East Central Regional Update – April 2017

by Brandon on 2017/04/12

in East Central, Regional Reports

Online Conference Registration Ending Friday!

Still on the fence about attending the FMSEA conference? Friday is the deadline for online registration. After that you will need to register at the conference itself. Don’t delay and register today.

Cast Your Ballot

If you haven’t done so already  we need you to vote by Friday. We have the following nominees running for positions on the FMSEA Board. Please cast your vote at :  https://goo.gl/forms/2UbBnfKUPDTzpj2k1  DEADLINE TO VOTE IS APRIL 14TH!!! 

President-Elect Candidate:  Jennifer Fagan

Jennie is in her twenty-fourth year of teaching with fifteen of those years at Nease High School in St. Johns County teaching Marine Science.  Throughout her tenure at Nease, she has proven to be a leader in many fields including working to create the district developed Marine and Earth Space exams, along with the corresponding curriculum guides.  She also served as the science department chair for ten years.  Five years ago, Jennie brought a running club called Marathon High to Nease, where she coaches and mentors students to run the Donna half marathon to finish breast cancer.  Jennie has worked as a member of the GTMNERR volunteer sea turtle patrol for a number of years and is one of two Aquatic Species Collecting workshop facilitators in the northeast region of the state.  Jennie has had the privilege of serving as the Northeast Regional Director for the past four years and would like to continue her service to the professional organization by being considered for the office of President Elect.

“I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve on the FMSEA board for the last four year and hope to continue to serve in the years to come.  Helping others is important to me and I have enjoyed being able to give back to the organization that has helped to shape me as the Marine Science instructor I am today.”

Panhandle Regional Director Candidate:  Charlene Mauro

Charlene Mauro is the Founder & Director of the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station and future Gulf Coast Discovery Center.  Through Pensacola State College, she teaches Marine Biology and Oceanography to area dual enrollment students who in turn educate young children that attend programs on site.  In addition to serving as the Director of the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station, she serves as the first ever Science Specialist for the Santa Rosa County School District.  Mrs. Mauro has been awarded nearly 1 million dollars in grants to transform a vacant ranger station into a fully functional science field station, a live feed underwater reef camera (a first for the Gulf of Mexico) the traveling Discovery Depot, and a NRDA grant for a dune walkover to access the Santa Rosa Sound.

Since its official opening in August 2009, the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station has been host to over 8,000 students and community members for programs

concerning the local marine environments.  The award winning programs provide inquiry based curriculum that educates and challenges participants of all ages how to be stewards of our marine environment.   Knowing the immense positive impact that scientific research and teacher professional development has made on her career, Mrs.Mauro makes at least two professional presentations annually at local, state, and national levels. Past honors include NMEA National Marine Educator of the Year, Outstanding Florida High School Science Teacher of the Year, University of Florida Distinguished Educator, FMSEA Teacher of the Year, EPA’s Presidential Award, Gulf Guardian Award, Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, University of West Florida Outstanding Young Alumnus, Johnette D. Bosarge Memorial Award, and a finalist for Florida Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Mauro is an active member in professional and community groups including the Gulf Coast Ocean Observation Systems (GCOOS), Florida Association of Science Supervisors, National Marine Educators Association, Florida Marine Science Educators Association, National Science Teachers Association, and Rotary. By example, Charlene encourages her students to find their passion, seek opportunities, make a difference, and always continue to learn.

Charlene looks forward to the opportunity to serve on the FMSEA Board of Directors as the Panhandle Regional Director. She seeks to provide opportunities for the region’s marine science educators to engage in regional outings and aquatic species collections workshops, as well as highlighting the amazing marine science research, education, and outreach opportunities that abound in the Panhandle!

Panhandle Regional Director Candidate:  Kenya Williams

Kenya Williams is a 5th grade teacher at Breakfast Point Academy in Panama City, Florida.  She has served as the Panhandle Regional Director since 2016 and looks forward to the opportunity to serve in the role again.


Northeast Regional Director Candidate:  Karen Meyer

A native of land-locked Ohio, Karen has had a passion for all things marine since her young years when she visited Florida and observed a scuba class in session at a hotel pool. Certified to scuba dive in Ohio at the age of 15, she has pursued that passion to date. She graduated from Bowling Green State University (Ohio) with a B. S. in Biology and worked with numerous marine animals at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington. Her favorite animal was the giant Pacific octopus. She then moved to Guam and earned a M.S. in Biology from the University of Guam. After her stint in the tropics, she worked for U.S. Fish & Wildlife in the Endangered Species Program in Corpus Christi, Texas. Upon the birth of her daughter, she chose to enter the educational field and taught at Germanna Community College (Fredericksburg, Virginia) prior to moving to Jacksonville, Florida. She has taught at St. Johns River State College part-time starting in 2000 and has been there full time since 2010. She is currently a professor at St. Johns, teaching biology, marine biology and environmental science.

Karen is excited about the opportunity to serve as the Northeast Regional Director to highlight the ongoing marine science education and research activities found throughout the northeast portion of Florida.

East-Central Regional Director Candidate:  Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has been an environmental educator with Brevard County Parks and Recreation since getting his B.S. in Marine Biology from Florida Tech in 2000. As their Environmental Program Supervisor at Riverwalk: A Family Park he created a new marine center in 2005. In 2007, Brandon received the Florida Master Naturalist Instructor Achievement Award from University of Florida IFAS Extension. Brandon was honored in 2010, by the Marine Resources Council with the Paul Kroegel Award for Outstanding Service to the Indian River Lagoon by a Government Employee. Several honors came in 2015, receiving the Charlie Corbeil Conservation Award, FMSEA Service Award, Keep Brevard Beautiful Education Award, and their Sustainability Award.

