New York State 

Marine Education Association

Being Updated

NYSMEA exists to promote marine awareness and encourage the growth and exchange of instructional resources within the scientific, commercial, and educational communities. We hold an annual conference, periodic meetings, lectures, workshops, field trips, boat trips and produce a monthly newsletter, "The Strandline", which alerts members to upcoming activities and new postings on our Web site. Our Web site also includes lesson plans, job postings, research opportunities, field trip destinations, and marine-related links. 

President - Lisa E. Breslof

Lisa Breslof taught marine science to NYC Department of Education K-8 grades and conducted professional development for teachers and principals at the American Museum of Natural History as a Museum Science Instructor and Supervising Museum Science Instructor from 1983-2009. Later on, as Collections Manager, she managed the Education Department’s 150-year-old teaching collection from 2009-2020 making it accessible to the Education Department teaching staff and the Museum’s Department of Communications before retirement in 2020.

Lisa also retired as secretary in 2015 after serving 30 years on the board of the John Burroughs Association where she developed and directed annual literary awards events at AMNH.  She also managed conservation and stewardship programs for its Catskill nature sanctuary, and oversaw restoration efforts for its National Historic Landmark cabin, Slabsides.

Lisa serves on committees for the New York State Marine Education Association and its annual conference and served on committees to host the 2022 National Marine Educators Association conference in New York at Hofstra University.  She currently serves as board President.  Lisa received the NYSMEA Kinghan Service Award in 2004 and the Science Council of New York City (SCONYC) Award for science education in 2007.

She served in the Peace Corps in Chile from 1977-1979 where she developed a marine algae aquaculture program for local Chilean fisherman and community residents consisting of ocean farming of marine algae and seaweed greeting card product development. Lisa taught marine science to visiting school groups in field programs for the National Park Service – Gateway National Recreation Area Floyd Bennett Field.  As a Park Ranger for the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation she wore a park ranger uniform including the famous hat in Prospect and Marine Parks teaching woodland and estuarine nature programs including horseshoe crab awareness to local school groups. Lisa is passionate about the conservation and stewardship of our planet and its oceans and believes in providing ocean literacy education and inspiration, resources, and opportunities for everyone so as to preserve and protect the rich and resourceful world we inhabit.

She received her B.S. degree in Marine Science from Stockton University and her M.S. Ed degree in Museum Leadership from Bank Street College of Education.

Executive Director (Appointed)Adam Riback


Adam Riback is a Planning Consultant at Fidelity Investments in Nanuet, NY. He holds 7 professional licenses (series 7,63,66,9,10 and the New York State Life & Health license). He received his Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation from The College for Financial Planning. Adam has been serving the financial community for over 25 years.  His expertise in personal finance and budgeting has helped us receive funding from various sources from private folks who just want to help make a difference when it comes to underserved communities to a Fortune 100 company.  Adam is instrumental at planning, organizing, and executing our "It's My Estuary Day" in the Spring and "International Coastal Cleanup" in the Fall. Adam was born and raised in Sea Gate which is a private community located in Coney Island.   Adam is very active in his local scuba diving community. Adam spent four years as Vice President of the former NYC Sea Gypsies, which has been renamed in 8/2022 to Big Apple Divers which is a not for profit social and scuba diving club that has been around since 1971 and based in Manhattan. Adam is a certified Dive Master through Scuba Schools International and loves being underwater as often as he can.  Adam was asked by the late Gene Ritter who served as Executive Director for NYSMEA for several years and who is locally famous for exploring the waters off the coast of Coney Island and discovering the "Dreamland Bell" that went down in a fire off the tip of a wooden pier over 100 years ago. It rested in 20 ft. of water for over 100 years while thousands of people swam within 100 ft. of it.  Adam had a lot of respect and admiration for Gene Ritter and was amazed at these events that Gene was responsible for helping to get started.  Adam has picked up where Gene Ritter left off and then some by keeping "It's My Estuary Day" and "International Coastal Cleanup" alive and strong. His goal is to recruit local teachers that will help partner in these events to create a much better experience for the local urban inner-city student. Adam strives to create more free community educational events for everyone but focused on students of all ages. He actively tries to find new volunteers to help NYSMEA run our volunteer programs effectively and has been successful at bringing in Christopher Drew who currently heads our ROV Team and puts his boots on the ground by performing live ROV demos to students from Coney Island to The Bronx.

