Mike Gilman of Branford recently joined us as an Assistant Extension Educator with Connecticut Sea Grant, where he works with our aquaculture program. Mike received his bachelor of science from Albertus Magnus College and a master of science from Southern Connecticut State University.
What is your area of interest?
My main areas of interest are shellfish aquaculture, marine ecology, and education. I got into shellfish aquaculture by co-starting an oyster farm with a family friend/commercial fisherman.
What will your role be with UConn Extension?
My main roles will include teaching a shellfish aquaculture training course called, Foundations of Shellfish Farming. I’m also the state shell recycling coordinator where my focus is being a resource and liaison for all interested parties and stakeholders in the shell recycling world.
What excites you the most about working with UConn Extension?
I am very excited about the opportunity to work with UConn Extension. I have spent most of my professional life in shellfish aquaculture and teaching and this seems like a great opportunity to take all of the things that I have learned and tie them together. Everyone at UConn Extension and Connecticut Sea Grant that I have worked with so far has been incredible to work alongside and learn from and I look forward to that continuing.
What is one thing you hope people will learn from you and your work?
One thing that I hope people will learn from my work is that farming an oyster or clam is equal parts difficult and rewarding. And to really appreciate all that has gone into that plate of shucked shellfish getting served at a restaurant or raw bar.
What is your favorite thing to do in Connecticut?
My favorite thing to do in Connecticut is hike and explore different state parks with my family and dog Redwood.
What is the most unusual job you’ve had?
Probably all of the little fine details of oyster farming. One day you’re removing hundreds of pounds of sea grapes or tunicates from oyster cages and the next you might be fighting with a blue crab or oyster toadfish that wants to call your oyster cages home.
What are some of your hobbies and other interests?
Being outdoors with family and friends and chasing my kids around to all of their different events.