Climate Change and the Plight of the Oceans

How does climate change impact a community’s resources, industries and wildlife? How can communities respond to these challenges? Over 60 scholars gathered in St. Petersburg, Florida to answer these questions in a 5 day seminar entitled “Climate Change and the Plight of the Oceans.” The waterfront community of St. Petersburg, located along the Tampa Bay estuary, is home to oil, maritime trade, tourism and fishing industries. The estuary houses an incredibly diverse ecosystem. In addition to this, the area hosts a world-class marine science cluster. This made it the ideal place for scholars to explore these questions. Through hearing from experts, visiting local research centers and volunteering, scholars gained a better understanding of the complex issues facing this community and their connections to the global challenge of climate change.

Tampa Bay

Port Tampa Bay

The seminar began with a reception where representatives from the Fulbright Program, U.S. Department of State and University of Southern Florida warmly welcomed scholars.

Dr. Maria De Los Angeles Crummett, excutive director of CIES welcomes Scholars.

Dr. Maria De Los Angeles Crummett, excutive director of CIES welcomes Scholars.

Next, scholars dove into these issues through a jam-packed day of panels and trips. First scholars visited the University of Southern Florida College of Marine Science  where they heard from several experts about the climate change and the Gulf Coast after the BP oil spill. Following the visit, scholars enjoyed a boat tour of Tampa Bay and heard from local officials about the impact of climate change and maritime transportation on the ecology of Port Tampa Bay as well as steps the port is taking to make transportation greener. The day ended with a viewing of marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle’s documentary film, Mission Blue, which chronicles her work to protect marine sanctuaries.

Dr. Sylvia Earle speaks about her film, Mission Blue.

Dr. Sylvia Earle speaks about her film, Mission Blue.

On the next day scholars learned about several different aspects of marine life. At University of Southern Florida Dr. William Hogarth, director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, addressed scholars regarding public policy on fisheries. A panel discussed the discovery and preservation of deep sea shipwrecks in the area. At Eckerd College scholars met with college representatives and learned about the institution’s work and research in marine biology. They also toured the Galbraith Marine Science Laboratory, where undergraduates can conduct research on the local marine plant and animal life. In the afternoon local activists and government representatives spoke on the politics of protecting seas and coastlines.

Scholars bike across the Eckerd College campus.

Scholars bike across the Eckerd College campus.

The following day, scholars got a chance to help in the preservation of the coastline through volunteering with Tampa Bay Watch. Scholars joined with community members in planting over 8,000 sea oats in Fort DeSoto County Park. The sea oats will help protect the coastline from the effects of hurricanes, waves and high tides. They also help protect endangered sea turtles through providing a nest for their eggs beneath the sand.

Scholars plant sea oats with Tampa Bay Watch.

Scholars plant sea oats with Tampa Bay Watch.

Later in the day, scholars visited the Canterbury School of Florida, an independent P-12 day school with its own marine science program. There they enjoyed a tour of the Cousteau Center for Marine Studies and also had the opportunity to have dinner with students and their families.

A student shows Scholars a star fish at the Cousteau Center.

A Canterbury School student shows scholars a star fish at the Cousteau Center.

The seminar ended with a chance for scholars to reflect on what they had learned about climate change over the past few days, how it would impact them when they returned to their home countries, and what they could do to work together on these issues. Scholars enjoyed the chance to learn about the topic from economic, political social and scientific angles. They also appreciated understanding both the role local communities can play in protecting the environment and how environmental concerns are a global issue shared across cultures.

Greetings from St. Peterburg, Florida.

Greetings from St. Peterburg, Florida.

 

 

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Wharves, Witches and More! Scholars discover Salem History

November 8: Boston area Fulbright Scholars and their family members discovered New England history on a tour of Salem, Massachusetts. Through visits to local museums scholars gained a deeper appreciation of New England history, maritime traditions and the colonial origins of Halloween.

The tour began with a visit to House of the Seven Gables.The house, built in 1668 by sea captain and merchant, John Turner, was made famous through American author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel, The House of the Seven Gables. Scholars enjoyed a guided tour of the gardens, house and many of its secret passageways.

Visiting Scholars at the House of the Seven Gables.

Visiting Scholars at the House of the Seven Gables.

Next, scholars walked to Pickering Wharf, a historic seaside area, where they shopped, ate lunch, and explored nearby attractions. Several Scholars visited the U.S.S. Friendship, a reproduction of a 1797 trading ship.

Scholars explore Pickering Wharf.

Scholars explore Pickering Wharf.

Scholars then visited the Peabody Essex Museum, one of the oldest continuously operating museums in the United States. Scholars freely explored the museum’s collections of art from around the world and even had a chance to make some jewelry.

Fulbright family members proudly display their handmade jewelry.

Fulbright family members proudly display their handmade jewelry.

The day ended with a visit to the Salem Witch Museum, which introduced Scholars to the tragic events of the 17th century Salem witch trials. The museum also included an overview of the evolving concept of witches throughout history.

Waiting outside the Salem Witch Museum.

Waiting outside the Salem Witch Museum.

Los Angeles Welcomes Visiting Fulbright Scholars

November 3: UCLA and the Fulbright Association hosted a welcome dinner and reception for Visiting Fulbright Scholars and UCLA students and faculty. Distinguished political science professor, Dan Caldwell, gave a keynote speech about the fall U.S. elections. Scholars and students enjoyed great food, wonderful company, and are excited to welcome the new year in Los Angeles!

Fulbright Visiting Scholars meet each other for the first time

Fulbright Visiting Scholars meet each other for the first time

 

Fulbrighters Give Back in NYC

November 8: Fulbright Scholars rolled up their sleeves and got to work painting Winthrop public school with the help of Publicolor, a local nonprofit that transforms under-funded inner-city schools into vibrant engaging spaces for children. Volunteer Scholars were paired with students to make Winthrop’s halls come to life by painting the walls with a student-chosen color scheme. Students taught scholars painting techniques and scholars had the chance to be mentors and role models, if only for a brief moment. A Visiting Scholar from the U.K commented, “My student was initially very shy, and a little disengaged, but we became very good friends during the day. We spoke about going to college, work, future aspirations, gym, sports, music, school in America and U.K., and family.” After a day of hard work, scholars felt rewarded by the relationships they built with local students.

Publicolor student helps British scholar, Amakai Kefas learn to properly use the pain roller

Publicolor student helps British scholar, Amakai Kefas learn to properly use the pain roller

Publicolor - painting

Turkish scholar, Asli Ozyar, has a conversation with a Publicolor student while painting the hallway at Winthrop