred on the Hawaiian island of Maui in July 2005 and was held in association with the 2005 NMEA conference.

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium
This meeting was the result of longtime associations between MESA members and NMEA members in North America. The Forum, which was the first formal international meeting of marine educators, led to the formation of IPMEN.
California and Florida Dreaming 2004

At the end of June 2004 MESA members Jane and Harry Breidahl fly off to the USA where we meet up with MESA/MTAQ member Simone Baker for a 4 week study tour of California and Florida.

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium
If you are interested in finding a suitable Sea ExChange partner, or just keen to find out about some of the great marine education centres and programs in the USA why not read the postcards as we trip around California and Florida then attend the NMEA conference in St Petersburg.

California Dreaming 2000

In July 2000 five Australian marine educators travelled to California for the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) conference. The conference was held in Long Beach but we also took the chance visit marine education centres, aquariums and other attractions on the California coast.

Those travelling were Harry Breidahl (Nautilus Educational), Jane Breidahl (Woodleigh School), Anna Cooke (Gould League), Sheree Marris (Gould League) and Ian Wisken (Balnarring Primary School).


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