N.H. Sea Grant Communications and Information (2014-2017)

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Project Type: 
Communications

Participants:

Rebecca Zeiber N.H. Sea Grant Science Writer
Susan Chalifoux N.H. Sea Grant Program Manager
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: 

2015

N.H. Sea Grant’s marine careers website helps over 230,000 students research career options

N.H. Sea Grant’s marinecareers.net website continues to be a valuable resource for students seeking information on careers in the marine sciences, helping to broaden students’ vision of the opportunities available in the marine science fields.
Relevance: Marine science is a popular career choice, however students often focus on marine biology and working with marine mammals because they are unaware of the numerous other possibilities that exist in the marine sciences.
Response: Using profiles of a wide array of marine professionals in marine biology, ocean engineering, oceanography, social and policy science, and other related marine fields, the website marinecareers.net was created in 1998 to provide information about the many different career possibilities available to students interested in marine science. The site, administered by N.H. Sea Grant, also contains resources relating to education, careers, internships, and a quiz to help students determine which marine career field might be a good fit.
Results: During 2015, marinecareers.net had over 230,000 visitors from all 50 states and most foreign countries. More than 100 site visitors responded to a survey, with almost all respondents indicating that the site was helpful in making decisions regarding a career in the marine sciences. Visitors stated that the site was “cool,” “very informative and helpful,” and “an eye opener.” Over 27,000 people took the site’s marine career interest quiz in 2015 to assess their interest in the various career fields.

Undergraduates improve technical writing skills by producing information sheets for N.H. Sea Grant
N.H. Sea Grant worked with undergraduates in 2015 to develop three information sheets that inform the public about various program components and activities, while also helping the students to improve their technical writing, editing and graphic design skills.
Relevance: Undergraduates studying technical writing at the University of New Hampshire must complete a project to reinforce course content in a real world setting while gaining valuable skills for when they enter the workforce.
Response: Each year, N.H. Sea Grant communications staff work with some of the students to complete their project. N.H. Sea Grant has a family of related publications that help to describe the program and its various components and activities. The biennial Program Guide is the flagship piece, and numerous one-page information sheets complement and augment the information in an easy-to-read format. In 2015, a team of UNH technical writing undergraduate students worked with N.H. Sea Grant communications staff to write and develop three information sheets covering program topics including UNH Ocean Discovery Day, the UNH Marine Docent Program and the website marinecareers.net. The information sheets provide a brief summary and include photos that depict each topic.
Results: Writing the information sheets allowed undergraduates to improve their technical writing, editing and graphic design skills, freeing up some time that N.H. Sea Grant staff would otherwise have spent developing these information sheets. The publications have been distributed at various conferences and public events and are available on the N.H. Sea Grant website.

N.H. Sea Grant produces several short videos to promote educational marine science event

N.H. Sea Grant produced eight short videos in 2015 that helped to promote UNH Ocean Discovery Day, a marine science event that attracted more than 2,100 students, teachers and members of the public — the largest number of attendees in the event's six-year history.
Relevance: Each year, N.H. Sea Grant helps to promote UNH Ocean Discovery Day, a free event that teaches students and the public about marine science and ocean engineering. Event organizers wanted to increase awareness about the event and boost attendance in 2015.
Response: N.H. Sea Grant produced eight short videos in 2015 each featuring a different marine-themed topic or hands-on station to be featured at Ocean Discovery Day, including remotely operated vehicles, horseshoe crabs and seaweed. The videos were shared on the Ocean Discovery Day website and Facebook page and are archived on the N.H. Sea Grant YouTube channel.
Results: The videos were viewed more than 670 times in total, with a reach of 1,300 people and had numerous likes and shares on Facebook. An informal survey conducted at Ocean Discovery Day indicated that Facebook was a critical part of event advertising, with anecdotal evidence that the videos were well received. In total, more than 2,100 students, teachers and members of the general public attended the Ocean Discovery Day student preview and public open house in 2015 — the largest number of attendees in the event's six-year history.

