Hear what our Ocean Discovery Ranger, Emily Angell, has to say about her time at the 2022 EMSEA Conference.

The European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) gathered for its’ 9th year at a conference in Palma de Mallorca. Myself, and Nicola Bridge, our Head of Ocean Advocacy & Engagement, were invited to present our exciting projects that we run at the Ocean Conservation Trust and share our passion for marine science education.

Throughout flash poster presentations, speeches, open space sessions and even beach workshops, we engaged with groups of people who all share the same vision of empowering our local communities to become more connected with our Ocean. It was inspiring to see all the different programmes that institutes across Europe have created to provide a pathway to ocean citizenship- from giving school children diving lessons through virtual reality to performing interactive theatre on the beach to teach public and community groups about the effects of sea levels rising.

Conversations centred on just how much sensory and emotional engagement is needed to establish strong connections with our Ocean. We need to appeal to all types of learners- immersive, active learning projects and programmes are so much more effective with a wider audience. To ensure we get everybody excited about our Ocean, we need to be good representatives and be excited, fun and positive ourselves when we deliver projects.

Our open space sessions also allowed us to debate on issues surrounding our educational foundations and how we can change it. Do people really understand what Ocean literacy means? Is the only true way to educate about our Ocean through science? It was insightful and thought-provoking to listen to an assortment of opinions and views from different institutions all around the world.

In the Ocean conservation section of the conference, I spoke all about the project I completed over the summer called Sea In The Park– a public & community engagement project which centred around inclusivity and easing inaccessibility to Plymouth Sound National Marine Park. The presentation sparked conversations surrounding just how accessible all our projects are, and how it’s just as important to engage with the public as it is to educate school children.

The EMSEA conference was an incredible opportunity for myself and was really refreshing to remember exactly why I chose this as a career path. It was such a fantastic experience to meet so many lovely, caring people that are empowering people all around the world to becoming Ocean citizens and I hope we get to do it all again next year!