Treasurer- Sarah Richards, Saint Ann’s School

Sarah Richards has taught science at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, NY since 1987. During her te
nure there, Sarah has taught General Science, Earth Science, Anatomy and Physiology, Oceanography, Marine Biology, and Meteorology. She has also served as Chair and Associate Chair of the Science Department. Sarah started a two-week Summer Science Camp for middle schoolers at Saint Ann’s eight years ago, and has coached a team for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl for the past ten years. Sarah believes in the importance of experiential learning, and has designed and led many field trips for her students. From 1989-2001, she took her high school students on a week-long trip each spring to the Hofstra University Marine Lab in Jamaica, and since 2002, she’s been leading comparable trips to the Florida Everglades and Newfound Harbor Marine Institute on Big Pine Key. Sarah was selected to participate in the Sea Experience for Teachers sponsored by the Sea Education Association in 1991, and the Down Under, Out Yonder program sponsored by the Gulf of Mexico Foundation in 2009. Sarah received her B.A. from Oberlin College, and her M.S. in Science Education from Oregon State University. She has been an active member of the NY State Marine Education Association since 1993, and currently serves as NYSMEA’s Treasurer and Annual Conference Coordinator. She was awarded NYSMEA’s Kinghan Service Award in 2004 and the SCONYC (Science Council of New York City)’s Science Education Award in 2005. In 2006, Sarah served as co-chair of the annual National Marine Educators Association Conference, which was held in Brooklyn, and was elected to the NMEA Board of Directors in 2008, where she serves as the chair of the History Committee. In her spare time, Sarah is the principal second violinist of the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys cooking, reading, and traveling - especially to destinations where she can SCUBA dive with her husband, Clive, and son, Thomas!

College Vice President - Dr. Meghan Marrero

Dr. Meghan Marrero is a Professor of Secondary Science Education at Mercy University and co-Director of the Mercy Center for STEM Education, working primarily to improve access to STEM education for diverse learners. Her research centers on ocean literacy of students and teachers, as well as STEM teacher education. Meghan was a Fulbright Scholar to Ireland in 2018, where she focused on teaching and research around family learning in science and engineering for early childhood students and their families. A former high school science teacher in New York City, Meghan has been involved with several national and international ocean literacy initiatives and currently serves as the United States National Coordinator for the All-Atlantic Blue Schools and USA Blue Schools. She served as President of the New York State Marine Education Association (NYSMEA) from 2009-2014, and President of the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) in 2018-19. Meghan holds a B.S. in Biological Science from Cornell University, an M.A. and EdD in science education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an advanced certificate in educational leadership from Queens College.

High School Vice President - Margaret Flanagan

 A Native New Yorker, Maggie Flanagan graduated from Bank Street College of Education and served special needs students in city schools for many years.  With a passion for both environmental and experiential education, Maggie next brought her hands-on science expertise out to the waterfront, becoming Director of Marine Education at South Street Seaport Museum and inspiring students and community members to better understand and appreciate our valuable natural resources and vibrant maritime heritage.  Moving on as Waterfront Alliance’s Director of Education and Outreach, Maggie expanded those important opportunities to environmental justice waterfronts and in underserved communities.  In addition to now developing education programs for Working Harbor Committee, Maggie serves on the New York Harbor School Professional Advisory Committee and is excited to join the NYSMEA Board as VP for Secondary Education. 
Since catching the inspiration to make New York Harbor her classroom, Maggie explored the wider marine world by boating down the coast and on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, including as NOAA Teacher At Sea.  But though she’s sailed far and wide, one of her most meaningful professional networks remains NYSMEA.  “Since joining NYSMEA about 15 years ago,” Maggie shares, “the annual conferences have inspired me with unique, in-depth content, the membership programs have offered great speakers and behind-the-scenes access to field trip education centers, the Strandline newsletter helps me link to new resources, and the camaraderie with other educators is a true joy.  Here’s looking forward to this years’ conference on April 29th and continuing NYSMEA’s tradition of marine education that’s both fun and fulfilling!”

Elementary Vice President - Thomas Greene

Thomas Greene was born in Bay Ridge and grew up in Marine Park. Tom, along with his three brothers, would hop on the Surf Ave bus to Brighton Beach and Coney Island where they learned how to swim and spend endless hours looking for marine creatures along the shore. Little did Tom know that these formative years would plant the seeds that would germinate later into a life spent in aquatics and marine science.

Tom joined the swim team at James Madison HS and swam competitively at NYU while majoring in Biology and receiving his BA and MS degrees. During these high school and college years Mr. Greene was employed by the NYC Parks Dept. as a lifeguard in Coney Island.

This experience in public service motivated him to consider teaching as a career. He was hired as a science teacher by the NYC Board of Education and assigned to Fort Hamilton HS where he taught for 40 years, ten of which as Assistant Principal. He discovered that the school had no swimming teams, so he organized separate boys and girls teams- in a school without a pool!! For 20 years he waged a battle with community support to get City officials to build a pool in one of the only NYC communities without one. The pool  was built in 1990 and named the Thomas Greene Natatorium in honor of its founder.

In parallel with Mr Greene’s aquatic endeavors are his efforts in promoting marine science education in the K-12 schools. He joined the New York State Marine Education Association in the 1970’s. He served as president in the early 2000’s and is current VP for Elementary School Education. NYSMEA and its parent organization NMEA , with their  numerous annual conferences ,inspired him to write a curriculum in marine biology and oceanography, to develop a NY State Regents approved Marine Science Regents Exam  in the 1990’s, and to be the author of a Textbook in Marine Science, used widely today.

