The ocean is the defining feature of our planet. Ocean Literacy means understanding the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean. This definition is the result of discussions among 100 scientists and educators in 2005, and serves as the national standard for ocean science education. Advancing ocean literacy in New England is the commitment and goal of the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative (NEOSEC).

NEOSEC member institutions recognize that there are limited opportunities for education and science practitioners and researchers to share their expertise, and in 2006 created The New England Ocean Literacy Summit to provide important opportunities for formal and informal educators, ocean scientists, and policymakers to make connections.

The Ocean Literacy Summit is a biennial conference that brings together educators and scientists from across New England and surrounding states for the purpose of sharing new marine science and oceanographic developments along with new approaches and successful programs for teaching ocean science in both school and informal educational settings. To demonstrate the power of collaboration and communication among professionals in these sectors, all of the Summit’s concurrent sessions feature scientists and educators as co-presenters. 

Date TBD: Connecticut

The 2020 Summit has been postponed. 

November 6 – 7, 2014: Woods Hole, Massachusetts

An inspiring keynote address was delivered by Deborah CramerAuthor of “Smithsonian Ocean”, Advisory Council Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and visiting scholar with MIT Earth System Initiative.

November 1 – 3, 2012: Narragansett, Rhode Island

The keynote address was given by Dr. Robert Ballard. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA’s deputy administrator, also gave an excellent presentation on exploration.

November 11 – 13, 2010: Durham, New Hampshire

The University of New Hampshire hosted the event with attendees representing institutions from North Carolina to Newfoundland. Highlights of the event included a keynote address by Dr. Paul Snelgrove and a Friday evening talk by Dr. Sylvia Earle.

November 7, 2008: Boston, Massachusetts

The day included concurrent presentations as well as two plenary sessions: first a keynote presentation from Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an afternoon panel discussion regarding the need for an ocean-literate workforce. Attendees also had a chance to talk with our 18 exhibitors. The Boston University Marine Program hosted.

November 4, 2006: Boston, Massachusetts

Nearly 100 attendees enjoyed a keynote speech by Wally Broecker, an eminent ocean scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Concurrent workshops and a panel discussion provided insights into ways that the newly released Ocean Literacy Principles can be integrated into formal and informal education in multiple settings, from news stories to classroom curricula. Discussion among and feedback from participants resulted in several action items for the Collaborative.

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