N.H. Sea Grant Communications and Information (1999-2013)

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Project Type: 
Communications

Participants:

Steve Adams N.H. Sea Grant Assistant Director for Communications
Susan Chalifoux N.H. Sea Grant Program Manager
Rebecca Zeiber N.H. Sea Grant Science Writer
Abstract: 

Communications is a vital component of the Sea Grant network. As an organization, we are committed to fostering the wise use, conservation and development of the nation's coastal resources. One of the ways we do this is by generating unbiased information products and disseminating them to all those with a stake in our mission. And while not all these stakeholders exhibit the same degree of appreciation and interest, we operate with the conviction that every U.S. resident is a stakeholder.

Objectives: 

The objectives of the Communications and Information Program are:

• To provide communications support and counsel to N.H. Sea Grant and its administrators, researchers and extension personnel.

• To disseminate information resulting from N.H. Sea Grant research and extension activities and their impacts to the scientific community, government agencies and officials, marine industries and the general public.

• To work with other Sea Grant programs and appropriate organizations to conceive, produce, market and evaluate regional and national communications products.

• To promote public awareness of marine and coastal issues in New Hampshire, northern New England and the Gulf of Maine region.

• To increase recognition of Sea Grant by the scientific community, government agencies and officials, the marine industries, students and the general public.

• To promote greater scientific literacy throughout the sectors served by Sea Grant, including elected officials, students, teachers, the media, tourists and the general public.

• To keep abreast of changing communications technologies in order to use the most efficient and cost-effective communications means possible.

Rationale: 

N.H. Sea Grant is part of a national network that works in coordination, conducting research, extension and education projects designed to enhance the wise use and conservation of the country's coastal, marine and Great Lake resources. The N.H. Sea Grant Communications staff works in concert with its national colleagues to report on these activities using all the appropriate communications technologies and seeking to reach a wide range of local, regional, national and international audiences.

Accomplishments: 
2013

N.H. Sea Grant’s marinecareers.net continues to expose students to a wide variety of marine careers
Sea Grant’s marinecareers.net is a widely used resource for students and others interested in pursuing marine-related careers.

RELEVANCE: Marine-related careers are a popular choice among students, however many do not realize the full range of career possibilities in the marine sciences and focus on marine biology.

RESPONSE: Marinecareers.net was established in 1998 to expose students and their parents, teachers and guidance counselors to many different career possibilities in the marine sciences and closely related areas. The site engages visitors through profiles of a wide variety of people working in fields such as oceanography, ocean engineering and marine policy, many of whom provide contact information to encourage students to interact with them. The site is also a resource for salaries, education and internships related to marine careers.

RESULTS: Marinecareers.net, which is administered by N.H. Sea Grant, is a valuable resource for students seeking to explore marine career options. During 2013, the site had over 345,000 visitors representing some 200 countries.

 N.H. Sea Grant’s new website facilitates interactions with the program’s stakeholders
Launched in 2013, N.H. Sea Grant’s new Drupal-based website has improved the flow of information to the program’s many audiences. Incorporating both the former program website and the UNH/NHSG Marine Docent Program website, the new site allows staffers to maintain their own portions of the site and thus makes it more responsive to multiple users. It also features social media, becoming a two-way avenue of communication.

Four videos promote interest and encourage involvement in N.H. Sea Grant extension activities
N.H. Sea Grant produced four videos in 2013 that made a positive impact on local communities. The videos documented NHSG staff efforts to promote local lobsters and clean up marine debris; work with a local school to assess the health of a stream on a golf course; monitor American eel populations with the help of volunteers; and promote local seafood to help support N.H. fishermen. These videos have been shared on social media and at events and meetings, amassing 760 views on the NHSG YouTube page. After the public viewed these videos, NSHG staff members have been contacted by various individuals, organizations and schools expressing an interest in getting involved with these extension activities to help make a difference in their community.

