The National Sea Grant Academy was established to provide continuing education for Sea Grant Extension faculty, to give a national perspective on the role and importance of each Sea Grant program, and to further the work of studying, improving, and protecting America’s waterways.

In March 2011, IISG specialists Paris Collingsworth, Carolyn Foley, Laura Kammin, Caitie McCoy and Kristin TePas attended the first half of the 3rd National Sea Grant Academy in Washington, D.C. This week-long training event gave participants the opportunity to interact with other Sea Grant staff from around the globe, learn how to better design their projects, and begin to understand the inner workings of the National Sea Grant Program Office.

Caitie and other Sea Grant specialists search for frogs in the Columbia Gorge. Back L to R: Greg Berman (Woods Hole Sea Grant), Jeffrey Brodeur (Woods Hole), Holly Abeels (Florida), Julie Anderson (Louisiana), Front L to R: Juliet Simpson (MIT), Sara Grise (Pennsylvania), Mike Spranger (Florida), Karla Kaczmarek (Pennsylvania), Caitie.

During the week of October 23-29, 2011, Carolyn, Laura and Caitie attended the second week’s events in Portland, Oregon. These sessions offered information on how to plan projects aimed at achieving meaningful outcomes, and solidified the connections made during the first week’s sessions by allowing participants to share their thoughts, experiences, and resources with other Sea Grant specialists. During the week, participants had the opportunity to learn about and be inspired by the work being done by other Sea Grant programs around the country, especially in the host state of Oregon.

Caitie and Laura participate in a trip to Washington Park, at 410 acre urban park located within the city limits of Portland. From L to R: Mike Liffman (NSGO), Karla Kaczmarek (Pennsylvania Sea Grant), Julie Anderson (Louisiana Sea Grant), Holly Abeels (Florida Sea Grant), Susanna Musick (Virginia Sea Grant), Laura Kammin, Chelsea Lowes (NSGO), Caitie McCoy, Sara Grise (Pennsylvania Sea Grant).

These recent graduates of Sea Grant Academy are looking forward to using the skills and connections made during these two training weeks as they work to create interesting, useful programs in the Great Lakes region and beyond.

Sea anemones at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (