When The Ship Sets Sail

Written by Jodie Toft, Senior Marine Ecologist; Kara Cardinal, Marine Projects Manager
Photographed by various members of the Conservancy staff

Last week, we brought out our best marine metaphors for a send-off of our (now former) Director of Marine Conservation, Paul Dye.  Paul recently joined Washington Sea Grant as the Assistant Director for Outreach. Paul was beloved across the chapter, as a leader, mentor and friend.  He was wise to keep us from eulogizing him, by reminding us that "I'm Paul Dye, not Paul Dead."  The evening was just right - a balance of roast and toast, with a custom-crafted song just for Paul.  And in fine form, the fabulous tribute below to "Paulisms" - sayings or phrases that Paul has deployed over the years - from our Marine Projects Manager, Kara Cardinal.  Thank you, Paul, to your contributions to conservation and conversation. You are already missed.


Alright everyone, gather ‘round as we share a few stories about the great Paul Dye.  Now as much as we don’t want to believe it, it’s time to pull the rat out of the wood pile and say our goodbyes.  Paul – I apologize in advance but I may step on your toes here a little bit, so just scream when it hurts.  I’m not mean, I’m just crafty.

We all know you can hear the steak sizzling over at Sea Grant, but let’s not go putting the cart before the horse. Today is the cart, and we might be throwing a lot of sh*t in it this afternoon. 

It’s been an exciting adventure hearing your stories about working for TNC - from the prairies of Illinois to the reefs of the Florida Keys to the rocky shores of the Washington coast. Man, with that kinda background, you must really know the ins and outs and ups and downs of TNC, or in Chicago speak, where all those bodies are buried.  Sometimes hearing you talk about your times down in Key West, I often wondered to myself if your role as Director of Marine Conservation wasn’t just a stalking horse for an excuse to search for buried pirate treasures

We’ve all learned many things from you, Paul.  You’ve taught us how to run the trap lines and create change for the better.

You’ve taught us how to think big picture.  To not get mired in district level mischief, but to not be afraid to throw some short circuit switches every now and then, as it never hurts to ruffle a few feathers.  I don’t know what your fairy dust is, but you have made an impact on all of our lives for certain. 

Now I don’t want to go being the banty rooster, but even though you are leaving, I know our team is going to be just fine without you.   I’m betting on the draw here, but it seems like you may have been preparing us all along.  Pushing us to dream big and believe in our innate abilities. That was your shell-game I guess, and it proved to be successful.

Well, I feel like I’ve gotten my licks in, so I will pass it on.  Paul, we know that you will be our cheerleader and our catalyst.  Our watchdog.  Even though you will be moving on to work with Sea Grant, your spirit and your optimism will continue to be felt throughout our team and I know that together, we can create a new truth.  Together we can keep reaching for that brass ring of marine conservation.  And you know the old saying, you really CAN teach an old dog new tricks.