About GOMAEEN

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a partnership of the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. It has the goal of significantly increasing regional collaboration to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. Partnerships in Mexico have also been established. Environmental education is one of six priority issue areas. All are regionally significant and can be effectively addressed through increased collaboration at local, state, and federal levels. While all states participate in the Alliance, individual states have taken the lead on GOMA issues.

Florida Water Quality Priorities for Healthy Beaches and Seafood
Louisiana Habitat Conservation and Restoration
Texas Ecosystems Integration and Assessment
Mississippi Reducing Nutrient Impacts to Coastal Ecosystems
Mississippi & Louisiana Coastal Community Resiliency 
Alabama Environmental Education

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance Environmental Education Network (GOMAEEN) was formed in response to the first Gulf of Mexico Alliance's Governor's Action Plan during an inaugural meeting in June 2006. The first two long-term partnership goals established were:

  • Increase awareness of Gulf coastal resources.
  • Increase stewardship of Gulf coastal resources.

Within these broad parameters were identified two specific goals with nine actions. Action Plan II was approved in 2009. The four focus areas include:

  • Community Education and Outreach
  • Public Awareness
  • K through 20 Environmental Literacy
  • Economic Value Communication

Gulf of Mexico Alliance Governors' Action Plan
Action Plan II

Purpose

The purpose of the GOMAEEN is to coordinate educational and outreach activities that address Gulf of Mexico Alliance priority issues. It is to establish effective methods that disseminate associated materials and programs throughout Gulf coastal communities. The first Governors Action Plan states, "A Gulf of Mexico Alliance Environmental Education Network will facilitate information sharing at multiple levels, transfer successes among members and maximize the impact of limited educational resources."

The GOMAEEN is a regional body of educators/outreach practitioners organized to provide strong leadership in coordinating regional education and outreach activities around the Gulf. Membership is dynamic and interest-based by open invitation to representatives from placed-based organizations and local, state, regional, and federal programs, and is bi-national in scope. The full GOMAEEN convenes during one regional conference per year as funding allows and holds quarterly conference calls as necessary. It is staffed by the GOMAEEN Coordinator. Back to Top

Steering Committee

The purpose of the Steering Committee is to focus the GOMAEEN activities by providing support to the actions of the Governors Action Plan and other Alliance initiatives. Membership of the Steering Committee consists of a subset of the GOMAEEN including:

  • The education state leads or co-leads
  • Federal agency representatives (NOAA and EPA) designated by the Federal Workgroup co-chairs
Alabama  John Dindo Dauphin Island Sea Lab 
Florida  Tabitha Stadler Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Louisiana  Dianne Lindstedt LSU – Louisiana Sea Grant
Ann Wilson Louisiana Department of Education
Mississippi  Sharon Walker  JL Scott Marine Ed. Center & Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant 
Texas  Ericka McCauley Galveston Bay Estuary Program
Tara Schultz Texas State Aquarium
All States Lead  Phillip Hinesley  ADCNR Coastal Section 
Chris Simoniello GCOOS Education and Outreach Council
Sharon Hodge Northern Gulf Institute
  Flinda Hill Mississippi Power
  Suraida Nanez-James Gulf of Mexico Foundation
Federal Facilitator Ann Weaver NOAA – Gulf Coast Services Center 
Federal Facilitator LaKeshia Robertson  EPA – Gulf of Mexico Program 

The Committee is staffed by the GOMAEEN Coordinator. The Steering Committee holds monthly conference calls and a once a year business meeting in conjunction with GOMA Implementation and Integration Workshop. They may also convene more frequently for specific issues as needed.

Former Steering Committee members include: Bryan Fluech, Florida Sea Grant; Gaye Farris, USGS National Wetlands Research Center; Quenton Dokken, Gulf of Mexico Foundation; Richard Gonzales, Gulf of Mexico Foundation; Rafael Calderon, The Nature Conservancy; Gary Lytton, Rookery Bay Reserve; Tabitha Stadler, Rookery Bay Reserve; Susan Testoret-Bergeron, Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program; Scott Jones, Galveston Bay Estuary Program; Jay Ritchie, Northern Gulf Institute; Sharon Hayes, Gulf of Mexico Program, and Wendy Sera, NOAA Special Projects Office. Many thanks to all their contributions. Back to Top

Dynamic Network Membership

While the framework of the GOMAEEN has specific committees, the overall membership of the GOMAEEN is considered "dynamic", allowing anyone that wishes to coordinate within the system the opportunity to participate. These members are engaged in education and outreach activities that address Alliance priority issues. The membership of the full network of environmental educators around the Gulf of Mexico consists of individuals representing institutional organizations as well as those who simply want to be more connected to environmental information.

Network members share in the delivery of environmental messages, workshops, events, news items, research, or other items of interest within the GOMAEEN community. In addition, some members participate on specific Work Groups. Membership is also Web-based through the GOMAEEN listserve which communicates Alliance related activities. Back to Top

Working Groups

Ad-hoc Working Groups have been created to complete specific actions. Groups are formed for the life of the purpose and interested members from the GOMAEEN participate by conference call. A member of the Steering Committee typically joins the Working Group and reports progress to the Steering Committee. Such Working Groups include: the Underserved and Underrepresented, Public Awareness Campaign, and the GOMAEEN Web Site.

Underserved and Underrepresented Populations Working Group
Conference calls are held on a bi-monthly basis. A website is also available for information specific to GOMA UUP projects in the Gulf States. For 2012 group information contact Suraida Nanez-James for details.

Public Relations Committee
This committee includes representation from the five Gulf states whose members are dedicated to increasing the awareness of the value of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and the science-based successes of GOMA among Gulf and National Media. The end goal being increased stewardship of the Gulf of Mexico through targeted audience engagement. Contact Lee Yokel regarding inquiries.

Legislative Trends Working Group
This working group is focused on state and federal legislation addressing the enhancement of the health of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as engaging in outreach efforts directed to decision makers.
Contact Susan Bergeron for details and participation information.

GOMAEEN Steering Committee Calls
Business sessions to address ongoing GOMA related actions. Calls typically held the second Tuesday of each month at 10AM CDT. Other calls may be held as warranted. Contact Lee Yokel regarding inquiries.

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Staff

The first priority issue team to receive funding was Environmental Education. The Coordinator was funded by NOAA's Office of Education for two years. Hosted by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama, support was also provided by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and Alabama Department of Conservation Coastal Section. Through a cooperative agreement with the Gulf of Mexico Program, two Alliance Educators were funded primarily for GOMA activities in the State of Florida.

In fiscal year 2009/2010, NOAA Coastal Services Center received a $5 million dollar appropriation for all GOMA priority issues. This allowed for Coordinators, now modeled after the initial educator position, to support each of the six issue teams. It also supports the addition of an Education Specialist to support Education Coordinator. A sub-award provided for a Regional Coastal Training Program Coordinator who facilitates Alliance workshops in all five U.S Gulf states.

Lee Yokel
Environmental Education Coordinator
Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Alabama

Kimberly Davis
GOMA Education Coordinator
Florida A&M University

Chad Leister
Gulf Alliance Coastal Training Program Coordinator
Weeks Bay Foundation, Alabama

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