Cookies and Kool Aid for Conservation

We’ve all heard the somewhat antiquated but oft-quoted statement that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. As it turns out, this age-old trick is invaluable when tackling the challenges of community-based conservation. There are, of course, those who are already fired up and will jump at a chance to talk protected areas management and fisheries regulation. But for those community members who do not seek out conservation-themed events, four simple words all but guarantee attendance: “food and drinks provided.” This simple phrase works its magic across borders, generations, and genders, and it should not be dismissed for its seeming triviality. When you’re attempting to drum up support for conservation through community events, attendance is key. No one becomes a die-hard ocean champion over night but if you can bring people to the table with the promise of cookies and Kool Aid the future begins to look a little brighter. Continue reading

Human centered design for CBRM

The weeks have passed quickly in Hawaii.  Between sunsets and conference calls July turned to August. Adventure and work have co-mingled in an internship that has expanded my conservation knowledge to the practicalities of internal operations and external partnerships. I don’t have to tell you how beautiful Hawaii is, but it takes a while to explore and get to know this place. I have been to many beautiful beaches, swum with sea turtles, seen countless humuhumunukunukuapua’a (reef trigger fish), observed a mother monk seal and her pup, and have been alerted by panicked beach goers of a shark in the water.

The mountains of Waimanalo

Swimming with turtles at Electric Beach

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A Break for Blue Pioneers

It’s hard to believe I have less than a month left before the end of my fellowship. This past month has flown by. I had a two week hiatus from my work with NOAA to participate in the Blue Pioneers Program, a pilot program funded by the Packard Foundation which seeks to build a pipeline of social entrepreneurs in the Chinese Blue Economy. The two week program consisted of lectures, workshops, group excursions and a business pitch which culminated with a sleepover at the Monterey Bay Aquarium! It was an amazing opportunity to work with students from China and Blue Economy Professionals from all over the world. We covered topics ranging from supply chain transparency, to aquaculture feed, to funding and scaling startup ventures. Since my fellowship has been focused solely on the government sector, it was nice to look at things from an NGO and business perspective.

On the final night of BPP, we spent the night in the aquarium while polishing up our business pitches.

While not in the program, I’ve continued to work on my project of analyzing the level of benthic habitat regulations within federal MPAs. It’s been pretty tedious tracking down all of the regulations that exist in so many different places. At most sites, I’m looking at executive orders, management plans, the code of federal regulations and myriad other sources from multiple federal agencies. It feels good to know that my completed work will serve as a solid foundation for others to build upon.

Since Monterey is the satellite office, conference calls with the East Coast are pretty regular.

When I’m not digging through management plans, I get to spend time around heritage harbor enjoying the weather we’ve had this summer. A few weeks ago, the entire office got together for a bocce ball tournament. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

The office bocce ball tournament (I didn’t win unfortunately).

I’m approaching the end of my fellowship and for the next few weeks I’ll be hard at work taking all of my research and translating into a more visual format. This experience has been very rewarding so far and I look forward to taking my new knowledge and expertise with me when I am finished.

Observing Fisheries Governance & Management First Hand in São Tomé

July was an exciting and enriching month for me split between the island nation of São Tomé and Principe and FAO headquarters in Rome. I spent the first week of July in the capital of São Tomé participating in a FAO mission in support of that country’s first ever National Fisheries Week and in response to a request by the government to work with FAO to develop a national Blue Growth strategy. Continue reading

Find Your Tribe

How do you, as a young, new comer contribute to an organization that has been working on complex environmental issues for 50 years and is already staffed by intelligent, dedicated and creative people? This is what I’ve been asking myself since starting this internship. I still don’t know if I have a full answer, but I’ve definitely been doing what I can to help with the issues EDF is trying to address.  Continue reading