CBE Summer Fellowship Final Reflection

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

In the short term, I helped EDF choose the Philippines as the focus country of their seaweed aquaculture program. Myself and two other interns chose selection criteria to apply to candidate countries. Then were each assigned countries to research and had to report back on how they graded out according to our criteria. The criteria included biological factors, environmental justice factors, and real world restraints. The biological factors were mainly how well species of seaweed would grow in the coastal waters of certain countries. The environmental justice factors were more complex. The hope is that eventually countries can use seaweed as a verified carbon sink in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Countries with low historical and per capita GHG emissions were favored, to give them a way to continue to develop their economies while still meeting mitigation goals. In a sense, we were looking for countries with a high marginal mitigation cost, that could benefit greatly from using seaweed and other blue carbon ecosystems in their GHG inventories. Real world restraints consisted of factors such as EDF presence on-ground, history of partnership between EDF and the country, and a cultural history of seaweed consumption. The Philippines scored well according to our criteria because it already grows and harvests the 4th most seaweed globally (strong cultural ties to seaweed), has a long working relationship with EDF, and has very low per capita and historical GHG emissions. The Philippines want to continue to develop its economy and infrastructure but also wants to commit to climate mitigation goals. Hopefully seaweed can allow them to accomplish both, while also providing a climate resilient source of food and income to local residents.

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Final Reflection on FKNMS Blue Star

Last week I presented my Needs Based Assessment report to NOAA sanctuary staff from both the Florida Keys office, sanctuaries across the US, and to headquarters staff. While somewhat nerve-wracking, it was truly incredible experience and had a very positive reaction by my audience, which solidified how meaningful my fellowship deliverables are to my host organization.

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

The main accomplishment of my work with FKNMS was the development of my Needs Based Assessment, which concluded with both short-term and long-term recommendations to strengthen the Blue Star program. This allowed for invaluable insights of what is and isn’t working with the program, and what are the next steps that can be taken. My recommendations focused on challenges regarding Blue Star’s annual training, resources/materials, and overall public awareness of the program.

I was even able to act on some of these recommendations by reorganizing the existing annual training modules, incorporating more interactive plugins, creating a new quiz system, and adding a new module for important updates and ways to get involved. These were all recommendations requested by Blue Star affiliated partners that participated in the surveying, which demonstrated an immediate impact of my fellowship findings.

Describe the benefits of this experience for you professionally and personally?

This fellowship has truly been of the most meaningful experiences I have had in my professional. Not only has it fulfilled a dream of mine to work for a NOAA office, but I also observed the immediate of my work to a community who really does their best for the environment. I gained an incredible lifelong mentor through my supervisor, who was always willing to answer questions and introduce me to other NOAA staff members that align with my career goals. I can’t thank my supervisor enough for little things such as inviting NOAA headquarter staff to my presentation, so that I could see how wide of an impact my fellowship had on the Sanctuary Department.

And personally speaking, the Keys was beautiful and so inspiring for how much the people cared about the ocean. Regardless of if they worked for NOAA, or owned a dive shop, or fishing business, or was a concerned citizen. There was real participation and concern from all different stakeholders in such a real, current example that I would be lucky to continue to be a part of.

Did your experience provide any unexpected discovery, self-reflection, or epiphany?

Not necessarily an epiphany, but this fellowship did solidify my intentions of working for the federal government for ocean protection. That being said, it did expose me to the barriers that comes with an institution. From paperwork, photo releases, timelines, staff capacity, it’s difficult work. But also, very impactful and very necessary. I am excited for my future career, and hope that other incredible offices such as FKNMS will be a part of it.

Diving into Blue Star

At about the halfway mark of my fellowship with FKNMS, I was able to take a break from all the virtual meetings and actually visit Florida Keys in person! It was such an incredible experience not only to immersed into their office staff, but to explore the incredible nature the Keys had to offer.

One of my favorite parts of my office was all of the old posters!

While my primary task was to conduct in person interviews for my Needs Based Assessment, my supervisor also ensured that I got out into the field for some much-needed exploring. This included kayaking through the mangroves in the John Pennekamp State Park!

During my free weekend, I also got to explore special places throughout the keys, such as the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL. They do incredible work for rehabilitating, and in most cases releasing, sea turtles that have been impacted by boat strikes, marine debris, and water pollution.

On the last day of my trip, I attended the Sanctuary Advisory Council’s July meeting, which consisted of the announcing of the proposed policy framework: Restoration Blueprint. This was an invaluable experience for me, because it showed what real stakeholder engagement looks like and just how much of a process/timeline developing policy frameworks entail. I was truly grateful for the experience and how much my supervisor insisted I observe the process.


Hey everyone! Can’t believe it’s already the end of August! That means we’re getting close to time for the UN General Assembly. Most fellows are wrapping up their internships, but I will be staying on this campaign through the duration of the fall, until we introduce the proposal. So what have I been up to this month? My teammate Samia Shell and I have been busy conducting interviews with Pacific youth to start a blog series on why we need an Advisory Opinion on climate, and how climate change is impacting way of life in the Pacific. The blog series is in tandem with the social media campaign we are launching! You can read up on our first interview with Kabweea Itintaake, a Fellow with the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and States Attorney at the Office of the Attorney General in Kiribati, on our blog site. You can also read my piece on the 2022 Peace Palace Conference in June that focused on the intersection of climate and international law. I’ve also been working on a few internal projects for the campaign and have been excited to have the opportunity to dive into legal work.

My team has been wonderful to work with, and I’m excited to continue this project! It’s easy to get lost in the academics of climate, but having the opportunity to sit down with Pacific youth and listen to the very real issues communities around the world are facing has been a humbling experience. Most of us chose to pursue International Environmental Policy because we want to make a difference for communities around the world, so it’s always important to keep those communities and people in the forefront of your mind. We will be hosting a conference similar to the one at the Peace Palace in New York this fall, so I look forward to helping organize that. I’ll leave you all with this picture of the sunrise during one of my early morning meetings – the only downside to working on EST from here in Monterey!

Sunrise from my bedroom window! The view makes remote working much easier.

Hope you all have a happy rest of your summer!

Surfing For Change

The summer is flying by! The past few months have been such a blast working for the Wahine Project, as a surf instructor and marine educator. I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to work here, among amazing staff members and campers that inspire me every day. As the weeks go by, I am seeing myself continue to grow as a surf instructor, educator, and as an individual. Not many people can say their office is the beach!!

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EDF Mid-Internship Update

Hello again! I am back with an internship update. I am actually nearly finished with my time at EDF this summer, but wanted to give a quick summary of what I am working on before I report back with a post-internship review. 

I am currently working on my final deliverables. They have been a work in progress throughout my internship, but I am doing the majority of my writing/editing now. Previously I was mostly doing research, data gathering, expert interviews, and sitting in on day-to-day meetings at EDF. Our team ended up choosing the Philippines as the target country for EDF’s seaweed program, so I have started working on a country specific seaweed aquaculture proposal, along with my more general seaweed-NDC roadmap.

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Prati Rosen: NOAA MPA Center Mid-internship Post

Happy August everyone! I can not believe how fast the summer is zooming on by. 

A lot has been going on at my internship so far. 

My main project, mentioned in my first blog, is to create a guidance document for sanctuary managers on whether to allow or disallow innovative marine carbon carbon dioxide removal technologies in national marine sanctuaries. This document is in its finalized draft and is currently out for review by NOAA staff and eventually outside experts. It is intriguing to see the review process and the different opinions, thoughts, expertise, suggestions, etc from varying reviewers. I look forward to seeing how I can improve the report and for it to potentially influence ocean policy. 

Recently, I attended a workshop on the climate change vulnerability of Flower Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Having done a climate change vulnerability assessment in Professor Jeff Langholz’s Applied Conservation and Policy class this past spring, I was well equipped to tackle this workshop. On the first day of the workshop, various experts discussed the non climate change stressors to various habitats and select species and the projected impacts when these stressors are combined with climate change stressors. The second day, this discussion was continued and we brainstormed about potential adaptation measures that can be taken to mitigate these stressors. I am very fortunate to have attended the workshop and be in the company of so many experts. 

In the upcoming weeks I will work on revising, editing, and formatting my report for distribution and potentially publishing in the future. I also plan to meet with members of the Monterey Bay NMS in person to discuss the results of my report and gather their thoughts on carbon dioxide removal in national marine sanctuaries. Additionally, I plan to meet in person with Charlie Wahle, a former NOAA MPA Center staff in Monterey and adjunct professor at MIIS. I am very thankful to get these in person opportunities in a remote working world. 

I look forward to sharing my experiences in my next blog post!

Fishery Solution Center at the Environmental Defense Fund

This is me and my office buddy, Olive! She looks very pleased that I made her pose for a photo.

Hello everyone! This summer I’m working with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) as their Climate Resilient Fisheries Tools Intern. EDF is doing amazing work to help strength small-scale fisheries against climate change.

This summer I’m on the Capacity Development team within the Fishery Solution Center. My main project this summer is to help develop the new Fishery Solution Center website. I’ve been conducting interviews with regional team leaders and local stakeholders within these regions to learn how the fishery tools are being utilized in the field. After I am done conducting these interviews, I’ll be developing stories for the launch of the new website. These stories will highlight the regional team and stakeholders while explaining the science of these tools and how they work.

