Flying Fish

Reporting Back from CERF 2013
by Nicole Carlozo -- November 15th, 2013

It was dark, cold, and still when my alarm sounded and I groggily stumbled from bed. No one should be awake at 3:30 AM. Regardless, in an hour’s time I found myself at the airport arguing with the self-check-in kiosk about a delayed flight. Nine hours later, I emerged from my detoured plane into sunny San Diego. I filled my lungs with the warm Californian air, and my stress melted away. The missing sleep, delayed flight, and cramped plane ride were momentarily forgotten.

Last week I attended the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2013 conference (commonly referred to as CERF). Although I had planned on blogging from the event, time quickly slipped through my fingers. My days were filled with presentations, networking dinners, and run-ins with past colleagues and professors.

Stay tuned over the next week as I highlight my favorite aspects of the conference. And be sure to let me know what you’d like to hear about!

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Exploring the Conference Center’s Campus.

First up: Tidbits from Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA

“The data show clearly…that our planet is changing.”

Dr. Sullivan is currently known for her position as Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting NOAA Administrator. However, she was also the first woman to walk in space and has extensive experience as an oceanographer. Her last-minute addition to the CERF conference was invaluable, as she was the lone woman speaker amidst the week-long plenary talks. She spoke with conviction about resiliency, adaptation, and green infrastructure – “nature’s own defenses.”

While she spoke broadly about NOAA’s ongoing initiatives, place-based projects, and tools (acidification alert tools, artificial oyster reefs, estuarine research, the Digital Coast, etc.), I remained inspired by her optimism. One thing I’ve learned while working within the state government is that projects never move as quickly as you would like and often get side-tracked by local politics. Despite these setbacks, Dr. Sullivan encouraged the audience to “take the concept of resilience off the paper of policy reports and put it to life” in our communities. This is what every environmental manager works towards and I was pleased that those goals were highlighted, especially with the heavily academic audience.

(Next up: Sea Level Rise – New, Certain & Everywhere (with a shout out to the Duke community!)

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