Flying Fish

Full Circle
by Nicole Carlozo -- July 30th, 2012

I returned to my roots last week, only to realize that looking back is just as important as moving forward.

Everywhere we go, we put down roots. This statement is not only true for our personal lives, but also professionally. I first became rooted in the environmental field when I branched away from my generic biology degree and worked on an independent, academic research project through Maryland Sea Grant’s REU Program.

Then: 2007

Five years ago, I started down a path towards a career in marine science. My journey began with a simple summer internship at the Horn Point Marne Lab on Maryland’s eastern shore. That summer I completed a spatial mapping and data analysis project on water quality trends in response to human population and land use. At the time, I didn’t know that I’d taken my first step towards a career in coastal environmental management.

Now: 2012

A lot has happened since that very first internship. I’ve tried my hand at intensive field work, science-policy integration, and community-driven participatory research. Ultimately, I found myself drawn towards interdisciplinary science-policy research and a Masters in Coastal Environmental Management.

So a handful of internships, jobs, and a Masters degree later, where did I end up? To my surprise, right back where I started.

Last week, I found myself back at Horn Point, not as an undergraduate student, but as Maryland’s next NOAA Coastal Management Fellow. In preparation for the start of my fellowship, I visited the Annapolis DNR office where my hosts surprised me with a tour of the Horn Point oyster hatchery.

Oyster shells at Horn Point, in wait for larvae attachment and reef restoration.

 

Oyster spat growing in the Horn Point hatchery. Over one billion spat have been released into the Chesapeake Bay over the past decade. Photo courtesy of Horn Point Lab.

Nostalgia filled my pores when I entered the Horn Point campus. As I walked through the lab, visited with colleagues, and investigated the oyster hatchery facility, I realized how much I’ve grown since the last time passed through the facility’s ram guarded gate. I’m not the same hesitant, naive student I was back then. With time comes experience, education, and of course confidence. Yet there I was, back where I started. I came full circle last week, right back to my roots.

In short, I learned that returning to the past is a necessary part of moving forward.

 

NOTE: Tune in over the next few months to learn more about aquaculture in the Chesapeake! Interested in the oyster hatchery? Visit http://www.hpl.umces.edu/hatchery/

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