Another project I’ve been tackling this summer is writing a policy memo of the United Nations’ Straddling Fish Stock Agreement to analyze where climate resiliency language can be added. This memo will also include locating where within the Agreement text EDF’s climate resilient fisheries tools can be the most useful.

Taking the World’s Biggest Problem to the World’s Highest Court

Hey everyone! My, how time flies. Hope you’ve all been enjoying your summers, I’ve really been enjoying mine! For my summer internship, I’ve been working with the team at Vanuatu’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations on the campaign to bring the issue of transboundary harm and climate change to the world’s highest court, the International Court of Justice.

Location of Vanuatu. Photo Credit to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

As one of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS), Vanuatu faces the disproportionate burden of climate change and the very harrowing reality that sea level rise is threatening the ancestral way of life. Already, Pacific Islanders face unprecedented storms and saltwater intrusion that has been destroying village infrastructure, agricultural production and threatens food security. And while Pacific Islanders bear this burden, they are not responsible for the share of emissions that has caused the issue. For years, nations most vulnerable to climate change have petitioned the developed world to address climate justice through negotiations within the global climate regime. Thus far, these negotiations have only produced empty promises. Now, climate vulnerable nations from around the world are seeking clarification on what the legal obligation of states are in regard to the climate crisis. Vanuatu has been leading this initiative with a proposal for the United Nations General Assembly to petition the International Court of Justice for and Advisory Opinion on this issue.

My work over the last few weeks has been busy, keeping up with a number of different related conferences, events and bilateral meetings that our team has been both hosting and attending in tandem with the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon last month. I’ve been managing our social media accounts with my colleagues (follow us on Twitter! @VanuatuUN) as Ambassador Odo Tevi and the rest of the team were on the ground attending the Climate Change and International Law conference at the Peace Palace in the Hague, hosted by Blue Ocean Law and Leiden University, as well as our side event at the UN Ocean Conference. My blog on the Peace Palace conference is set to be published this week, and I look forward to sharing it with you all!

The movement has been gaining traction and has been trending in the news cycle thanks the support of the Pacific Island Forum, which concluded last week. I’m looking forward to continuing my work supporting the communications team and will be also assisting in planning our next conference in New York, so stay tuned for more updates as this exciting campaign unfolds! In the meantime, enjoy this picture of my colleague Samia Shell and I during our interview with Kabweea Itintaake, a fellow with AOSIS, on her perspective on the climate crisis as a native youth of Kiribati. Kabweea will be featured on our new instagram campaign, which I will be creating and launching this week, highlighting the experiences of youth in the Pacific and how climate has impacted their lives and their communities.

My colleague Samia Shell, top right, and I in our interview with Kabweea Itintaake, pictured top left. We were all smiles after an empowering conversation. Kabweea will be the first feature on our campaign instagram account!

I also want to thank those of you that support us as fellows at the Center for Blue Economy. I feel incredibly grateful to be working where I am now, and this opportunity to work in such a critical and challenging legal space would not be possible without our funders. Thank you to all who have supported this program.

Surf Break Protection

Hi all! This summer I am remotely interning as the administrative assistant to the director for the Save the Waves Coalition (STW). STW is an international non-profit based out of Santa Cruz, that works in coalition with a broad range of organizations dedicated to protecting and preserving surf ecosystems. A surf ecosystem is more than just the wave, it also includes geophysical components, the plants and animals, and the human interactions that make the place special. Protection of surf ecosystems in turn safeguards marine habitats, the integrity of the wave and local livelihoods. STW focuses its efforts on locations where iconic surfing waves overlap with biodiversity hotspots that are of critical importance for marine conservation efforts. As a surfer myself, I am very excited to be working with STW to help protect surfing.

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Connecting Youth to the Ocean

Hi all! I am now about 5 weeks into my CBE Fellowship with the Wahine Project, and so far it has been an incredible experience. Here at the Wahine Project, we are working to break down the barriers that prevent a diversity of youth from building a personal relationship with the ocean and from participating in ocean sports. ‘Wahine’ means girl or young woman in Hawaiian. The organization started in 2010 by founder Dionne Ybarra, who was motivated to bring more girls and marginalized communities into surfing, which is a very white-male-dominated sport. The camp started with all girls, but has since expanded to include all genders. At the Wahine Project, we believe the ocean should be accessible to everyone. The organization is living out their vision year after year, and I have been so lucky to be a part of it and see it firsthand. There are many barriers which prevent access to the beach and surfing, and we partner with many local organizations to provide transportation and lessons for kids all around Monterey Bay.

My office! Casa Verde Beach, Monterey CA
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