Publication highlights results of alternative seafood marketing research
In the past few years, the N.H. commercial fishing industry has embarked on various ventures to capture new markets and add value to their products. Using Sea Grant funds, UNH researchers conducted studies to determine the current and potential future markets for seafood consumption near the N.H. Seacoast. NHSG produced a four-page publication in 2013, “Consumer and retailer demand for local seafood: Opportunities in the N.H. marketplace,” summarizing this research. The publication will be distributed to fishermen, chefs and seafood retailers to promote awareness of seafood marketing opportunities that balance healthy fish populations with economic benefits to struggling fishermen.

Sea Chantey Singers featured on rack card
N.H. Sea Grant produced a rack card, “Who are the Sea Chantey Singers?” in 2013. This publication provides a brief explanation of the history of sea chanteys in New England and the programs provided by the Sea Chantey Singers, a group of volunteers from the UNH/NHSG Marine Docent Program. New England’s rich fishing and sailing history stretches back more than 400 years, and the Sea Chantey Singers keep these songs alive to help preserve that heritage. The rack card has been distributed to libraries, chambers of commerce, and assisted living and senior centers to advertise their performance services and help educate the public about this aspect of the Seacoast’s history.

Publication provides tips to ensure lawncare is water quality friendly
N.H. Sea Grant produced a two-page information sheet and identical pamphlet, “Green Grass and Clear Water,” in 2013. The publications provide information to homeowners on ways to take care of their lawn while minimally impacting the quality of water nearby. The information sheet has been uploaded to the N.H. Sea Grant web site where other partnering organizations have accessed it and distributed it electronically to the public and their stakeholders. The hardcopy pamphlet will be available at local home improvement shops where lawn fertilizer is sold to help inform homeowners at the point of sale.

N.H. Sea Grant staffers work with tech writing students to produce communications products
Each semester, NHSG staffers work with a team of UNH undergraduates studying technical writing to develop, test and produce communications products for the program. This gives the students a chance to get involved in a real communications effort and to learn about Sea Grant. During 2013, one team developed an aptitude test for visitors to Sea Grant’s marinecareers.net website and another team produced an article on NHSG’s Coastal Research Volunteers that appeared on both the national Sea Grant website and the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research website.

Twitter allows N.H. Sea Grant to broaden its reach worldwide
In conjunction with its new website, Twitter has become the primary method for NHSG to distribute news and interact with the public and colleagues. N.H. Sea Grant’s increasing reliance on this social media platform is reflected positively in the numbers: the number of NHSG Twitter followers increased by 200% during 2013. Fifty-seven different Twitter users retweeted NHSG news, increasing the number of retweets by 166% from the previous year to potentially reach more than half a million followers. NHSG was also mentioned more than 100 times for a potential reach of 107,000. Twitter has helped NHSG engage new audiences worldwide and continues to be an important method of news dissemination.

N.H. Sea Grant 2013-14 Program Guide highlights research and extension activities
N.H. Sea Grant produced the four-page 2013-14 Program Guide to provide an overview of its mission and focus areas. This version is significantly different than prior editions — it is brief, photo-heavy and intended to be more user-friendly and engaging. The reader is encouraged to access additional information and watch videos on the N.H. Sea Grant website and social media platforms. This publication was distributed electronically to stakeholders, researchers and congressional staffers to improve visibility of N.H. Sea Grant and emphasize the impact the program is having on the region. The Program Guide will also serve as the anchor to forthcoming information sheets that detail activities related to N.H. Sea Grant’s four focus areas.

N.H. Sea Grant’s Facebook page broadens reach of news and events
N.H. Sea Grant’s Facebook page attracted more attention in 2013 than in previous years, with posts reaching almost 7,000 views — an increase of 150% from 2012. The most popular 2013 post attracted 393 views, representing almost a 400% increase from the post with the most views in 2012. The posts received 67 shares, helping NHSG to potentially reach more than 43,000 people. In addition, the number of people who liked the NHSG Facebook page increased from 109 to 167 during this time period, representing more than a 150% increase in followers. Facebook continues to be an integral method of news dissemination for NHSG, reaching wider audiences each year.

