CaNOE goes to Sweden

by Haley Guest

Hello CaNOE-ers!

In early October 2014, three CaNOE Interim Board members (Matthew Rockall, Anne Stewart, and I) had the fantastic opportunity to attend the European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) Conference.

Held in Göteborg, Sweden, EMSEA would be my first trip to Europe! I had been accepted as a poster presenter for my recent research at Dalhousie University on youth ocean literacy in Nova Scotia, and I was incredibly excited for the experience.

Arriving in ‘Gothenburg,’ huge backpack and poster in tow, I wandered beautiful cobblestone streets passing commuting cyclists until I found my hostel. There, I was informed that this week was Swedish Cinnamon Bun Appreciation Week, so I jumped for joy before getting some rest for Day 1 of EMSEA 2014.

The conference began with great food and great presentations. Over 100 participants from some 25 countries were there to present research, make connections, and ultimately help one another in improving ocean literacy efforts in the EU and beyond. The keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Emelia Svensson spoke about the importance of business and innovation with regards to ‘Blue Growth.’ The afternoon held two very interesting workshops and many presentations focused on marine education and outreach. The day concluded with a reception at the Maritime Museum and Aquarium.

EMSEA poster presentation
Presenting the results of my research at the EMSEA 2014 poster presentation session

Day 2 kicked off with presentations on marine education in the school curriculum, a topic I am very keen on. It was so interesting to see what other countries are doing to incorporate ocean science into curricula and important to know if Canada hopes to do the same. Following presentations, we had our final workshop session and got to do an experiment with salt, ice, and food colouring! That afternoon I presented my poster results and spoke with many interested people about CaNOE and ocean literacy in Canada.

A presentation on using marine animals as ocean ambassadors
A presentation on using marine animals as ocean ambassadors

On the evening of Day 2, the conference participants enjoyed a delicious dinner at Fiskekrogen, a popular fish restaurant in the city. The conversation over dinner was as enjoyable as the fine cuisine, with so many interesting, passionate, and intelligent people at the table.

The final day of EMSEA 2014 offered field trips to local oceans-focused institutions. My fellow Interim Board member, Matt, will be writing all about his trip to Gothenburg’s Sailing School in an upcoming blog post!

EMSEA 2014 was a fantastic event. I felt inspired and excited to return to Canada with new ideas and contacts to work with. Thank you very much from CaNOE to the Conference Organizing Committee and all involved with EMSEA 2014!