Performing Arts in Education for Stopping Marine Debris

Session Chairs: Hrissi K. Karapanagioti, Department of ChemistryKathryn Peck, Chapman University

This session is for educators, artists, and scientists to present or observe best practices in performing arts such as dance-theater, dance, music, cinema, and drama, as well as the role of environmental education in the topic of marine debris.

The aim of this session is to promote dialogue and research on the contemporary art practice related to performing arts in environmental education with emphasis on marine debris. The objectives of the session is to promote dialogue on each of the topics related to performing arts including dance, theater, dance theater, performance, music, opera, and music theater. The topics refer to creativity, experimentation, communication, collective action and solidarity, good practices, interdisciplinary, and in general the recent trends in pedagogy and teaching of aesthetic education related to environmental education. Art programs at schools demonstrated that students who participated showed an improvement in communication, interest, and solidarity. Also, performing arts appear to lead to teamwork that leads to character building. Environmental education requires the above skills to reach out to students and inform them and change their behavior in terms of marine debris prevention.                 

Equipping the outreach toolbox: experts share their most successful activities, tips and tricks

Session Chair: Allison Schutes, Ocean Conservancy

This session is aimed to interest anyone (including educators, researchers, industry professionals, and conservationists in the field) who frequently interacts with the general public, such as students or cleanup volunteers, as this session focuses on different methods to deliver concise, intelligible and critical information to large groups in challenging settings.

Ocean trash, while seemingly simple, is an issue that can be complex and even confusing when put into context and scale. Luckily, many organizations have mastered different outreach techniques that leave audiences well-informed, committed to making an impact, and eager to learn more. Understanding the diverse approaches presenters utilize will leave conference attendees equipped with a toolbox of simple ideas, hints, and activities to employ even in the most challenging of scenarios.

In this session we plan to explore examples of outstanding marine debris education programs, materials, and, notably, activities that exemplify diverse geographies, scales and audience levels. Attendees can learn from challenges, trials and successes our colleagues have faced. Is there one perfect outreach strategy that works for all sectors of the field and speaks to all audiences? Probably not, but we can learn from each other's experiences and employ a patchwork of programs, materials and activities that can be tailored for specific educational opportunities.

For Ocean Conservancy, the volunteer cleanup experience through the International Coastal Cleanup and storytelling through debris data are the backbones of the organizations work on the issues. Building off these elements, the Talking Trash & Taking Action marine debris education partnership with the NOAA Marine Debris Program was launched. The program continues to be one of the Trash Free Seas Program's most popular and frequently used resources. In 2016 alone, the program was sent to educators from Maine to Washington to Florida and even Panama. By spotlighting similar and vastly different programs from around the world, attendees and presenters alike will leave better equipped to interface with the general public about the issue of ocean plastics.

Through active demonstrations and moderated panel discussions, we hope to glean information on what's available in terms of marine debris education, elicit best practices, discuss ways to scale and build upon successes, learn from cross-sector programs in speaking to different audiences and explore new ways to share messaging traditionally and digitally.


Introducing a real-world interdisciplinary approach to marine debris education

Session Chairs: Anika Ballent, Algalita Marine Research and Education; Katie Allen, Algalita Marine Research and Education

This session is focused on using a real-world interdisciplinary approach to education. In order to prepare the next generation to take on the challenges of marine plastic pollution, we must shift the education paradigm to focus on scientific literacy, real-time systemic solutions, and innovations for the future.

Environmental responsibility should be a broadly held value. Fundamental to our existence, it deserves a central place in public education and should be seen as an indicator of social progress. With such importance, why isn’t environmental education being infused into every student’s day?  How can a tangible topic like marine plastic pollution help teachers prepare the next generation to take on the challenges ahead?

By going beyond rhetoric and embracing an interdisciplinary approach, educators of all levels should be encouraged to infuse broad elements of the plastic pollution issue into their curriculum.  Reaching into the social sciences, engineering, design, and beyond, a full understanding of the topic requires exploration from the perspective of many different subjects. This real-world interdisciplinary approach will empower students to tackle the issue through an understanding of real-time systemic sources, barriers, and solutions.

