The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium advances knowledge and stewardship of New Jersey’s marine and coastal environment through research, education and extension.
Providing for research that results in sound scientific data used to promote wise decision-making about New Jersey’s coastal and marine resources is at the heart of NJSGC’s mission.
The Education Program at the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium holds a wide variety of programs directed towards advancing greater understanding and stewardship of our state’s marine and coastal resources.
The primary goal of Extension is to provide useful information to people employed or interested in fields related to marine resources from fishermen, coastal engineers, maritime industry personnel, resource managers and decision makers to the general public.
News & Events
Huge congratulations to NJSGC’s Coastal Management Fellowship awardee, Jackie Specht! The Rutgers University graduate student was recently matched with Maryland’s Chesapeake and Coastal Service to continue studying the beneficial reuse of dredge material. We’re so proud! Learn more about Specht’s exciting opportunity here.
According to the NOAA, recipients of the two-year fellowships will “carry out innovative projects addressing living shorelines, ecosystems services, marine spatial planning, oil spill response, and the beneficial reuse of dredge material.”
Specht’s research interests “focus on the ecological impacts and drivers of changing gelatinous zooplankton populations.” The website for the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers includes a full profile on Specht’s educational background. Stay tuned for more exciting news in the upcoming Summer 2017 edition of The COASTodian!
According to their website, NNOCCI (National Network for Climate and Ocean Change Interpretation) is a collaborative effort led by the New England Aquarium along with several other notable environmental organizations and institutions, working to establish a national network of professionals who are skilled in communicating and translating climate and ocean science to a broader public audience. The overall goal is to change the nature of public conversation about issues of climate change to be inviting, empowering and solutions-oriented.
NJSGC’s very own Education Specialist Mindy Voss and K-12 Program Coordinator Diana Burich recently teamed-up to complete this program, involving several weeks of hands-on training and interactive lessons through informative study circles. Voss and Burich hope to use such newfound experience and knowledge to help better communicate the impacts of climate change.
To learn more about Voss and Burich’s exciting involvement with NNOCCI, please continue reading below!
Can you give a brief overview of what NNOCCI is and your involvement?
NNOCCI stands for National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation. Their goal is to achieve a network of skilled and trained professionals who can effectively communicate ocean and climate science to public audiences to create a more positive conversation about climate change that is engaging, empowering, and solutions oriented. NNOCCI was created through a collaboration between the American Zoological Association (AZA), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and FrameWorks Institute. NNOCCI, with the help of FrameWorks Institute, has looked through and done the social science research to find the most effective ways to communicate science and climate change to the public. Through a NSF grant, the research was turned into a training program for informal science educators, to teach them the social science and how to implement these scientifically-proven ways to talk to the public about climate change, and how to create a positive discourse around climate change that is solutions oriented. This training program has been on-going every Fall and Spring since 2014. However, this spring the training was broken down into smaller study circles, and instead of a few intensive weeks of in-person training for educators across the country, the program spread out over 17 weeks and was broken up into 3 regional study circles – a Southeast, Northeast, and West Coast. I was part of the Northeast study circle, which included 18 other informal science educators from Maine to New Jersey. The training included a variety of live and recorded webinars, online reading, interactive activities, and three (two-day long) in-person meetings. We were given an assignment to complete each week, and communicated with each other on climateinterpretor.org.
How did participating in the study circle develop and enhance your knowledge of ocean and climate change?
The biggest enhancement [I received] from the study circle is how to start and properly frame a conversation about climate change with a variety of audiences. I learned how to get others to understand why they should care about climate change [and] how to teach the science so that others can understand it, [including] the root cause of the problem. I learned techniques on how to keep the conversation positive, engaging, and hopeful, and how to steer away from the negativity and falsehoods that often surrounds climate change. I learned to make others realize that if people come together in their communities, schools, or other groups, there are solutions that can make differences to slow (or even stop) climate change.
How do you plan on utilizing these new skills in your own study and teaching environment?
Besides just framing a conversation about climate change in the educational programs that I do, I plan [on] passing on all of the communication skills I learned to all our educators and field instructors at NJ Sea Grant. Next fall and winter I will be holding a few different training days to give staff an opportunity to learn these new skills. It is my goal that all field trips at Sandy Hook will include a properly framed conversation about ocean and climate change with students [starting] in grade three up through college years. I will also pass along many of these skills to formal and informal educators at various professional development workshops that NJSGC participates in every year.
How might the NJSGC community benefit from your ongoing connection and work with the program?
Everyone in the NJSGC community will get a chance to learn the scientifically proven and effective techniques I learned about communicating climate change. I think this will improve many of our programs and interactions with the public, so people better understand why some of the work done (and science research funded) by NJSGC is so important. For the education program, it is my goal that all field trips given by NJSGC at Sandy Hook will include a properly framed conversation about ocean and climate change for all ages. My hope is that all students walk away from a field trip knowing the definition of climate and the ocean’s role in controlling it, understanding what climate change is and its impact on marine environments, why they should care, and what they can do about it.
