Connecticut Sea Grant

CT Sea Grant Fall-Winter Magazine

Wrack Lines cover

Connecticut Sea Grant has published their Fall-Winter 2021-2022 issue of Wrack Lines magazine. The theme is “Discovery, Rediscovery and Rebirth”. It can be found in print and online here

The lead article package describes the Connecticut Estuarine Research Reserve (CT NERR), a collection of the waters and lands at the lower Connecticut River and the lower Thames River, along with Bluff Point and Haley Farm State Parks, and its expected designation in early 2022.

Additional articles tell the story of researchers’ work to pinpoint the cause of the invasive seaweed problem plaguing Little Narragansett Bay in Stonington, and of the top-to-bottom redesign underway at one of Connecticut’s storied educational institutions, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven.

CT Sea Grant publishes guidebook on Long Island Sound

In the early 1990s Connecticut Sea Grant published popular guidebooks of Long Island Sound called Living Treasures: The Plants and Animals of Long Island Sound and Tesoros Vivientes: Las plantas y animales del Long Island Sound. Accompanying the books, the Sea Grant educators also developed slide presentations, which provide a great overview of the plants and animals that live in the underwater and shoreline habitats of the Sound. These photo tours, produced by Nancy Balcom, associate director of Connecticut Sea Grant, has been recently updated with new slides and photos. 

The Living Treasures PowerPoint in Spanish and English along with StoryMap of the undersea life of Long Island Sound can be found here.

For information on obtaining the Living Treasures: The Plants and Animals of Long Island Sound and Tesoros Vivientes: Las plantas y animales del Long Island Sound booklets, visit: https://seagrant.uconn.edu/?p=864.

 

Published by Connecticut Sea Grant

Cover image of "Living Treasures: The Plants and Animals of Long Island Sound" PowerPointTesoros Vivientes title slide

Celebrate CT Trails Day June 5 with Thames River Quests

The Thames River Heritage Park and Connecticut Sea Grant are celebrating Connecticut Trails Day on June 5 by inviting people to visit one or more of the four park sites where they can enjoy a self-guided, educational activity and receive a complimentary harbor cruise ticket for the heritage park water taxi.

In the Thames River Quests, first offered on Trails Day in 2018, participants follow a set of clues to different locations at each site to solve a word puzzle and learn about the region’s history and ecology. The Quests take place at Fort Trumbull State Park and the downtown Waterfront Park in New London; and at Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park and Thames Street in Groton.

For the second year, the Quests are available as self-guided activities people can enjoy any time, but those who register and complete the Quests on Trails Day can receive a free harbor cruise ticket and will be eligible to enter a prize drawing for heritage park T-shirts. The tickets can be used on the park water taxi once it begins operating for the season on June 12.

“These Quests are a shining example of our communities and local organizations working together and taking advantage of the resources we have right here to provide family-friendly and fun park experience,” said Capt. Paul Whitescarver, TRHP board president.

Those who plan to do one or more of the Quests on Trails Day are asked to pre-register on the heritage park website beginning on May 20. Everyone planning to do the Quests should download and print the directions from their home computer at: thameriverheritagepark.org/quests.

“These Quests are a wonderful way to get outside and visit places perhaps you haven’t before, while learning about the rich  maritime heritage and history of the Thames River region,” said Nancy Balcom, associate director of Connecticut Sea Grant.

At the end of each Quest, participants are asked to take a photo and post it to their Facebook or Instagram account with @ThamesRiverHeritagePark #TRHPQuest or email it to: info@thamesriverheritagepark.org to receive their complimentary ticket and to be entered into the prize drawing. Winners will be randomly selected throughout the summer.

Photos of the winners will be posted on the Thames River Heritage Park’s Facebook page. In addition to the Thames River Heritage Park and Connecticut Sea Grant, the Thames River Quests are also sponsored by The Day Publishing Co.

New Interactive Tool Will Guide Shellfish Restoration in LIS

shellfish in Long Island SoundOyster habitat in Long Island Sound is a bit like sunny summer days at the seashore—generally speaking, the more the merrier.

These native bivalves help keep the Sound clean by filtering excess nutrients and shoring up shorelines with colonies that create structure and buffer wave action, while also creating habitat for juvenile fish and other marine life. Plus, they provide a nutritious human food source for commercial and recreational shellfishermen to harvest.

With the shared belief that more is better when it comes to oysters, diverse groups have come together to find areas to expand the presence of these shellfish in the Sound. While each group’s main motivations may differ—from habitat restoration to improving water quality to growing the state’s shellfish industry—the common goal of achieving a healthier Sound through oyster restoration projects has led to the creation of a new online tool to advance that aim.

Read more…

Getchis recognized with award for pandemic response efforts

Tessa Getchis shows samples of three species of shellfish found in Long Island Sound, clams, mussels and oysters.
Tessa Getchis shows samples of three species of shellfish found in Long Island Sound: clams, mussels and oysters. Judy Benson / CT Sea Grant

Connecticut Sea Grant Aquaculture Extension Specialist Tessa Getchis will receive a Service Excellence Award in the University of Connecticut chapter of the American Association of University Professors’ 2021 UConn-AAUP Excellence Awards.

