Teacher wins national marine education award

Education Director of the Mangrove Action Project Martin Keeley has been selected to receive the National Marine Educators Association’s Outstanding Teacher Award for 2008.

Mr. Keeley

Mr. Keeley carries out hands-on activities with Year 5 students from Prospect Primary School earlier this year. These activities including examining feathers, red mangrove leaves, the oceans and micro-organisms in mangrove pond water. The field trip photo is taking a look at jellyfish in the Central Mangroves from the DOE boat Sea Keeper. Photo: Submitted

Mr. Keeley was recognized for his history of outstanding performance as a marine science educator in the Pacific Northwest and the Cayman Islands.

This award honours effective and innovative marine science education in the classroom.

Mr. Keeley will be honoured on July 23, 2008 at a ceremony during the National Marine Educators Association’s annual conference in Savannah, Georgia, hosted by the Georgia Association of Marine Education.

Mr. Keeley, who is Brac campus director for the University College of the Cayman Islands, has been teaching in Cayman since 1998. He researched, developed and produced the Marvellous Mangroves in the Cayman Islands teachers’ guide in conjunction with the National Trust, the Department of Educational Services and MAP, and has been responsible for its implementation in schools throughout Cayman.

He has also supervised the adaptation, translation and implementation of Marvellous Mangroves for the education systems in several other countries including Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and, most recently, Brazil.

‘I am honoured to have been given this prestigious award,’ he says. ‘It recognises there is a continual need for students to learn, through hands-on exploration, the true importance of the natural world around them,’ said Mr. Keeley.

‘Mangroves are essential not only for the survival of marine, avian and terrestrial species which depend on them, but for our own survival,’ he adds. ‘Those of us who live on tropical coastlines where mangroves form the buffer between us and ocean-driven storms need their protection against hurricanes. This is especially true with the advent of climate change and its accompanying sea-level rise, and the horrendous damage caused by massive storms like the Cyclone Nargis, which recently hit Myanmar, and the 2004 Asian Tsunami.’

NMEA is a national professional organisation founded in 1976 for all educators of marine and aquatic science.

With more than 3,000 members NMEA is represented primarily in North America, but has chapters in other parts of the world including the Caribbean, Australia and Oceana (based in Hawaii).

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