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NAMEPA Launches Virtual Learning Series

Planet and Ocean Discovery Series (PODS) Supports Remote Learning 

January 13, 2021 – NAMEPA (North American Marine Environment Protection Association) has announced the launch of its latest education program:  Planet and Ocean Discovery Series (PODS).  Part of NAMEPA’s commitment to providing marine environmental education, this free series is designed for the educator, student, life-long learner and anyone passionate about the marine environment.

The year 2020 was an unprecedented year for education globally.  Within a few weeks, most of the world’s students were at the hands of administrators and educators. In the U.S. alone, roughly 56.4 million students were swiftly transitioned from in class to virtual learning. Whether elementary school, middle school, high school, or college, the change to remote teaching and digital resources has created the need to think outside the box (or classroom) to keep students engaged and learning.    

In nature, pods are integrated yet self-contained units that encompass all the necessary parts to mature into a complete functioning plant. These small pods contain all the genetic information and nutrients needed to nurture and grow an entire plant over time. Nature’s successful pods design inspired the format for our own educational PODS.   

“In our commitment to educate the public on the marine environment, we have divided PODS into three distinct groups in order to cover all topics related to our global ocean and waterways” stated Lisa Piastuch, NAMEPA’s Education and Outreach Director. “Coastal Habitats, The Open Ocean and Inland Waterways are all connected through nutrient cycles, the water cycle and are all impacted by the changing climate. Within each of the PODS you will find a level of organization to help guide you seamlessly through each of the PODS and with consistency in topics you can easily find the information you need. Each of the PODS contain the same cross-cutting ideas: habitat and adaptation, environmental importance, the changing climate, and shipping/navigation.”  

PODS are an environmentally based, completely virtual and downloadable learning series that have been designed to foster a love for the marine environment in the virtual learner. Each provides the information and tools necessary to deliver a complete educational unit and can be used as a single lesson or collectively with the provide supplemental material to enhance curriculum. The interdisciplinary lessons are suitable for all learning levels and are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Ocean Literacy Principles.   

The first PODS unit is Coastal Habitats: where land and ocean meet. It highlights three unique coastal habitat ecosystems –– Wetlands, Coral Reefs and Mangroves.  These regions are habitat for a variety of unique and often endangered species while providing a multitude of ecosystem services for all life on earth. 


The North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) is a marine industry-led organization of environmental stewards preserving the marine environment by promoting sustainable marine industry best practices and educating seafarers, students and the public about the need and strategies for protecting global ocean, lake and river resources.  For more information visit


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