Future Leaders, Shiny #SciComm and Silly-But-Serious Sea Level Rise: Tuesday’s OPC Meeting, Recapped

The Ocean Protection Council’s Sept. 14 meeting covered a variety of issues, including marine protected areas and microplastics, but the two agenda items that gathered the most kudos were presentations by OPC’s interns andSea Grant Fellow Dr. Kat Beheshti’s Prop 68 miniseries. Both drew well-deserved admiration from Councilmembers and set the stage for how OPC intends to invest in future leadership and engaging storytelling. 

OPC’s first-ever paid internship program 

In summer 2021, OPC hosted a cohort of six interns who helped advance priorities in OPC’s Strategic Plan to Protect California’s Coast and Ocean while gaining meaningful professional experience within state government. Bella Alvarado, Mairin Culwell, Madhu Garimella, Nayre Herrera, and Claudia Sanchez-Rea were part of OPC’s first-ever 10-week paid summer internship program, which was focused on providing undergraduate college students with the opportunity to build a foundational background and robust overview of California’s coastal and ocean science, policy, and management work.  

Additionally, Molly Glickman joined OPC through a merit-based award from the Haas Center for Public Service’s Undergraduate Fellowships Program at Stanford University, the fourth year of an ongoing partnership between OPC and Stanford. During the informational item, each intern provided a brief presentation on their projects, which can be viewed starting at minute 31:00 on OPC’s YouTube channel. As Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot said, “Remarkable work!” 

Prop 68 miniseries on coastal climate resilience 

Followers of OPC’s social accounts are well aware of this brilliant new science communication miniseries wholly created and produced by Dr. Kat Beheshti – the analytics affirm its popularity. The short videos highlight the incredible efforts undertaken by OPC’s grantees on climate resilience throughout the state. 

The whole series can be found on YouTube and Kat’s presentation is available at hour 2:45:00 here. 

Marine Protected Areas – don’t miss the coloring book!  

At minute 59:00, Senior Marine Protected Areas Program Manager Tova Handelman updated the Council on California’s Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Management Program and Planning for the 2022 Adaptive Management Review of the MPA Network. The presentation included an overview of the MPA network, along with highlights from the MPA Collaborative’s outreach and education materials – we’re very partial to the 3D coloring book 

Sneak preview of upcoming sea level rise awareness campaign 

In addition to the “Collaborative Critters,” some other fascinating ocean creatures made an appearance in a sneak preview of OPC’s forthcoming campaign designed to raise awareness about the threat of sea level rise (fun videos, serious topic). An unmuted Senator Ben Allen laughed out loud during the presentation – a good sign that the videos will provoke the desired reaction. Check them out at hour 2:39:00 and make a note to share them broadly starting Sept. 28. Saving California’s beaches from sea level rise can’t wait! 

Additional items to review

Other important agenda items included a report from the Science Advisor
Liz Whiteman, Ph.D., Executive Director of Ocean Science Trust, the disbursing of funds for MPA Long-Term Monitoring: California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program and an update on efforts to address microplastic pollution in our coastal and ocean waters. The whole meeting, with attached agenda, can be viewed here. 

Next meeting

OPC’s next meeting takes place Tuesday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Join our list-serv to be notified of agenda items and other announcements.  

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Categories: Climate Change, Marine Protected Areas, OPC meetings, Sea-Level Rise, Strategic Goal 1: Climate Change, Strategic Goal 3: Biodiversity