Two videos inform and engage the public about N.H. Sea Grant research
N.H. Sea Grant produced two videos in 2013 about research projects focused on microplastics on N.H. beaches and alewife populations in coastal rivers. Both research projects were funded by NHSG. The videos were shared on social media and one was uploaded to the research page of the NHSG website, allowing the description of the research to evolve into a “living document” and gain a longer shelf-life in the news. Videos serve as a companion piece to written news stories about the research, engaging audiences in a more effective manner and encouraging volunteer participation in the research when possible, as was the case with the microplastics project.

2012

Marinecareers.net Introduces High School Students to a Full Range of Career Options
RELEVANCE: Many high school students contemplate careers in the marine sciences. Without an understanding of the many different possibilities in these fields, however, many fixate on careers in marine biology and picture themselves working with marine mammals.
RESPONSE: Online since 1998, Sea Grant’s marinecareers.net is designed to provide high school students and their parents, teachers and guidance counselors with information on the many career possibilities in the marine sciences and closely related areas. Through question-and-answer profiles, scientists provide site visitors with information about their careers and their lives. These scientists cover a wide range in terms of educations, geographical locations, employers and ethnicities.
RESULTS: Over the years, marinecareers.net, which is administered by N.H. Sea Grant, has become a valuable resource for students seeking to explore marine career options. During 2012, NHSG began a major overhaul of the site, one which will include adding social media.
RECAP: Sea Grant’s marinecareers.net has been and continues to be a valuable resource for students seeking information on careers in the marine sciences.

NHSG Publication Highlights Winter Flounder Research Results
Winter flounder populations in waters near Martha’s Vineyard have declined dramatically in recent years. Using Sea Grant funds, a UNH researcher conducted studies to determine the most effective stock enhancement technique for that area. NHSG produced a four-page publication in 2012, “Bringing winter flounder back to Martha’s Vineyard through community engagement,” summarizing this research that was distributed to stakeholders, project collaborators and potential future funding agencies to increase awareness of the project, highlight its accomplishments, and document the need for further studies. This publication will also deliver important information for other communities and organizations interested in using stock enhancement to help improve populations of flounder and other related species.

NHSG Produces Program's First Video, Helps Promote New Volunteer Opportunity
In 2012, NHSG continued to develop the Coastal Research Volunteer (CRV) program, a new opportunity for volunteers to team with marine researchers on projects aimed at maintaining healthy coastal ecosystems. Working with a Doyle Fellow who was a video student at UNH Manchester, Communications staffers launched NHSG's video production component with a video showing some of the CRV’s projects and participants. The video will be used to recruit both researchers and volunteers to the effort as well as to explain the CRV’s goals.

Twitter Allows NHSG to Interact With Increasingly Diverse Audiences
NHSG has continued to build its presence on Twitter, reaching more than 400 followers by the end of 2012. One hundred sixty of our tweets were retweeted, most often by the National Sea Grant Office, NOAA Research, UNH Science and UNH Extension, as well as individuals interested in marine science. Given the massive followings of many of the aforementioned, these retweets had the potential to reach 314,000 individuals and organizations during 2012. Beyond allowing for new methods of disseminating news, Twitter has served as a method to connect to new and existing audiences on a more personal basis. NHSG uses Twitter to engage in conversations with local seafood dealers, Sea Grant colleagues in other states, and individuals who have questions about marine-related topics.

NHSG's Facebook Posts Reach 4400 People
NHSG has a modest following on Facebook, but our posts reached almost 4400 people during 2012. Our most popular post reached 93 people, and 52 of our posts have been shared with other audiences. The number of people who liked our Facebook page increased from 57 to 109 during this time period as well, representing almost a 200% increase in followers. Every post “share” and “like” helps us spread the word about our activities in new and dynamic ways, reaching potentially wider audiences than through traditional methods of news dissemination.