N.H. Sea Grant video promotes new puppet musical that teaches students about changes in the ocean

N.H. Sea Grant produced a video in 2015 that helps to promote a puppet musical developed by N.H. Sea Grant and the University of N.H. to teach students about changes in the ocean.
Relevance: N.H. Sea Grant seeks to engage young audiences as part of its marine literacy efforts. N.H. Sea Grant educators collaborated with the University of New Hampshire Department of Theatre and Dance to develop a puppet musical, What's all the ComOcean?, aimed at teaching elementary and middle school students about changes in the Gulf of Maine, including warming waters, invasive species and marine debris.
Response: N.H. Sea Grant produced a video in 2015 documenting the making of the puppet musical, its goals and messaging. The video, available on the N.H. Sea Grant YouTube channel, is intended to increase awareness of the musical and encourage teachers and event organizers to host the musical to teach students and the public about changes in the marine environment and how they can help.
Results: The video has been viewed 220 times and was featured on various UNH and N.H. Sea Grant social media sites. The video provides a lively, engaging overview for promotional use and distribution to individuals and organizations that can help teach students about marine science and changes in the Gulf of Maine.

N.H. Sea Grant information sheet on climate champions spreads awareness

N.H. Sea Grant produced an information sheet in 2015 that condenses the content of a report about supporting climate adaptation "champions" in coastal New England communities in order to provide an easy-to-read synopsis to a wider audience.
Relevance: A report produced by a 2014 N.H. Sea Grant Doyle Fellow provided an in-depth look at the challenges facing "champions" of climate adaptation in coastal communities throughout northern New England. The document is 29 pages long and provides detailed information for organizations and individuals who want to support these champions.
Response: N.H. Sea Grant produced a two-page information sheet in 2015 that condenses the report contents into a more concise format for a quick glance at the report's main points and highlights.
Results: The information sheet was distributed on social media and at various conferences, workshops and public events to help spread awareness of the work and needs of climate champions.

Feature stories share N.H. Sea Grant research and extension activities with a wide audience

N.H. Sea Grant's stories written in 2015 helped bring attention to program-sponsored research and extension activities on the local, regional and national scale.
Relevance: One of N.H. Sea Grant's communication goals is to promote awareness of the program's research and extension activities. Explaining what takes place and why it matters are critical to this goal.
Response: N.H. Sea Grant wrote 10 stories in 2015 based on recently published research sponsored by the program and numerous extension efforts that took place during the year.
Results: The stories were featured on the N.H. Sea Grant website and social media and were shared by numerous local, regional and national outlets via social media for a potential reach of 25,000 people on Facebook and more than 200,000 people on Twitter.

N.H. Sea Gant conducts needs assessment for local groundfishermen in crisis

Given severe cuts in allowable catch and uncertainty about the future of groundfishing in N.H., it is critical to understand the current situation, perspective and needs of N.H. groundfishermen to inform action addressing their circumstances. N.H. Sea Grant interviewed groundfishermen to assess their perspectives and opinions about potential responses to the crisis and broadcast results to fishermen, extension agents, politicians, NOAA scientists and managers, and non-profit organizations.
Relevance: Given severe cuts in how much fish fishermen are allowed to catch and uncertainty about the future of groundfishing for N.H. fishermen, it is critical to understand the current situation, perspective and needs of N.H. groundfishermen as soon as possible in order to inform action that will address their circumstances. This information must accurately reflect the voice of fishermen and make its way into the hands of people who can collectively search for resources, support and actions that can help.
Response: In 2015, N.H. Sea Grant interviewed as many N.H. groundfishermen as possible who have been active in the last two years in order to assess their perspectives and opinions about potential responses to the crisis. Two-thirds of qualifying fishermen were interviewed.
Results: The assessment found that fishermen will move into alternative fisheries where possible, including lobster, scallops, dogfish, whiting and tuna. In addition, several fishermen will fish further from shore or further south to avoid Gulf of Maine cod which have low catch limits. Some fishermen are concerned about the safety of these adjustments because smaller boats are not as well equipped to safely travel farther offshore or to handle different gear. Frustration with the quality of science available to managers was found to be a consistent issue for fishermen. N.H. Sea Grant produced a four-page information sheet that summarized the needs assessment in a concise and easy-to-read format. Results were distributed to fishermen, extension agents, politicians, NOAA scientists and managers, and non-profit organizations, raising their awareness of the issues from the point of view of the fishermen who are most affected by their potential future actions.

