North Carolina Sea Grant
Coastwatch Currents

Coastwatch Currents

October 21, 2015 | Rebecca Nagy

Posted Oct. 21, 2015

Lundie Spence teaches students.

For Lundie Spence, circa 1985, teaching marine science comes naturally. Photo by Sarah Friday

Today is #BackToTheFutureDay — the day Marty McFly, circa 1985, arrives 30 years in his future in “Back to the Future Part II.”

Feeling nostalgic, we went back three decades to a story from the October 1985 issue of Coastwatch featuring North Carolina Sea Grant’s former marine education specialist, Lundie Spence.

She was with North Carolina Sea Grant from 1978 to 2002. In 2003, Spence moved to South Carolina to direct the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence—SouthEast, until she retired in 2012.

We caught up with her to find out what she’s doing now.

No need for your DeLorean. The future is already here.

How are you spending your days now?

I am riding horses, learning about their training and writing a middle-school booklet on horses. I am also learning more about golf. Once in while, I get to work with the National Sea Grant Office on projects, and with North and South Carolina Sea Grant programs. I still maintain a strong interest in the Peruvian rain forest through the CONAPAC Adopt-A-School Program. I have been working on education projects with that organization since 1990. I am finding lots of new ideas to explore and things to learn in my retirement.

Are you still involved in marine education? If so, how?

Yes, I am — but a little but more as a guide on the side, rather than as a lead. I like mentoring when asked.

What is your biggest achievement or your proudest moment in the past 30 years?

There are many. The whole North Carolina Sea Grant team effort to launch the marine debris initiative was major. Another highlight was video projects with UNC-TV and public radio features for over three years. Mostly I love the stories from the classes Walter Clark, Harriett Stubbs and I taught at North Carolina State University. Our multicultural education workshops with Puerto Rico Sea Grant partners were just wonderful, where we focused on coral reefs and salt marshes. It’s the people and stories that are valuable.

Is there anything you’d like to add about marine education today?

Marine education continues to be really important. Marine educators are just the best and most creative folks around. Marine education leaders such as Terri Kirby Hathaway are inserting ocean literacy into classrooms, using national standards. I love marine STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. The remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, and basis observation bouys (BOB) connect students to physical oceanography, scientists, data and engineering. Still you can’t beat good fiddler crab field work. Mud is good.

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