NHSG Establishes Flickr Photo Management/sharing Page
NHSG established a Flickr page in 2012 and began uploading photos and tagging them appropriately. This page allows NHSG staffers to save time by browsing photo options whenever it is most convenient for them, thus freeing up time previously spent by communications staff going through the photos for each request. All staff members can now contribute to the photo archives, allowing for a wider variety of choices for use in communications publications and on our new website. In addition, NHSG’s collaborators and the general public can access and use these photos as they see fit, which adds another level of interaction to complement our social media efforts.

NHSG Establishes YouTube Channel to Host its Videos
By establishing its own YouTube channel in 2012, NHSG has broadened its reach to include potentially new audiences and augment its delivery of news stories. Since its inception, videos on the NHSG YouTube page have been viewed more than 600 times and received a few “likes.” NHSG videos from YouTube are embedded in the new NHSG website as well, making the site and its information more dynamic and interesting.

NHSG Creates Two Videos About Community Supported Fisheries
NHSG created two videos in 2012 to help spread the word about community supported fisheries and the national CSF summit that took place in N.H. from May 30 – June 1, 2012. The videos have been featured on the localcatch.org website and some of the raw footage will be featured in NOAA’s Ocean Today kiosks located in 37 sites around the country.

NHSG Discovery Cruises Documented in Video
For over a decade, NHSG Discovery Cruises have given area residents and visitors the opportunity to participate in half-day research cruises into the Great Bay Estuary or out to the Isles of Shoals and to tour marine labs in both locations. Working with a student videographer, Communications staffers produced a video about the cruises in 2012. The video will serve as a tool to advertise the opportunity and to give potential participants a better idea of how Discovery Cruises combine adventure with education.

New NHSG Website Facilitates Staff-stakeholder Interaction
Working closely with the entire NHSG staff, Communications built a Drupal-based website for the program during 2012. The new site replaces both the former program site and a separate site devoted to the UNH Marine Docent Program, NHSG’s marine education volunteer effort. Each area of the new site will be maintained by the staffers responsible for that particular topic, thus making the site much more responsive to stakeholder needs.

NHSG Pamphlet Highlights Marine Literacy Programs Offered by UNH Marine Docents
NHSG produced the pamphlet, “UNH Marine Docents Program Offerings,” in 2012 detailing the in-school and boat-based programs offered by the UNH Marine Docents. Marine literacy standards are part of the N.H. state curriculum and these programs offer hands-on methods of improving students’ understanding of core STEM subjects. This pamphlet will be sent to schools throughout the Seacoast and interior N.H., thus improving advertising of these programs and likely increasing students’ interest in engaging with the docents on marine literacy subjects.

2011

Marinecareers.net Helps Students Explore Many Career Possibilities
RELEVANCE: Many high school students contemplate careers in the marine sciences. Without an understanding of the many different possibilities in these fields, however, a large percentage of them fixate on careers in marine biology and picture themselves working with marine mammals.

 

RESPONSE: Designed to provide high school students and their parents, teachers and guidance counselors with information on the many career possibilities in the marine sciences, Sea Grant’s marinecareers.net has been online since 1998. One of its major elements is a collection of profiles of current marine biologists, oceanographers, ocean engineers and others in closely related fields. These profilees talk about what they do, what led them to their careers, what they like and dislike about their jobs, what they see for the future in their fields and much more.

RESULTS: Over the past 15 years, marinecareers.net, which is administered by NHSG, has become a valuable resource for students seeking to explore marine career options. During 2011, the website had 186,620 visitors, or about one every three minutes.
RECAP: Sea Grant’s marinecareers.net has been and continues to be a valuable resource for students seeking information on careers in the marine sciences.
 