Brandon has been the East Central Regional Director for the Florida Marine Science Educators Association since 2009. Starting 2005, he also served on the board of the Space Coast Science Education Alliance, a network of informal educators in Brevard County and became president of the organization in 2013. In 2013, Brandon became a NOAA Climate Steward working monthly with a community of educators across the nation on climate education. Also, in 2013, Brandon accepted the role as Regional Leader with the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI).

I would like to continue on as regional director as I believe in the mission of FMSEA and want to continue to promote and support the organization and our members through my duties as regional director.

Southeast Regional Director Candidate:  Veronica Frehm

Veronica Frehm, born in Hawaii and raised in West Palm Beach, has worked in the Environmental Education field for over 10 years. She has educated tens of thousands of students in North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Palm Beach County. Veronica holds a Master of Environmental Education degree, and specializes in curriculum development and facilitation in the non-formal education setting. She currently works at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park as Director of Education. She facilities daily Field Experiences for students grades 1-12, and hosts professional development workshops for formal and non-formal educators from across the state of Florida. She is also in charge of the Marine Science focused summer camp at the Park. The summer camp gives children a chance to explore the Park’s four different ecosystems while kayaking to conduct bird counts, snorkeling on the rock reef to contribute to annual Fish counts, Skyping with Marine Scientists, participating in seagrass/biodiversity studies and much more. She is thrilled to serve on the Board of FMSEA as the Southeast Regional Director and looks forward to connecting educators with great resources and opportunities throughout the Southeast Region and beyond!

Southwest Regional Director Candidate:  Dana Henderson

Dana Henderson is originally from Nashville, Tennessee but knew her true passion was marine conservation. Her career began as a marine mammal teaching assistant at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, MS, followed by an internship researching humpback whales at the Whale Center of New England in Gloucester, MA. She worked for several years as a Marine Science Educator at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher in Kure Beach, NC. After a brief hiatus from marine life as Education Supervisor of the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter working with birds of prey and rehabilitating wildlife, she returned to marine science education at Mote in February 2011 as their School Programs Coordinator. She has served one term as FMSEA Southwest Regional Director. Her goal is to empower people of all ages and backgrounds to be good stewards of our marine environment and get excited about marine research.

As Southwest Regional Director the past two years, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in marine science education and I do not want that journey to end!  Being part of the FMSEA network and being able to exchange knowledge with like minded people has been a highlight of my career.  If elected, I will continue to share pertinent resources that will sharpen our ocean literacy, conservation and interpretation skills, offer more exciting regional outings for us to get out and explore the areas we so passionately teach about and work with our fabulous FMSEA board to bring you an amazing and worthwhile conference each year.

You Could Be a Winner

The National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) has generously budgeted a $500 financial aid scholarship for a current FMSEA member to attend NMEA 2017 in Charleston, SC during June 25-29, 2017.  FMSEA members who wish to go to NMEA 2017 but otherwise could not due to personal or professional financial hardships should only apply for this award. Please use this link to apply for the NMEA financial aid scholarship: https://goo.gl/forms/7ntZPJP7GDCI0VH93

Deadline to apply is April 12, 2017. A random numbers generator will be used to determine the scholarship winner. The scholarship winner will be notified as soon as possible in order to register for NMEA 2017 prior to the earlybird deadline of May 1st. We will provide additional information to the scholarship winner. NMEA 2017 registration information:  http://www.marine-ed.org/page/2017conference

BIC Bound

There are a lot of great events to check out at the Barrier Island Center in the month of April. From succulents to sea turtles you’ll find a little bit for everyone.

Oyster Restoration with Brevard Zoo

Get out and get wet while helping restore the Indian River Lagoon. Assist Brevard Zoo with their oyster deployments this season. The first one will be April 21 & 22 in Port St. John. They also have other volunteer events listed through August so sign up for a date today.

Dive in Deep with NOAA

NOAA Ocean Exploration Webinar for Educators – Mountains in the Deep: Exploring the Central Pacific Basin 2017 Expedition

The 2017 field season is well underway! Join scientists from around the world as they explore the deepest, darkest reaches of our planet’s last unknown frontier, and hear them discuss their findings and watch as true discoveries unfold!

The Mountains in the Deep: Exploring the Central Pacific Basin Expedition will run from April 27 through May 19, 2017, and will investigate unknown and poorly known deepwater areas in the Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll, and Jarvis Island units of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, around the Cook Islands Marine Park, and the high seas.

Mark your calendars for a Webinar for Educators on April 20, 7 PM EST/1 PM HST. This 1 hour presentation will share the science behind the expedition and online resources for educators to help bring this expedition to life in your classroom. Register now! https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4079765764324751619

Another webinar for Educators will be hosted on April 27, 7 PM EST/1 PM HST to introduce the

Exploring the Sunken Heritage of Midway Atoll: Honoring the Legacy of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway Expedition. This expedition will take place May 2 through May 16, 2017.

You can watch the ROV Deep Discover’s live video feeds on your computer here. You can also download our free mobile app (for iOS or Android devices) that will allow you to bring the excitement of ocean discovery directly to your smart phone or tablet.

Or visit our website to see exciting discoveries we have made thus far this year.  An overview of the entire 2017 field season can be found here



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