marine hershman fellowship

Hello, Fellow Fellows

Written by Melissa Watkinson (2015-16 TNC Hershman Fellow), Mike Chang (2015-16 Makah/TNC Hershman Fellow), and Kara Cardinal (Marine Projects Manager)

It’s no secret that The Nature Conservancy has many partners across Washington State and the Pacific Northwest. One partnership that has furthered The Conservancy’s efforts in marine and coastal work, and builds on the legacy of Washington’s leadership in the development of sound policies for the conservation and use of ocean and coastal resources is with Washington Sea Grant’s Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellowship program. The program matches outstanding, highly motivated marine science, law and policy graduate students with agency, NGO and tribal host offices, offering each fellow first-hand experience in crafting policies and enabling fellows to share their academic expertise with state decision-makers. The program is named after Marc Hershman, a leader in the study of ocean and coastal policy for 30 years, who passed away in February 2008. Dr. Hershman served in several marine leadership capacities and played a key role in efforts to develop more comprehensive and coherent policies for Washington’s coasts. The facilitation and support of the Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellowship program is an outstanding example of the commitment to education and outreach by Washington Sea Grant.

The opportunity to host a Hershman fellow has strengthened The Conservancy’s ability to achieve its goals to conserve marine habitats and support healthy and sustainable communities and, at the same time, educate and empower the next generation of environmental leaders. This year the fellowship program has brought in its fourth generation of Hershman fellows to The Conservancy. Each fellow has worked closely with the marine team to tackle projects addressing marine conservation and stewardship, and has continued to work with the Conservancy on a variety of different capacities even after their fellowship term.

Hershman Fellows at TNC have strengthened and developed an exciting breadth and depth of projects with the marine team. The Conservancy’s first Hershman fellow is our very own marine projects manager, Kara Cardinal, where she led TNC’s MSP outreach efforts throughout the Washington Coast and helped the state develop the MSP data viewer. Katie Wrubel was the second fellow at TNC and was instrumental in helping Washington Coast tribes begin their tribal marine planning efforts. Katie is now working with the Makah Tribe as their Natural Resource Policy Analyst. Molly Bogeberg, the third fellow at TNC, worked closely with coastal communities in Grays Harbor and Pacific counties to bring habitat conservation as a priority within their Shoreline Master Programs. Molly finished her fellowship last September and continued working with TNC as the temporary marine projects manager. Melissa Watkinson is the newest TNC Hershman Fellow and she is engaging with partners and stakeholders to improve project proposals and future socio-economic policy responses in relation to environmental restoration for the Washington Coast Restoration Initiative.

Starting in 2014, the partnership between the Conservancy and the Makah Tribe led to new Marine Policy Fellowship with the Makah Tribe in an effort to further joint efforts on vessel traffic safety and climate resilience. Laura Nelson, the first fellow with the Makah Tribe, worked out of Washington TNC’s Seattle office to collaborate between both entities and is currently working a marine policy contractor with the Makah Tribe. This year, Michael Chang is fulfilling this role with Makah and TNC. Laura and Michael led efforts with the Makah Tribe on issues of vessel traffic safety and oil spill preparedness, adaptation to climate change and ocean acidification and protecting treaty-rights at risk.

The Sea Grant College Program is celebrating its 50th year anniversary this year, and this month they are focused on highlighting all of their current and past sea grant fellows while also recruiting its next class of Hershman fellows. The partnership TNC has built with Washington Sea Grant and the Hershman Fellowship, and the relationships that four generations of fellows sustain, is a testament to the quality of people that TNC attracts, and is a wonderful example of the power of achieving success through strong partnerships. 



World Oceans Day Fellows

Marine Fellowships Open Doors for Careers in Conservation

Written by Paul Dye, Washington Director of Marine Conservation
Photographs by Kara Cardinal, Hershman Marine Policy Fellow

World Oceans Day is an excellent occasion to reflect on how marine conservation and resource management have evolved as career opportunities. Washington Sea Grant and The Nature Conservancy are partners in a program to bring new professionals into these fields through unique fellowships.

For more than 50 years, the State of Washington has been a national leader in public policies to conserve and manage ocean and coastal resources. For instance, the state’s Shoreline Management Act preceded passage of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act by a year, and Washington was the first to achieve a federally approved Coastal Zone Management Program (in 1976).

Washington Sea Grant has built on this legacy by establishing the Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellowships for graduate students in marine science, law and policy. The fellowship is named after Marc Hershman, a leader in the study of ocean and coastal policy for 30 years, who served on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and was the Director of the School of Marine Affairs at the University of Washington.

The Nature Conservancy has been an active partner in the program since 2011. Hershman Fellows hosted or funded by the Conservancy have contributed to marine spatial planning, Shoreline Master Programs, habitat conservation, fisheries reform, and oil spill prevention.

At The Nature Conservancy, Hershman Fellows have become essential members of our marine conservation team. The Fellows refresh our ocean policy and science expertise, and they add to our capacity to tackle some of our state’s most pervasive challenges. The one-year term keeps us focused on clear objectives, and our obligation to provide a top drawer educational experience inspires us to open our minds to new learning opportunities. It’s really a win-win arrangement.”

In the past five years, Hershman Fellows sponsored or hosted by the Conservancy have:

  • helped the Washington Department of Ecology initiate marine spatial planning; 
  • gathered public input on marine conservation priorities for Washington’s Pacific Coast; 
  • developed a strategy for preventing marine oil spills by engaging US & Canadian agencies & companies; and 
  • sparked innovations in coastal zone management to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Each of the Fellows sponsored by or hosted by the Conservancy have gone on to launch their careers with the Conservancy or a partner institution.

More information on Hershman Fellowships.