Internship Wrap Up

Last week my internship with NOAA officially ended. It feels like if flew by in a matter of weeks not months.

What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?

By the end of my internship, I wrote an extensive research paper containing the following: a comprehensive literature review on coastal and oceanic blue carbon, threats to blue carbon habitats, case studies of blue carbon analysis and restoration, market mechanisms to protect blue carbon, an assessment of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary blue carbon sources, and recommendations for MPA managers to implement blue carbon work. My paper will be published in the Spring and will be the first article to summarize blue carbon work in this much detail and with recommendations.

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As the Summer Ends…

Sadly my summer internships have come to a close and I will use this final blog post to reflect on my experience.

What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?

I am very proud project I completed with the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions. I created a master list of relevant laws and conventions concerning social responsibility in the seafood/ fishing industry. I then completed a document of detailed findings where the laws were defined, and a synthesis of findings was created to identify areas in the industry where more work needs to be done, and to also highlight the legality or lack there of on the varying topics relating to socially responsible seafood (Human rights, worker rights, gender rights, child protection, human trafficking, seafarer and ocean safety, social responsibility, and food security and nutrition). This document will be used by the Alliance to educate and orient member organizations to the relevant laws and conventions they should be aware of.

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Blue Carbon Mapping and Carbon Markets

It is truly incredible how quickly time flies. I have recently moved onto the next phase of my internship mapping the seagrass, kelp, and salt marsh extents in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Most of my time has been spent trying to find alternative datasets to make sure all known habitat extents are included in my analysis. Based on the area I estimate through mapping I am calculating how much carbon is stored and sequestered in the sanctuary every year. Once my results are complete, I will determine how much money can be gained by entering into the voluntary carbon market and the social benefit to society by sequestering carbon. This analysis is vital for the sanctuary to understand how much carbon they have stored and how potential restoration projects of salt marsh and seagrass may increase that amount. Helping the sanctuary has expanded my knowledge of blue carbon and participated in a growing field that is essential to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

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There and Back Again

And just like that, we’ve reached the dog days of summer! I say this in every post (and every check in meeting I had during my internship), but I really can’t believe how fast time has just flown by. I’ve gone running out the door, off on my new adventure and made it all the way to the end with a whole set of deliverables, skills, and new memories under my belt. And here I am now, ready to sit and reflect on the adventure I’ve had.

Enjoying the “outdoor office” with my “coworker”
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Solutions for the Navy and Ocean Conservancy

What began as two internships without an end goal in sight, has officially concluded with two publications. Though my internship has wrapped, my work with the Navy is continuing, unofficially. I have been invited to join calls with the city of Monterey and NPS to discuss climate resiliency efforts and public-public partnerships going forward. At the end of my internship, I produced a small report for the best practices for military installations to consider when pursuing public-public partnerships for climate resiliency. My report has already been presented to the NPS executive leadership team and disseminated to the Naval officers around the country who I interviewed in the process. The report will also be published in NPS’ journal and newsletter. With any luck, this report will provide guidance for military installations around the country as they begin to discuss the mandated inclusion of climate, energy and cybersecurity resiliency.

My work with the Ocean Conservancy ends this week after we had our final in-person discussion of my report and professional review. I spent all summer researching the relationship between climate change and plastics with the intention of presenting an in-depth report highlighting the major contributions and ultimately, advising Ocean Conserving how to realign their campaigns. My 40 page report discusses the entire life-cycle of plastics, policy intervention points, recommendations for OC and what areas of research they should pursue in the future. My bosses seemed extremely pleased, as am I.

I am incredibly happy with the work I produced this summer as well as how much I learned. I’m grateful to both organizations for taking me on and giving me the opportunity to produce meaningful work, as well as to CBE for funding the experience because without my grant, neither option would have been possible.

Anyone interested in seeing my reports can contact me directly as I would be happy to share them.

8 weeks into my internship

These past few weeks have been an incredible learning experience! I can’t believe how fast it has gone. I’m currently in full swing writing my white paper on how critical infrastructure in California will be impacted by sea-level rise. This has been so informative in my thinking of how communities will be impacted. Normally, I feel that the conversation revolves around homeowners, but researching critical infrastructure has shown me that it is so much more than that. Roads, wastewater treatment plants, ports, parks, and our water supply are all threatened. These are vital to communities and I’m glad I’ve gotten the opportunity to be a part of scoping and researching a Critical Infrastructure Resiliency Plan that the Ocean Protection Council will lead. 

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3 weeks into my internship at Environmental Defense Fund

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. The next step 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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