3 weeks in my internship at EDF

If you’re wondering why I’m in my wetsuit with a laptop, this is a pretty good representation of my work-from-home life that started on 1 June 2020 as a Climate Science Intern at the Environmental Defense Fund. Despite not being able to work in the San Fransisco office this summer, I managed to find a good work-life balance that keeps me in a good headspace. A quick morning surf helps me jumpstart my day filled with research, report writing, and meetings.

I hit the ground running assisting in three projects of the RAD (Research and Development) Team: conducting a literature review to find a defensible reference point for Indonesia’s blue swimming crab fishery, developing a climate profiling tool in the Gulf of Mexico, and updating the Framework for Integrated Stock and Habitat Evaluation (nickname FISHE). These seemingly separate projects all share common themes of fish stock assessment and climate change.

Three weeks in, I feel extremely fortunate to be working with such a RAD team (haha) that is knowledgable and supportive. Coming to the end of June, I plan on wrapping up the Indonesia blue swimming crab project. At this point, I have examined the different stock assessment methods and their applicability to Indonesia’s blue swimming crab fishery in terms of biological, ecological, economic, and social considerations. After ongoing internal discourse and guidance from my supervisor, Rod, I will be writing up recommendations for the Indonesian team at EDF and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Indonesia. Be on the lookout for the post. Till then!

A Garden, a Computer, and One Thriving Intern

Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions & Monterey Bay Seaweeds

Working from home; the song everyone seems to be singing this summer. In my case, I am very fortunate to work for two amazing organizations right from my garden. The only slight inconvenience to this is perhaps the woodpeckers, who seem to have perfectly timed their pecking to the toon of my 9am calls.

My internship with the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions is off to a great start. I spent the first 2 weeks reading up on the history of the Alliance, getting to know some key partner organizations, and diving deep into the Monterey Framework. Currently we are working on cataloging social responsibility efforts by creating a master list of international laws, conventions, and guidance tools concerning human rights in the fishing industry. My all female team is very dedicated to these issues, and are looking forward to bringing new organizations to the table to better reach all members of the supply chain, in order to support a more socially responsible global seafood industry.

My internship with Monterey Bay Seaweeds has also been going swimmingly (LOL). MB Seaweeds is currently looking for new and innovative ways to expand their growing aquaculture facility. Currently, we supply seaweed to high-end seafood restaurants around the US. However, the restaurant industry is just one small industry with regards to seaweed potential. Currently, I am helping the team with the initial research phase of where to explore next with our seaweeds. This could be partnering with RAS companies to not only use seaweed as a bio filtration mechanism, but also as a secondary crop, or partnering with an “alternative seafood” company, which is a rapidly growing market. Regardless of where we turn next, this small company has a lot of promise, and I am very excited to be working with the team in these initial phases.

Finding Balance

As expected, remote work has had its ups and downs so far, but in all has been a positive growth experience. I have to be honest though, having started both of my internships just last week, it took me a minute to find my balance. This was less about the heavy workload and more about figuring out what schedule worked best for me, as I was now free to manage my own time. I’ve been learning a lot about my own decision-making processes through this COVID experience. In other words, I’ve learned that I do not need to re-pot more house plants every time I’m stressed.

My time at Surfrider has been a blast so far. This past week I was busy becoming familiar with each state’s coastlines, all online of course, but it was very interesting to see the coastal dynamics change as I traced my way around the country. I found myself in many rabbit holes trying to understand different coastal environments and the mitigation measures each state had taken so far to protect them. My supervisor, Stefanie, has been great and has only added to this curiosity. As of now, I will be starting to analyze the gaps that each state has in their mitigation measures for protecting their coastlines. It feels empowering to know that I can be relied upon to translate these findings.

With Wildcoast, I’ve started my time by listening in on coalition meetings and organizing my thoughts to initiate the literature review for Wildcoast’s and San Diego County’s Blue Carbon Program. From here, my supervisor and I will start organizing potential sample sites around the county to analyze how much carbon is being sequestered, and how much could be sequestered. Our hope is that by the end of next month, or early August, we will be able to aid Scipps researchers in obtaining samples.

Because my internships this summer are in Southern California, and my time in Monterey is done, I will actually be migrating down south soon to complete these positions. I look forward to reporting back to everyone from sunny Southern California.