N.H. Sea Grant information sheet informs scientists about striped bass aquaculture efforts

N.H. Sea Grant produced an information sheet in 2015 that informs scientists and aquaculturists about improvements in striped bass aquaculture using land-based, marine recirculating systems.
Relevance: Striped bass aquaculture is gaining popularity throughout the United States. It has the potential to be an excellent option for improving broodstock breeding programs and may lead to the development of new markets and sources of income for aquaculturists. Various efforts are taking place throughout the nation to improve striped bass aquaculture and scientists wanted a brief summary of those efforts.
Response: N.H. Sea Grant developed a one-page information sheet in 2015 that details scientific efforts throughout the nation to select for certain desirable genetic traits of striped bass and to identify markets for striped bass grown in land-based, marine recirculating aquaculture systems.
Results: The information sheet provides a concise update on advancements made in striped bass aquaculture and has been distributed electronically to scientists and aquaculturists throughout the nation who are interested in this topic.

2014

Thousands use Sea Grant’s marinecareers.net to explore career options
Sea Grant’s marinecareers.net has been and continues to be a valuable resource for students seeking information on careers in the marine sciences.
RELEVANCE: Many 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 students and their parents, teachers and guidance counselors with information on the many career possibilities in the marine sciences. Through question-and-answer profiles, professionals in the fields of marine biology, oceanography, ocean engineering, social and policy science, and closely related areas provide site visitors with information about their careers their lives and what they see for the future in their fields. These scientists cover a wide range in terms of educations, geographical locations, employers and ethnicities. The site also contains many other resources related to career exploration as well as an aptitude test designed to point students to possible careers.
RESULTS: Over the years, marinecareers.net, which is administered by N.H. Sea Grant, has become a valuable resource for students from across the country and around the world seeking to explore marine science career options. During 2014, the site averaged 500-600 visitors a day.

N.H. Sea Grant produces video to promote internships
N.H. Sea Grant produced a video in 2014, Connect to Conserve: Internships with N.H. Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension, to promote undergraduate opportunities including the NHSG Doyle Fellowship. The video highlights the variety of experiences offered to the fellows by N.H. Sea Grant. The video has garnered 177 views and has been shared on social media and the NHSG and UNH Cooperative Extension websites. It provides a more engaging and thorough method of describing the fellowship than most other advertising methods and is intended to help boost the number of applications for the fellowship for a more robust candidate pool.

Undergraduate team creates Coastal Research Volunteer poster to draw attention to NHSG opportunity
Working with a team of technical writing students from UNH’s English 502 class, N.H. Sea Grant Communications produced a poster for the program’s Coastal Research Volunteers. Printed on waterproof canvas to make it more versatile, the poster is being used by the CRV coordinator to recruit both environmentally conscious volunteers and research scientists in need of assistance with their monitoring efforts.

N.H. Sea Grant revises, updates and re-launches marinecareers.net
Communications redesigned marinecareers.net, the marine science career information site managed by N.H. Sea Grant for the Sea Grant network. In addition to updating information and profiles on the site, the staff added a section on social and policy science and a marine science careers aptitude test. The site is visited by 500-600 users each day.

N.H. Sea Grant 2015-17 Program Guide highlights research and extension activities
N.H. Sea Grant produced the four-page 2015-17 NHSG Program Guide to provide an overview of its mission and focus areas. The guide, produced in 2014, is brief, photo-heavy and intended to be user-friendly and engaging. The reader is encouraged to access additional information on the N.H. Sea Grant website and social media platforms. This publication is 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 also serves to anchor various information sheets that detail activities related to N.H. Sea Grant’s four focus areas.

N.H. Sea Grant bookmark highlights “underloved” seafood species of N.H.
As a result of NHSG-funded research on alternative marketing opportunities for the N.H. fishing industry, N.H. Sea Grant produced a bookmark in 2014 highlighting five "underloved" seafood species of N.H. — those species that are abundant but not well-known among consumers. The bookmark provides biological information about these species along with details about culinary preparation of each species and their uses in cuisine. The bookmark has been distributed at seafood tasting events, meetings and a sustainable seafood dinner at UNH’s Holloway Commons, providing a quick reference for consumers who want to familiarize themselves with local, sustainable seafood choices. It has also been shared on social media, with a potential Twitter reach of more than 14,000 followers based on numerous retweets.

N.H. Sea Grant publications provide overview of horseshoe crab biology and research in Great Bay
N.H. Sea Grant produced a pamphlet and information sheet in 2014 that provide an overview of horseshoe crab biology in Great Bay and research, some of which was funded by NHSG, that has been conducted on the species in the region. Horseshoe crabs are a charismatic species that generates a lot of public interest in the Great Bay ecosystem. The publications offer the same information in two different formats: the pamphlet for hardcopy distribution in science centers around the Seacoast and the information sheet for people who access the publication digitally and want to print it out themselves. These publications help to educate the public about horseshoe crabs and the importance of conducting research relating to their populations and biology.