I also made some great contacts through this program, from scientists at universities to educators at other educational programs in the area,. Hopefully we will be able to collaborate on future projects with them to improve or create new programming at NJSGC. For example, through a contact I made [through NNOCCI], we already have a grant proposal out in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to create a six-week long educational work study program for under-served high school students in Monmouth County. This proposed program will help students learn how park and recreation activities along with protected natural environments enhance and create value in their communities. We just put in the proposal, so the grant has not yet been approved.
For more information on the NNOCCI program, please visit the Climate Interpreter website.
In honor of the July 4th holiday weekend, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium announced the official winners of this year’s ‘Favorite Beaches’ poll during a gorgeous beachside ceremony held at Music Pier in Ocean City on Thursday, June 29. This popular shore town remains defending overall champion, snagging more than half the votes (which totaled 7,200).
The survey was first created in 2008 and initially deemed “New Jersey’s Top Ten Beaches,” to help encourage stewardship and pride in the state’s beaches while promoting a little healthy (and friendly) competition between NJ’s beloved beach towns. The contest has since become a highlight of the Garden State’s summer festivities.
But over the years we’ve come to realize something at NJSGC — New Jerseyans are passionate about visiting ALL different sand and surf hotspots throughout the state! So, in order to better recognize every part of our wonderful coastline, as of 2016 we picked individual victors from all four coastal counties (while still naming a top overall winner).
Voting really started to heat-up in June 2017. So without further delay, here is the official breakdown!
- Ocean City
- Asbury Park
- Spring Lake
- Sandy Hook – Gateway National Park
- Ocean Grove
- Seaside Heights
- Beach Haven
- Point Pleasant Beach
- Island Beach State Park
- Ship Bottom
- Atlantic City
- Ocean City
- Sea Isle City
- Wildwood Crest
- Cape May
Thank you again for your participation, and stay tuned for more details about next year! Please also visit NJSGC’s official Facebook and Instragram.
In The News:
Cape May County Herald
94.3 ‘The Point’
Patch.com (Ocean City)
Press of Atlantic City
New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s partnership with Wright State University, Dayton, OH spans over two decades of educational growth and development.
Earlier this month, NJSGC’s Executive Director Claire Antonucci and Education Program Coordinator Diana Burich joined Wright State University’s Dr. William Slattery and 18 eager graduate students to observe the Garden State’s ever-changing coastline. The group, who are working towards their Masters of Science in Teaching Earth System Science at Wright State, participated in a program developed by Dr. Slattery and NJSGC known as “Ancient Ocean – Modern Ocean.” The two-day expedition included searching for fossils at Poricy Park, surveying the lengthy shores of Sandy Hook, and investigating water quality and other biological parameters aboard a research vessel in Raritan Bay.
Here’s to another successful trip with Wright State University!
What: New Jersey’s Favorite Beaches poll, winners revealed
Where: Music Pier, 825 Boardwalk, Ocean City, N.J.
When: Thursday, June 29th at 11 a.m.
About: New Jersey’s Favorite Beaches is presented by New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium. It is an annual public poll that began in 2008 to encourage stewardship and pride for the Garden State’s beaches. The results are based on a vote held from May to June. The overall top beach will be announced, and winners from each coastal county will also be honored.
RSVP: Please confirm your attendance by emailing New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Communication Specialist, Danica Bellini.
June 2017 – On Friday (June 2nd), the New Jersey Clean Vessel Act Program joined in celebrating Ocean County for successfully operating its growing fleet of pumpout boats over the last 20 years. Such significant contributions have helped improve water quality throughout Barnegat Bay and Little Egg Harbor for the past two decades.
The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium was represented at the Seaside Park Yacht Club by Assistant Director of Extension and the Marine Recreation Agent of Fisheries & Boating, Michael Danko.
The federal Clean Vessel Act was passed 26 years ago, thanks to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection/Division of Fish & Wildlife for requesting and managing the approval of such federal funds. State funds are also provided by “Shore Protection” license plate sales.
The New Jersey Clean Vessel Act Program now operates as a partnership among the Division of Fish & Wildlife, the Monmouth County Health Department, the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, and Ocean County Planning Department (plus additional public and private entities).
Ocean County Department of Planning Director David J. McKeon was also recognized during the ceremony for such achievements.
Despite initial hurdles and reservations, the program’s first pumpout was successfully installed at Green Cove Marina located on the Metedeconk River. Nowadays, the approval, purchasing, and maintenance procedures for additional fleets run rather smoothly (with a current total of six operating boats). Services are offered free of charge.
The ongoing success of the Ocean County Pumpout Program relies heavily on partnerships with Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholder, Ocean County Planning Department, Ocean County Utilities Authority, Township of Brick, Borough of Seaside Park, Tuckerton Seaport, and the dedicated pumpout boat captains.
We wish the Ocean County Pumpout Program and all associates a very successful future in providing such phenomenal pumpout boat services.
For additional information, please visit the Ocean County Department of Planning website.
Learn more about the Clean Vessel Act Program here.
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