Mr Greene’s efforts in trying “to make known the world of water” continues under the NYSMEA umbrella. He views the challenge in bringing marine science education to all students as being  greater than ever before  given the very serious climate change crisis under which we all live.

Special Education Vice President - Blanca Ching

Blanca Ching has been a dedicated member of NYSMEA for the past two decades. She is currently a VP of Special Education on NYSMEA’s Board and would like to continue in that position. Ms. Ching is uniquely qualified since she teaches several special needs students as a science teacher at Fort Hamilton HS.

Ms. Ching has a broad background in science education with a master’s degree in Geology from Brooklyn College. Her knowledge and experience in teaching Earth Science is put to good use by engaging her students in a number of meaningful outdoor hands-on activities. She understands that students learn  science best by doing it.

Blanca has been instrumental in putting together the NYSMEA sponsored annual beach clean-ups at Denyse Wharf. Her participation in numerous NYSMEA Conferences over the years shows her sense of loyalty and commitment to an organization that is dedicated to the mission of making known the world of water to the public at large.

Committee Chairs-(Appointed)

Awards - Dr. Merryl Kafka

In her capacity as Curator of Education (and a 30-year career history) at the N.Y. Aquarium, Dr. Kafka has been instrumental in providing exciting, marine science programming to community groups, families, school children, and teachers throughout the New York City area.  Her efforts, along with the dedication of her colleagues, resulted in producing one of the most creative and awarded aquarium education departments in the nation, as well as
co-founding the successful Rachel Carson HS of Coastal Studies in Coney Island. Merryl has also worked with the NYS DEC for 14 years, in concert with the NY Aquarium, to help citizens avoid wetland violations and advance public programming via Project P.O.W.E.R: Protecting Our Wetlands with Educators and Regulators, creating a unique national model.

Merryl is the recipient of many awards; from the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency for Coastal America’s Restoration Award for “Project Creek”, an environmental partnership award on habitat restoration in Coney Island, to recently receiving the “Lifelong Devotion to Marine Education Exemplary Service Award” from NYSMEA, which she has been a member since 1979. She is currently a summer adjunct Professor at Brooklyn College’s AREAC (Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center), co-teaching “Urban Marine Ecology” for the College Now program for high school students, and an onboard educator for whale and dolphin watching on the American Princess in Ft. Tilden.  She also serves on the advisory committee of Dowling College’s Center for Estuaries, Environmental and Coastal Oceans Monitoring (C.E.E.C.O.M.). Merryl will continue to ensure that our coastal treasures remain understood, appreciated, and protected for generations to enjoy. 

Dr. Kafka received her M.S. Degree in Biology and N.Y. State Certificate of Museum Studies from New York University, and earned her doctorate in Instructional Leadership from St. John’s University

Director - Long Island - Lou Siegel

(Past President - May 2021-December 2022.)
From 2003 to 2018 Lou was the Science Coordinator at the L. I. South Shore Estuary Reserve. As an adjunct professor at Adelphi University, From 2012 to 2016, Lou taught an intensive, one week graduate course. Marinating MST was part of the NOYCE Program and was directed at pre- and in-service teachers. The aim of the course was to expose students to the Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math of the local Marine environment. Lou has also been an adjunct associate professor at Dowling College teaching Biology, Physical and Environmental Sciences and Marine Biology and was a co-PI of their NSF NOYCE Scholars Program which ended in January of 2014.

In June of 2003 he retired from 36 years as a teacher and Science Chairperson on the high school level. He was an early author and teacher of the NYC Marine Biology curriculum offered at the experimental John Dewey HS in Brooklyn; Chair of the Dept. of Science and Oceanography at Beach Channel HS in Queens; and Chair of the Science and Technology Dept. at Oceanside HS on LI. Lou was a founder, past president and active board member in the 45 year old New York State Marine Education Association (NYSMEA.) He has chaired several of their annual student and teacher conferences and was the initial web master of the web page. Lou edited "Learning in the Estuary," a compilation of lesson plans, in 2002. Lou has long been involved in pre- and in-service teacher education. His course, Shipboard Marine Science, funded by grants from private corporations, and the EPA, has been taken by a large cross-section of teachers and environmental educators. He developed the South Shore Estuary Learning Facilitators Program (sSELF) which trained students and environmental groups to monitor the environment.
Lou spends much of his spare time with his wife and 5 grandchildren, preferably outdoors.
Lou's interests include photography, sailing, and kayaking and he has reportedly been seen fishing for striped bass.

Secretary -  Karla Ferraro

Financial - Sarah Richards

Annual Conference - Sarah Richards

NMEA Representative -  Sara Richards


Student Conference

Public Relations

NYSMEA Address:

Tom Greene

Physical Science Dept.

Kingsborough Community College

2001 Oriental Blvd.

Brooklyn, NY  11235

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