N.H. Sea Grant produces video to promote UNH’s Ocean Discovery Day
N.H. Sea Grant produced a short video in 2014 to help promote UNH’s Ocean Discovery Day, a free event that focuses on marine science and engineering. The video encourages children and adults to attend the event to learn about marine science topics from NHSG-trained UNH Marine Docents and UNH researchers in a hands-on environment. The video has been viewed more than 200 times on YouTube and was shared on social media to help promote the event, providing a visual companion piece to news stories and announcements about Ocean Discovery Day.

N.H. Sea Grant Doyle Fellow writes report about “champions” of climate adaptation in New England
N.H. Sea Grant produced a 32-page report, "Sustaining champions of climate adaptation in coastal communities: a Northern New England study." The report was researched and written by a 2014 NHSG undergraduate Doyle Fellow who conducted semi-structured interviews of people identified as climate adaptation promoters and implementers in southern Maine, northern Mass. and N.H. The report focuses on the challenges faced by leaders in coastal communities who are helping their municipality adapt to sea-level rise, increases in heavy precipitation and flooding. Thus far, it has been distributed to professional climate adaptation networks in New England that are providing assistance to communities, including Maine, Conn. and the Upper Valley of N.H. and Vt., and findings have also been shared nationally. The report encourages expanded support for coordinated, locally grounded climate adaptation assistance to help these champions to continue their efforts to protect their communities and to "normalize" climate preparedness in community decision-making.

N.H. Sea Grant designs poster to promote UNH Marine Docent program
In 2014, N.H. Sea Grant designed a poster to help promote the UNH Marine Docent program coordinated by NHSG and UNH Cooperative Extension. The poster was displayed at NHSG’s first research symposium to inform attendees about the in-school and boat-based educational programs offered by the Docents. The design is colorful, photo-heavy and engaging, and it was printed on a canvas material to allow program coordinators to use the poster at a variety of indoor and outdoor public events in the coming years. The poster provides a simple method of advertising the Docent programs to promote marine literacy in Northern New England.

N.H. Sea Grant designs two fisheries posters to educate the public about climate change and gear technology
N.H. Sea Grant designed two posters in 2014 that focus on climate change and gear technology in relation to New England commercial fishing. The posters were displayed at the first biennial NHSG research symposium where attendees had an opportunity to read the information and ask NHSG fisheries staff questions about the topic. Both posters educate the public about fisheries research as well as the role that N.H. Sea Grant fisheries extension specialists play in Northern New England fishing communities.

Story featuring N.H. Sea Grant research on horseshoe crabs gains worldwide attention
In 2014, N.H. Sea Grant staff wrote a story about the effects of biomedical bleeding of horseshoe crabs. The story, based on research sponsored by a NHSG development grant, gained worldwide attention through social media. The topic was mentioned on Twitter by eight other individuals or organizations and was retweeted 21 times, including by NOAA Research and EcoWatch, with a total potential reach of almost 160,000 Twitter users. The NHSG story also spurred a number of related articles in media outlets including The Atlantic and Huffington Post Green. The reach of this story has helped to bring NHSG-sponsored research to the national media spotlight.

Poster educates public about N.H. Sea Grant research and extension efforts to market local seafood
In 2014, N.H. Sea Grant designed a poster to educate the public about its research and extension efforts to market local seafood. Commercial fishermen are seeking ways to market local, "underloved" seafood species — those that are plentiful in New England waters but not well-known to the public. The poster first describes NHSG-funded research to determine consumer and restaurant preferences for these local species, then summarizes staff efforts to creatively market seafood based on the research findings. The poster was presented at Sea Grant Week in 2014 to help spread the word among professionals who may be interested in initiating similar efforts within their state.

N.H. Sea Grant produces rack card to promote Coastal Research Volunteer Program
N.H. Sea Grant produced a rack card in 2014 to describe the role of the Coastal Research Volunteer (CRV) Program, a citizen science organization run by NHSG and UNH Cooperative Extension. The CRV rack card helps to inform the public about volunteer opportunities and benefits of being involved with the program. The publication also provides information to researchers about how the CRV participants can assist them in their research efforts. The rack card has been distributed electronically and in hardcopy format to encourage volunteer and researcher participation in the program and promote coastal science in N.H. and surrounding regions.