The awards have been given annually since 1997 in six categories, and this year focused specifically on responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Getchis, who also holds the title of senior cooperative extension educator, is being recognized for her role in the various responses to the impact of pandemic shutdown on the state’s commercial shellfishing industry. This included a quick-turnaround survey done early in the shutdown to assess the economic fallout on shellfish farmers. That was followed by assistance programs that included: hiring commercial shellfish workers to rehabilitate the state’s natural shellfish beds; development of a website to share information about direct-to-consumer seafood markets; buybacks of oversized oysters; and assistance with applications for various government financial aid programs.

“We were able to provide some early relief to shellfishermen, and we’re really motivated to keep going, because this wasn’t a one-time impact,” Getchis said.

She stressed that the entire response would not have been possible without the contributions of colleagues at CT Sea Grant and the state Department of Agriculture Bureau of Aquaculture.

“It was and is a team effort,” she said.

CT Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise said the award is well deserved.

“It reflects on the recognition of her passion, teamwork, continued leadership and energy,” he said.

Her award will be given in a virtual ceremony on April 28. Also receiving a Service Excellence Award will be three assistant professors, Milagros Castillo-Montoya, Sharde Davis and David Embrick. Ten others will receive awards in teaching excellence, teaching innovation, research and creativity.

To read more about the pandemic response efforts, visit:

https://seagrant.uconn.edu/2020/10/30/shellfish-farmers-stay-afloat-with-innovation-financial-aid/

https://seagrant.uconn.edu/2020/06/04/project-expands-support-for-ct-shellfish-industry/

https://seagrant.uconn.edu/2020/03/26/response-launched-for-severely-impacted-aquaculture-sector/

Original Post

LIS Blue Plan now in hands of CT Legislature

bull kelp in ocean looking up towards surfaceThe Long Island Sound Blue Plan, a marine spatial plan for what many consider the state’s most valuable natural resource, has been voted out of the state Legislature’s Environment Committee and awaits a vote in the full House and Senate. Read about the plan and why many believe it should be approved in articles by CT Sea Grant Communications Coordinator Judy Benson published March 5 in Connecticut Hearst Media newspapers, March 7 in The Day of New London and March 10 in the Connecticut Mirror.

Read the article published in The Day here.

Read the article published in CT Hearst Media newspapers here.

Read the article published in the Connecticut Mirror here.

The Long Island Sound Blue Plan can be found here.

Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher Program Intern Sought

Participants in the Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher program learn how to use a sifter for lessons about different types of sand during a workshop at Hammonassett Beach State Park in Madison in 2017.
Participants in the Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher program learn how to use a sifter for lessons about different types of sand during a workshop at Hammonassett Beach State Park in Madison. Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

Connecticut Sea Grant has announced a new internship opportunity for a graduate student in the Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher program. Applications are due by Feb. 26.

Description:

Connecticut Sea Grant (CTSG) based at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, Groton, seeks a graduate student intern to research, plan, develop, record, and edit virtual programming with educators and scientists focused on Long Island Sound (LIS) topics. Working directly with CTSG Education Coordinator Diana Payne and in collaboration with New York Sea Grant (NYSG) staff, the CTSG intern will learn about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) from Payne and virtual recording techniques from NYSG. Specifically, the CTSG intern will seek potential speakers whose research aligns with NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas (content) and can showcase Crosscutting Concepts and/or Science and Engineering Practices https://www.nextgenscience.org/three-dimensions. The CTSG intern may also assist in recruiting current and/or former LIS Mentor Teachers to share their expertise in teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the unexpected consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual sessions have replaced in-person workshops and professional learning opportunities for educators, that the CTSG Intern will help facilitate. Since its inception in 2002, the Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher (LISMT) program in Connecticut has consistently recruited high quality, creative and respected teachers to assist their peers in incorporating LIS content into curricula within the scope of the newly adopted Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). From 2002 through 2019, 39 LISMT and NGSS workshops in Connecticut have utilized 31 LIS mentor teachers to reach 511 formal and informal K-12 educators, and through them, a self-reported 32,317 students in 101 Connecticut cities, towns and regional school districts (60%). Of note, the LISMT program was selected as a Best Practice by the 2019 CTSG site review team.

Find more information here.

CT Sea Grant Fellowship Opportunities

salt marsh
Image by Judy Benson, Connecticut Sea Grant

Connecticut Sea Grant has announced new fellowship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students!

  • To learn more about the Undergraduate Summer Marine Science Research Fellowship for Underrepresented/Underserved Students click here.
  • To learn more about the Coastal & Marine Economics Fellowship 2021-22 click here.

25th season of Coastal Perspective Lectures Announced

Skip Finley
Skip Finley

The 25th season of the Coastal Perspectives Lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 9 with a presentation by author and historian Skip Finley titled, “A Voyage of Discovery with Skip Finley.”

This annual lecture series spans the breadth of human interactions with coastal waters, including speakers from the natural and social sciences as well as arts and humanities. It is sponsored  by Connecticut Sea Grant, the UConn Department of Marine Sciences, the UConn Maritime Studies program and the UConn Avery Point Director’s Office.