Blue Carbon in Marine Protected Areas

At the start of the school year, I never would have guessed I would be working from my apartment in Monterey. I am interning for the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) office working on blue carbon sequestration and storage within the sanctuary boundaries. The GFNMS office has been very welcoming and supportive as I begin work on Blue Carbon storage in the sanctuary. I have been working for three weeks and since the start I hit the ground running reading and writing for my comprehensive literature review on blue carbon in marine protected areas. This is a burgeoning field and there are considerable gaps in our knowledge and understanding of how much carbon can be sequestered by oceanic ecosystems, however I am excited to participate in the growing body of knowledge.

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Remote Work with the Ocean Protection Council

It’s been three full weeks since I’ve started my internship and it’s flown by. I’m so happy to be a climate change intern with the Ocean Protection Council (OPC). I’m working with the climate change team to scope out and research a critical infrastructure resiliency plan. This work will focus on examining the impacts of sea-level rise on coastal infrastructure and work to identify the solutions needed to adapt. This entails reading many vulnerability assessments which will lead to writing a white paper to inform the request for bid for the plan. This is incredibly relevant to my career goal to work on coastal adaptation and resiliency and it’s been a great way to explore this further. 

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Cameron & OC

Building Relationships During COVID-19

I, like many people, had reservations about working remotely for the entire summer. Would I be able to participate and network? Would I be able to prove my value in such a short period just over zoom? Would my work style be compatible? Well, I am happy to report that both of my internships are off to great starts. I would normally describe myself as professional yet amicable, much of which is part of my in-person personality. This experience has begun to challenge that but only in the best way. Our zoom calls with Ocean Conservancy are rare but I can attribute that to the trust our team has built and also confided in me. The first major milestone being an in-person, outdoor, socially-distanced lunch meeting in Santa Cruz. We were able to discuss my work so far, the ideal outcome and also my capabilities and interests which my team has respected and simultaneously pushed me on. I’m grateful for our in-person meeting for an elongated discussion and the ability to be a bit more candid about our expectations. I have high hopes for the rest of the summer.

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The Start of a New Adventure

It’s been an exciting start to being an Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) intern! I have the privilege of working with the Oceans Program and Research and Development Team. I am assisting the Japan Support Team, answering questions and providing research and metrics for policy implementation. The position is flexible and on top of the work I am doing with policy implementation, I have also been given the opportunity to explore other aspects of fisheries policy in the form of cellular seafood research and the creation and integration of climate profiles into current research. I love having my fingers dipped into all the different paint pots! It’ll help me paint my own picture after grad school.

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Kelsey Shoup: Socially Responsible Seafood and Sustainable Seaweed

Seafood Solutions
Oakland, CA USA
June 1-August 17, 2020

Monterey Bay Seaweeds
Moss Landing Marine Labs, Moss Landing, CA, USA
June 1-August 17

This summer, Kelsey will be splitting her time between two organizations: Seafood Solutions and Monterey Bay Seaweeds. At Seafood Solutions Kelsey will support the Project Director to advance select projects of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions. She will focus primarily on supporting the Alliance’s goal to advance norms and guidance on social responsibility in seafood.

At Monterey Bay Seaweeds, she will work on multiple projects surrounding the production of sustainable seaweed including; social responsibility; sustainability in production and distribution, marketing and branding, fundraising, etc.

Janet Kung: Climate Change and Fisheries Management

Environmental Defense Fund
San Francisco, CA, USA
June 1- August 7, 2020

Janet will support EDF Oceans in developing country-by-country climate change sensitivity profiles and incorporating climate change impacts into fishery management tools. She will assist the Lead Senior Scientist, Oceans with reviewing peer-reviewed literature on climate change effects on fisheries, supporting research to advance climate-ready fishery management tools, drafting papers on critical topics, and coordinating research efforts among EDF staff and other institutions. By the end of the internship, Janet hopes to have expanded her skills related to climate change and fisheries management and will have a deeper understanding of how ideas and concepts for climate-ready fishery management can be turned into action.

Illeana Alexander: Fisheries Policy for Japan

Environmental Defense Fund
San Francisco, CA, USA
June 1 – August 7, 2020

This summer Illeana will be working with the Environmental Defense Fund as an Intern in the Ocean Program. They will be working with the Support Japan Team on the developing a way to evaluate the status of Japan’s effort to implement new fisheries policy. They will also help answer any follow up questions from Japan’s team in regards to the nearshore fisheries management paper.