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Fun projects require fun people! Here is the creative team behind the Beachcomber’s Companion© cards and this website:

Beachcomber’s Companion© cards
Tracey Crago
Tracey Crago Tracey is the former Communicator for the Sea Grant Program at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she was involved with marine science outreach and education for a variety of audiences. As co-author of Beachcomber’s Companion©, Crago spent a lot of time at the beach (tough assignment), collecting marine invertebrates, identifying them, and learning their common and scientific names. She also researched obscure and cool facts about each critter and now drives friends and family crazy with marine invertebrate trivia.

Michael DiSpezio
Michael DiSpezioDescribing Michael DiSpezio as a science educator is like describing a tornado as “windy.” Actually, describing DiSpezio as a tornado would be more accurate. A self-proclaimed "renaissance educator," DiSpezio has been involved in all aspects of science education. After earning his master’s in biology from Boston University, he worked as a research assistant to Nobel laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, before leaving to teach in the classroom for several years. Later, he began developing educational materials, curricula, books, and workshops, and has written for the PBS series Scientific American Frontiers, Discover magazine, The Weather Channel, and Discovery Channel. He served as curriculum architect for the JASON Academy and, in 2005, hosted 30 live broadcasts of the JASON Expedition for an audience of 1.7 million viewers.

Most recently, DiSpezio co-authored Sea Grant’s popular Beachcomber’s Companion© cards and provided content for this website. For that, he is working with his son Tony, a website developer specializing in Flash animation.

Tessa Morgan
Q: What does the Beachcomber’s Companion© have in common with exercising?
A: An illustrator.
Tessa MorganTessa Morgan had just published a children’s book she illustrated with scientist/author Nathalie Ward and was taking a signed copy to her aerobics teacher. As fate would have it, fellow aerobicizer Michael DiSpezio (see above) took a look and asked her to create the marine invertebrate illustrations for the Beachcomber’s Companion© project.

Illustrating more than 100 marine organisms was challenging, says Morgan, who found herself on some “interesting” field trips. Through local contacts—Woods Hole is a marine science town, after all—Morgan received sea scallops from one acquaintance, a microscope and worm collecting field trip from a neighbor, and a few visits to a local marine resources facility, courtesy of another neighbor.

In addition to her illustration work, Morgan’s pottery—whimsically adorned with pigs and fish and mermaids—has earned her a loyal following throughout New England and especially in Woods Hole, where she exhibits and teaches classes from her home-based studio, Flying Pig Pottery (www.flyingpigpottery.biz/).

Graphic Design:
Flanders + Associates, Inc.
Flanders + Associates, Boston, is the graphic design firm that created the ‘look and feel’ of the Beachcomber’s Companion©. They dove into uncharted waters with this first-of-its-kind kit, working hand-in-sand with WHOI staff to design and develop a playful field guide that beachcombers of all ages can use to explore seashore creatures and organisms. Have fun learning, thanks to Flanders + Associates' smart design.

The Blue Ocean, an interactive design and communications company, adapted the
catchy look of the printed Beachcomber’s Companion© cards into a complementary
design for the beachcomberscompanion.net website. They also created the
e-Postcards and developed the application that allows you to mail your favorite
marine critter to all of your friends. www.theblueocean.com

Flash Animation, Go Virtual Beachcombing:
Tony DiSpezio
Tony DiSpezioTony is a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design where he pursues his passion and talent in developing online interactions. Tony first entered the field as a flash animator and page designer for online graduate level science courses of the JASON Academy, a professional development offering funded by the US. Department of Education. He continues to work for the JASON Foundation for Education as a developer of objects that are used to populate the landscape of Blackboard, the Foundation’s online course delivery platform. For the new Beachcomber’s Companion© web site, Tony created the flash-based section of the site, Go Virtual Beachcombing, that incorporates video and animation into a complete online learning experience.

WHOI logo
Beachcombers Companion © is an educational project sponsored by:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Sea Grant Program
193 Oyster Pond Road, MS #2, Woods Hole, MA 02543-1525