 

2010


 

Publications Increase Awareness Regarding New England Fishing Industry

 

There has been a lack of awareness among the public about the realities of the New England fishing industry and, among many fisheries professionals, about the need to include social and economic impacts in research and management decisions. In response, NHSG created two publications that offer a better glimpse into the challenges and opportunities facing the commercial fishing fleet and fisheries managers in New Hampshire. The first, a four-page information sheet titled Economic Impact of the N.H. Seafood Industry: Opportunity for Sustainability, promotes general awareness of and support for the local fishing industry and has played an important role in bringing positive attention to fishermen who are developing local markets for their product. The second publication is a summary of the 2010 Northeast Regional Social Science Symposium held in Durham, N.H. The report was sent out to a wide variety of stakeholders, including congressional staffers, fisheries managers, researchers and members of the fishing industry, to bring awareness to the need for social science data in fisheries management.

 

2009
 
As in past years, the Communications staff’s primary focus has been on providing communications support to N.H. Sea Grant’s extension personnel, researchers and administrators. This involved us in a variety of projects, including the production of news releases, publications and posters, the development and maintenance of the NHSG web site, and the orchestrating of events.
 
During the year, the Communications staff continued to pursue both external and internal media relations opportunities. The external efforts involve the traditional media; the internal activities involve opportunities available to us through the University, Sea Grant and NOAA. Although fewer NHSG-related articles were distributed to the media during 2009, those sent out were reprinted in a number of publications. Our article about polyaromatic hydrocarbons in pavement sealcoat gained attention nationwide in various media outlets, including personal blogs, and was reprinted throughout the year.
 
We reached out to some different audiences by writing some articles for Commercial Fisheries News and Fishermen’s Voice, two newspapers geared towards the fishing industry. In September, many regional media outlets published articles about the N.H. Fish and Seafood Festival, sponsored in part by NHSG.
 
Our biggest media placement achievement in 2009 came in December, when our article about N.H. Sea Grant-sponsored invasive seaweed research was picked up by the regional AP service and distributed in numerous newspapers online and in print. We are noticing that more of our media placements are repostings in online media outlets and blogs rather than original postings, likely a reflection of the slow economy and cuts among media staff.
 
The communications team continued its support of NHSG-related endeavors during 2009. We focused most of our efforts on producing smaller projects, including various posters, flyers, pamphlets and ads, in support of our Discovery Cruises, Family Boat-Building Workshop, and Marine Docent Program offerings and recruitment.
 
During 2009, the communications staff produced the 2010-2011 issue of the N.H. Sea Grant Program Guide. This 28-page publication contains information on the program’s research and extension activities and serves as NHSG’s primary identity piece.
 
Communications completed the development of the NHSG Project Information Database during 2009. Now available via the program’s Web site, the database serves as both a source of information for the program’s stakeholders and as a management tool for the program’s administrators. Communications has also taken on primary responsibility for NHSG’s interactions with NIMS, the National Sea Grant Information Management System.
 
Since 1993, the NHSG Communications staff has collaborated with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Sea Grant Program in the National Sea Grant effort to provide information on careers in the marine sciences to high school students and their parents, teachers and guidance counselors. Initially, this effort involved a publication, Marine Science Careers. Since 1998, it has also included a Web site, www.marinecareers.net. Each week, the site attracts hundreds of visitors. The Web site now resides on the UNH server and we take care of its maintenance and updating.
 
In an effort to help unify marine activities at UNH, the Communications staff is working with others within the University’s marine community to develop a communications package for the UNH Marine Program. During 2009, these activities focused primarily on the production of Saltwater News, a monthly electronic newsletter. In addition, the Communications Communicator serves as the chair of the UNH Marine Communicators group.

Publications

Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant

Journal Article

  • Barnaby, R. and S. Adams (2002). Aquaculture: opportunity or threat to traditional capture fishermen. World Aquaculture: 13-15.