The key to successful environmental education is being able to keep pace with environmental degradation as well as changes in policy, technology, and culture. This seemingly impossible feat can be achieved when teachers and professors build partnerships with organizations that are deeply embedded in all facets of the issue. It is up to the outside organization to design and maintain up-to-date educational resources for teachers to deploy in their classrooms.  Without this support system, educators will continue to teach an ineffective form of environmental education simply because they cannot keep up with the deluge of information necessary to stay informed.

During this session, the group will discuss how organizations can assist educators in becoming learning practitioners who prepare the next generation to address the plastic pollution issue, and other global environmental issues, in the most effective manner – at a systemic level. In addition, we’ll share the importance of designing resources to fit within current educational frameworks including the Next Generation Science Standards. The session will also dive into an evaluation of already existing marine debris educational resources to identify the most effective approaches and needed improvements for support teachers.

The 6th International Conference on Marine Debris needs to be forward-looking. The global understanding of the issue has developed to the point where a focus needs to be put onto quickly employing effective solutions that address the problem at the root. Educating the next generation of scientists, politicians, industry leaders and consumers to be able to address the issue through sustainability, circular economy and an interdisciplinary approach is a vital part of that solution.

Effective Marine Debris Messaging

Session Chair: Krista Stegemann, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Marine Debris Program

This session is dedicated to effective marine debris messaging strategies, which are incredibly important for successful and strategic communication, and help achieve the goal of both increasing understanding of the issue and leaving an audience feeling hopeful and empowered to take part in the solution.

Preventing marine debris at its source is the ultimate solution to this pervasive problem and communicating with the public is an important step toward preventing marine debris. However, in order to be effective in your communication, strategic marine debris messaging is incredibly important.

Marine debris can be an easy topic to discuss, since it is tangible and generally simple enough for people to understand. However, it is still a complex topic to talk about and can easily become overly heavy and depressing, leading those you're communicating with feeling overwhelmed and powerless.

This result will not lead to the prevention of marine debris. The goal is for your audience to leave understanding the issue and feeling hopeful and empowered to take part in the solution. To achieve this, we must be strategic in our messaging and avoid being too depressing or aggressive in our communication.

However, the ideal messaging strategy may be different in different circumstances. Cultural and demographic differences may alter what the most effective approach is. This session will focus on marine debris messaging strategies and examples of those strategies in action. The 6IMDC will provide a unique opportunity to hear from marine debris communicators around the world. By better understanding what constitutes effective marine debris messaging in different locations, with different groups of people, and in different circumstances, marine debris communicators will be better able to provide effective messaging.

The Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) and The Role of Aquariums in Reducing Plastic Pollution

Session Chairs: Aimee David, Monterey Bay Aquarium/Aquarium Conservation Partnership; Kim McIntyre, Aquarium Conservation Partnership

This session will focus on the Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP)’s consumer campaign raise public awareness and increase consumer demand for alternatives to single-use plastic, what aquariums are doing to promote science-based policies to reduce sources of aquatic plastic pollution, and how aquariums are working with business partners to model change in our aquariums and accelerate innovation in the broader marketplace.

 The Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) is a first-of-its-kind collaboration of aquariums formed to increase our collective impact on ocean and freshwater conservation. Together, member aquariums work to advance science-based conservation goals by leveraging our unique assets, including our scientific expertise, our visibility with the public, our business relationships, and our credibility with decision makers. The primary goal for 2016-17 is to work together to reduce the sources of ocean and freshwater plastic pollution through a mix of consumer, business, and policy strategies.

The ACP also serves as a “strategic table” for aquariums to take coordinated action on other conservation policy goals, including: increasing ocean and freshwater ecosystem protection; protecting threatened global shark and ray species; and improving the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture.

This session will focus on the ACP’s consumer campaign raise public awareness and increase consumer demand for alternatives to single-use plastic, what aquariums are doing to promote science-based policies to reduce sources of aquatic plastic pollution, and how aquariums are working with business partners to model change in our aquariums and accelerate innovation in the broader marketplace.

See Other Tracks: Monitoring and Citizen Science · Research and Microplastic/Microfibers · Prevention · Private Sector Collaboration, Technology, and Innovation · Implementing Effective Law Regulations, and Policy · Removal · Single-Use Product Policies, Regulations and Laws · Derelict Fishing Gear ·Innovative Case Studies from Around the World