Author of the recently published book, Whaling Captains of Color – America’s First Meritocracy, Finley will tell the story of how whaling was the first American industry to exhibit any diversity, where a man could rise to the ranks of captain based on skill, not skin color. His book features stories from the lives of over 50 whaling captains of color. Join Skip as he shares some of the stories he uncovered during his ‘voyage of discovery’ and paints a picture of the career paths of whalers.

Cover of "Whaling Captains of Color: America's First Meritocracy"The lectures, which are free and open to the public, will take place virtually for spring 2021 at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays through April 20. Log-information will be available at: https://marinesciences.uconn.edu/lectures/. Guidance on using WebEx (our online platform) can be found at: JPG PDF

If organizers are able to move to in-person lectures, they will be held in the UConn Avery Point Auditorium, 1084 Shennecossett Road, Groton, CT. Please email CoastalPerspectives@uconn.edu if you have questions about accommodations. [campus map]

For more information or to be added to our email list, send an email to CoastalPerspectives@uconn.edu.

For more information on “A Voyage of Discovery with Skip Finley,” can be found here.

The rest of the series will include:

  • Feb. 23, Andrew Kahrl, professor of history and African American Studies, University of Virginia, “The Struggle toReclaim Connecticut’s Coastal Commons.” Kahrl will discuss his book “Free the Beaches: The Story of Ned Coll and the Battle for America’s Most Exclusive Shoreline, which recounts the history of coastal development, beach privatization, and racial segregation in twentieth-century Connecticut and the struggle to restore public access to the state’s shoreline from the 1970s to the present. He will also discuss the social and environmental impact of exclusionarypublic policies on the state’s coastline and its future implications. More information about his presentation can be found here.
  • March 9, Chris Bowser, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, “The Hudson River
    The Avery Point lighthouse looks out over Long Island Sound and Ledge Light at the mouth of the Thames River.
    The Avery Point lighthouse looks out over Long Island Sound and Ledge Light at the mouth of the Thames River. Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

    Eel Project: Fish Conservation through Community Engagement.” Learn more about the mysterious American eel (glass eel). Bowser will introduce the world of glass eels, touch on the international cultural aspects of eels, as well as dive deep into the community science work characterizing glass eel populations on the Hudson River and how that community science-based data are applied to conservation efforts. More information on his presentation can be found here.

  • March 23 and April 6, speakers to be determined. Check back at: https://marinesciences.uconn.edu/lectures/.
  • April 20, Margaret Gibson, Connecticut state poet laureate and UConn professor emerita; and David K. Leff, poet, lecturer and former deputy commissioner of CT DEEP, “Rousing the Ecological Imagination through Poetry.” Poetry is a means by which people can deeply connect with the world around them.  Ecology is a science of connection.  As we rush headlong into the Anthropocene, earth’s complex systems are increasingly lashed to and influenced by human activity. If the delicate balances among the planet’s organisms and habitats are to survive, humanity has to be roused to good stewardship. Poetry’s fresh images and concise, musical language has the voltage to strike that emotional chord supporting science and public policy by rousing consciousness, amplifying compassion. More information about this presentation can be found here.

Original Post

CTSG-led Project Looks to Help Unlock Potential of Seaweed

Story and photos by Judy Benson

Students in the “Global One Health: U.S. and Irish Perspective” class at the University of Connecticut see kelp harvested from J.P. Vellotti’s beds in Groton as part of a visit to the Noank Aquaculture Cooperative on May 16, 2019, organized by Connecticut Sea Grant.
Students in the “Global One Health: U.S. and Irish Perspective” class at the University of Connecticut see kelp harvested from J.P. Vellotti’s beds in Groton as part of a visit to the Noank Aquaculture Cooperative on May 16, 2019, organized by Connecticut Sea Grant.

Connecticut Sea Grant will lead a three-year, multi-state initiative to create the economic and business framework needed to spur the fledgling domestic kelp industry into the mainstream.

Supported by a $766,650 federal grant announced today, the project will involve nine East and West Coast states where nascent seaweed aquaculture businesses are being impeded from further growth by the absence of comprehensive financial and management information resources. The economic analysis and business plans created by this project would be intended for use by different types of kelp farms as well as investors and lenders.

“There has been a real need for the information to be produced by this project to support the development of the kelp industry in Connecticut and the United States,” said project leader Robert Pomeroy, UConn professor emeritus, extension specialist and marine resource economist at Connecticut Sea Grant.

He will work with experts and colleagues in Sea Grant and university extension programs in New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Alaska, Washington, California, New York and Massachusetts to develop education and outreach programs needed for seaweed farmers, investors and lenders to make informed decisions. The grant funds will pay mainly for staff time required to research and analyze information on existing farms and markets as well as varying regulatory and environmental conditions in different states.

“The anticipated outcomes of this project include more access to capital, more informed business decisions by farmers, investors and lenders, increased employment, greater success of business and environmental improvements,” Pomeroy said.

Working as co-investigator on the project will be Tammy Warner, assistant professor of management at Keene State College in New Hampshire. She will lead the business planning aspects.

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