Report

  • N.H. Sea Grant Director's Letter (2002). Ann Bucklin.
  • A report on the seacoast regional wastewater outfall study forum, March 7, 2005 (2005). Rebecca Perkins.
  • Gulf of Maine Regional Science Priorities Workshop - Impacts of stressors on coastal ecosystems (2009). Stephen Jones, editor.
  • A guide to fisheries stock assessment: from data to recommendations (2006). Andrew Cooper.
  • What is the optimum mesh size to harvest groundfish on Georges Bank? Drawing conclusions from cooperative research (2006). Ken LaValley.
  • Growing seafood in the open ocean--offshore aquaculture in the United States (2006). Roland Barnaby.
  • Maine/NH Sea Grant project directory 2000.

Proceeding

  • Northeast NMFS/Sea Grant colloquium on fish habitat: session summaries and next steps (1999).

Bookmark

  • www.marinecareers.net (1999).

Brochure

  • UNH Marine Docents - come join us!
  • UNH Marine Docents - program offerings
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant Brochure (2002).
  • Who are the Sea Chantey Singers?
  • Discovery Cruise 2013 rack card
  • Horseshoe crabs in Great Bay (2013)
  • Great Bay Discovery Cruise pocket guide
  • Sea Trek--explore the wonders of the world of water with UNH marine docents (2003).
  • UNH Marine Docents - program offerings

Program Guide

  • N.H. Sea Grant Program Guide 2008-2009.
  • N.H. Sea Grant Program Guide 2010-2011.
  • N.H. Sea Grant Program Guide 2002.
  • N.H. Sea Grant Program Guide 2003.
  • N.H. Sea Grant Program Guide 2004.
  • N.H. Sea Grant Program Guide 2013-2014.
  • N.H. Sea Grant Program Guide 2006-2007.

Guide

  • Marine Science Careers: a Sea Grant guide to ocean opportunities (2000). Steve Adams, Tracey Crago and Sheri DeRosa.

Periodical

  • Seafare (1998).
  • Seafare (1999).
  • Seafare (1997).

CD/Video

  • 2013 N.H. lobster bands project (2013) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube channel.
  • N.H. Sea Grant Coastal Research Volunteer Program (2013) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube channel.
  • N.H. Fresh and Local seafood (2013) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube channel.
  • Community Supported Fisheries: the basics (2012) (video).
  • 2012 National Community Supported Fisheries Summit (video).
  • Dock design with the environment in mind: minimizing dock impacts to eelgrass habitats (1998). David Burdick and Frederick Short.
  • Assessing stream health on a N.H. golf course (2013) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube channel.
  • Taking a closer look at microplastics on N.H. beaches (2013) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube channel.
  • Monitoring American eels in N.H. rivers (2013) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube channel.
  • UNH Marine Docent Discovery Cruises (2013) (video).

Strategic Plan

  • N.H. Sea Grant Implementation Plan 2002-2002.
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant Strategic Plan 2011-2013.
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant Strategic Plan 2007-2011.
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant: Strategic Plan 2001-2006.

Information Sheet

  • What's going on with NH's clam harvesting opportunities? (2004). Candace Dolan.
  • Refinements to the nordmore grate may increase shrimp selectivity (2005). Ken LaValley and Steve Adams.
  • Green grass and clear water (2013). Julia Peterson.
  • Cooperative research gives new insights into yellowtail flounder (2006). Ken LaValley.
  • Thinking about sealcoating your driveway? Get the facts!
  • Growing blue mussels on submerged longlines (2002). Roland Barnaby and Richard Langan.
  • Bringing winter flounder back to Martha's Vineyard through community engagement (2013). Elizabeth Fairchild.
  • Skates of the western Gulf of Maine (2002). James Sulikowski.
  • Onboard handling techniques key to higher quality and price (2006). Ken LaValley and Dana Morse.

Poster

  • Sea Trek--explore the wonders of the world of water with UNH marine docents (2003).