Guam residents appreciate the familiar sight of sport fishing charters, outrigger canoes, and dive boats on the island’s nearshore waters, but opulent racing yachts and Gilded Age mansions form the impressive tableau to a visitor of Rhode Island’s Narrangasett Bay.
Newport, a seaside city in Narrangasett Bay, grew out of America’s whaling industries, slave trade, and America’s Cup races, but from October 11-14 it primarily hosted the Sea Grant College Program’s 50th Anniversary and biannual Sea Grant Week.
Over 150 staff from the 33 programs throughout the Great Lakes, coastal regions, and some islands gathered to attend workshops on topics as varied as conflicts between advocacy and research, marine spatial planning, sustainable boating, recycling of discarded fiberglass boats, fiscal management, and infographic design.
UOG Sea Grant (UOGSG) team members Dr. John Peterson, Jim Hollyer, and Marie Auyong went to Sea Grant Week to meet researchers, extension agents, and communication professionals of the national network and share UOGSG’s most recent activities.
“Sea Grant has been going strong for 50 years in the U.S., and now Guam is part of this dynamic and dedicated network,” said Dr. Peterson, UOGSG Director. “Sea Grant connects science through community action with our relation to the sea, to the tropical western Pacific, and with other communities throughout the world grappling with problems like sea level rise, increasingly higher sea surface temperatures, and changing ocean ecology. Guam also is in a unique place to work with Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries to develop and nurture their own Sea Grant programs. This conference in Newport was a great forum to meet colleagues and share stories.”
But the real value-added of the Week, in addition to meeting Sea Grant professionals, was the ability to explore Rhode Island projects and learn how elements could be useful in the Guam context. Opportunities included boat trips to an offshore wind farm and a tour of Dr. Robert Ballard’s Inner Space Center, which offers live video streams from deep sea research vessels. Dr. Ballard is most famous for his discovery of the Titanic.
“In the coming months we will put out a competitive request to work on some research and outreach topics we identified at a listening session on August 30, 2016,” says Jim Hollyer, Associate Director. “We are looking for some right-sized impacts with these projects.”
For notes and presentation slides from the meeting, go to http://sgw2016.seagrant.gso.uri.edu/ Of particular note, the national Sea Grant office is finalizing its strategic plan, which will affect local research priorities and program implementation.