By Brooke Carney, National Sea Grant Office
March 2016 marks the start of Sea Grant’s 50th anniversary year. In honor of the 50th anniversary, Sea Grant is organizing a year of outreach efforts to highlight how Sea Grant has successfully been “putting science to work for America’s coastal communities” for 50 years. The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness about the successful approach Sea Grant programs throughout the country use to apply research and community engagement tactics in order to bring about positive impacts to coastal communities in the areas of healthy coastal ecosystems, resilient communities and economies, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and environmental literacy and workforce development.
The Sea Grant model of directly engaging community members to identify pressing information and research needs and then working with both scientists and the individuals who will put research to work has been honed and perfected over the last 50 years, leading to countless stories of positive impacts. Through the 50th anniversary campaign, Sea Grant aims to share these stories such that they may lead to more research, more partnerships, and ultimately, more positive impacts for coastal communities.
A Sea Grant Extension Agent shows residents of Big Pine Key, Florida how to monitor water quality near their home as part of Sea Grant’s local “Water Watch” program. Connecting science to people has been at the core of Sea Grant's mission for 50 years. Image: Florida Sea Grant.
To focus outreach messages of the 50th anniversary year, Sea Grant is organizing its outreach into monthly themes that each highlights an area of focus for the program. In March 2016, the First 50 Years will take a look back at the individuals and projects that have built the program as it is today. The Knauss fellowship, graduate education, “k to gray” education, and workforce development themes will all highlight a different aspect of Sea Grant’s education and training functions. Water resources and healthy coastal habitats are themes that will focus on Sea Grant’s work in sustaining and restoring healthy coastal ecosystems. The community resilience, sustainable development, aquaculture and fisheries, and coastal tourism themes will highlight how Sea Grant works to ensure resilient coastal communities and economies. The year will end in March 2017 with a month of looking ahead to the next 50 years of Sea Grant and how the program might evolve to meet new challenges using its finely tuned approach of community engagement paired with focused and applied research.
Throughout the year, Sea Grant will share stories of positive impacts in local communities through web, social media, and print outlets. Special events will be hosted and presentations made to highlight the program’s impacts. The Sea Grant network, Sea Grant Association, Sea Grant Advisory Board, and the National Sea Grant Office are all participating in a coordinated and diverse approach to carrying out the goals of this campaign.
More information on the 50th anniversary campaign
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