N.H. Sea Grant’s Facebook page broadens reach of news and events
N.H. Sea Grant’s Facebook page attracted more attention in 2014 than in previous years, with posts reaching more than 7,700 views — an increase of 110% from 2013. The posts received 57 shares, helping NHSG to potentially reach more than 96,000 people — an increase of 200% from the previous year. In addition, the number of people who liked the NHSG Facebook page increased from 167 to 223 during this time period, representing more than a 130% increase in followers. Facebook continues to be an integral method of news dissemination for NHSG, reaching wider audiences each year.

Twitter allows N.H. Sea Grant to broaden its reach worldwide
In conjunction with its new website, Twitter remains the primary method for NHSG to distribute news and interact with the public and colleagues. NHSG’s reliance on this social media platform is reflected positively in the numbers: The number of NHSG Twitter followers increased by 150% for a total of 1,260 during 2014. One hundred and sixteen different Twitter users retweeted NHSG news to potentially reach more than 1.1 million followers — an increase of 200% from 2013. NHSG was also mentioned more than 90 times for a potential reach of 640,000 — an increase of 600% from the previous year. Twitter has helped NHSG engage new audiences worldwide and continues to be an important method of news dissemination.

Consumers guide helps N.H. residents shop wisely for seafood
At the request of one of N.H. Sea Grant’s commercial fisheries specialists, NHSG Communications produced a wallet-sized consumers guide to buying quality New Hampshire seafood. With photos and very concise prose, the guide tells shoppers what to look for and what to avoid when purchasing fresh cut fish, whole and dressed fish, and live shellfish. NHSG extension staff use the guide to help promote consumption of local seafood.

Information sheets provide details on N.H. Sea Grant activities
Communications produced information sheets on several aspects of the program: N.H. Sea Grant’s Coastal Research Volunteers, the program’s 2014-15 research projects, NHSG’s aquaculture activities, and marketing locally caught seafood. Used with and graphically linked to the NHSG Program Guide, these information sheets provide details about specific aspects of the program, details that can’t be included in the guide due to space limitations.

Publications

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

Bookmark

  • The underloved seafood of New Hampshire

Brochure

  • Join the Coastal Research Volunteers (2014)

Guide

  • A consumers guide to buying quality New Hampshire seafood (2014)

CD/Video

  • Connect to conserve: internships with N.H. Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension (2014) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube channel.
  • Ocean Discovery Day (2014) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube channel.
  • The making of What's All the ComOcean? puppet musical (video). 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiAxJTGMXKc

Strategic Plan

  • New Hampshire Sea Grant Strategic Plan 2014-2017.

Information Sheet

  • New Hampshire Sea Grant Coastal Research Volunteers (2014). Alyson Eberhardt and Steve Adams.
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant 2014-15 research projects (2014). Steve Adams.
  • Horseshoe crabs in Great Bay (2014). Helen Cheng.
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant aquaculture (2014). Rebecca Zeiber.
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant marinecareers.net (2015). Steve Adams.
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant marketing locally caught seafood (2014). Rebecca Zeiber.
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant marine docent program (2015). Colin MacNamee, Celina Wilt and Noah Goldstein.
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant Ocean Discovery Day (2015). Colin MacNamee, Celina Wilt and Noah Goldstein.
  • 2015 needs assessment for N.H. groundfishermen (2015). Erik Chapman.
  • Sustaining champions of climate adaptation in coastal communities: a Northern New England study (2015). Alexandra Philip.
  • Striped bass aquaculture in New England (2015). David Berlinsky and Michael Chambers.
  • Consumer and retailer demand for local seafood: opportunities in the N.H. marketplace (2014). Charlie French, Kelly Cullen, Alberto Manalo and Eliot Jones.

Poster

  • Coastal Research Volunteers (2014). Emily Kallgren, Stefanie Casella and Joao Tavares-Carreiro.
  • Marketing locally caught seafood in New Hampshire (2014). Rebecca Zeiber.
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant: establishing a community-based climate ocean observing system in N.H. (2015). Erik Chapman.
  • New Hampshire Sea Grant: helping N.H. fishermen develop new gear to catch pollock and avoid cod (2015). Erik Chapman.
  • UNH Marine Docent program (2015). Rebecca Zeiber.

Website

  • www.marinecareers.net Redesign