Edit – broken mailto link at bottom fixed – if you have a story, please send it to me! I plan to put a few together into later posts.
With the current administration attempting to torpedo NOAA’s incredible SeaGrant program, I’ve gotten into a reflective mood. One could highlight the tremendous return on investment of SeaGrant – 750% for every dollar spent. Or the thousands of people who have been employed (jobs!) off of SeaGrant. Or the reams and reams of awesome ocean science, vital coastal protection knowledge, tasty farmed seafood, or ways fishing has been made more sustainable and profitable due to SeaGrant.
But for me, this is personal. Because #IAmSeagrant.
Were it not for NOAA Sea Grant, my career would have failed to launch. I don’t say this flippantly, I mean really truly likely failed to launch. After building up my initial store of equipment and doing some preliminary research, I needed to find money to support graduate and undergraduate students as well as all of the small things (air! jars! nail polish remover!) that are needed for summer field research in marshes and kelp forests. With a 10% success rate, I knew that all of my NSF submissions were likely to fail (still trying). Moreover, I wanted to build myself as a local research, understanding the seas of New England. I wanted to know how we are changing them and how we can use them to serve society better. Which was perfect,as there was SeaGrant with its mission to “help the nation understand, manage and use the Nation’s coastal resources wisely”. Perfect. I’ve received funds from MIT SeaGrant and Woods Hole SeaGrant to look at the services provided by New England salt marshes and kelps, and communicate these in public talks and high school classrooms. I’ve employed six graduate students and two dozen undergraduates – enabling them to train to become the leaders of tomorrow. I and my students have lectured to hundreds of people around New England to educate them about their coastal resources. We’ve made cheap low-cost solutions to expensive ocean sensing problems that will benefit researchers, agencies, and industry. I’ve pumped dollars into our local economy, supporting local jobs. And my career has been able to soar, with good reviews on how I’ve been able to work with SeaGrant to fund my lab and enable it to establish a reputation for quality local marine science. It has been the cornerstone of my career’s successes.
I am SeaGrant.
I know I’m not alone, too. And I’d like to know about it.
If you’re like me, please, tweet to #IAmSeaGrant with your story. If you’ve got something longer, like mine above, send it to me. I’ll collect them and make a few posts with your stories.
I can’t wait to hear your stories about this amazing program that is so vitally important to anyone whose toes have ever touched the ocean.