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Marine Educator Rick Tinnin Receives National Award for Outreach

Marine Educator Rick Tinnin Receives National Award for Outreach
PORT ARANSAS, Texas—Dr. Rick Tinnin, director of marine education programs at The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute (MSI), has been awarded the 2007 James Centorino Award from the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA).

This award is given for distinguished performance in marine education by a NMEA member who is a professional educator outside the formal classroom setting.

Tinnin began working with Marine Education Services program in 1974 after earning a masters degree in marine biology from Texas A&I University at Kingsville. He was hired initially to conduct tours and field trips for visitors to the MSI, a custom started by Dr. Howard T. Odum and passed down to all subsequent directors.

Tinnin pioneered the "floating classroom" concept on the Texas Coast decades ago. Now, an average of 8,000 students per year participate in this first hand marine science experience. Sixty percent of the teachers who experience the program return with more students, some as many as 30 times. A number of the students who participated in the program are now marine science teachers themselves, and they acknowledge the impact of this first field experience on their future career choice.

“The rock jetties, marshes, bays, ocean and beach have been Rick's classroom. He has excited young children to senior citizens with his knowledge, insight and passion for the coastlines and ocean. He is one of the great teachers and truly meets the philosophy of the James Centorino Award,” said Tinnin’s colleague Dr. John Dindo, a marine scientist at the University of South Alabama.
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