Weekly Update: Field Day, Marine Mammals, Pip-Ups and more....

September 14, 2016

Hi Everyone

By now we are starting to get into the fall routine, taking one step after another as we make our way through classes, projects, conferences and the like. In that regard, Dan Richter offers us positive inspiration for the semester, finishing a journey he started when he was 24.

Last week, he completed the final 150-mile section of the Appalachian Trail and reached its northern terminus – atop 5,267-foot Mt. Katahdin (or Ktaadn, as Thoreau called it) on Sept. 1. Dan hiked the southern half of the trail (on young knees and legs) when he was 24, and has been completing bits of the northern half over the past eight years. The last 150-mile stretch, which leads through some of the wildest landscapes in Maine, was a grueling hike and climb, Dan says, “but worth every step.”

Let’s congratulate him on checking another major life goal off of his list. Then read on to find out about other news and accomplishments this week.


  1. Field Day 2016 and the Nic@25 Community Celebration was so much fun!  Hope you joined us. 
  2. Marine Lab Director Andy Read is on Capitol Hill today presenting expert testimony on marine mammal bycatch at a Congressional briefing organized by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and World Wildlife Fund. He’ll update the Congressmen and their staffers about the latest global estimate of bycatch – which now stands at more than 650,000 individual marine mammals each year – the species at highest risk, and the types of fishing gear responsible for most of the mortalities and injuries. The briefing is part of ongoing efforts by the Commission and WWF to spur more effective regulatory measures to combat bycatch, both in U.S. waters and worldwide. 
  3. Pat Halpin, director of our Marine Ecology Geospatial Lab is also in D.C. today for the rollout of a new project, “Global Fishing Watch,” that uses automatic identification system (AIS ) tracking data to map the movements and patterns of fishing vessels worldwide. It’s a technology that promises to revolutionize how we monitor commercial fishing and its environmental impacts. Pat, research scientist Daniel Dunn and PhD student Guillermo Ortuño Crespo have been working with Oceana, SkyTruth and Google, as well as with the Nicholas Institute’s John Virdin, to develop the new ship-tracking system. The big rollout occurs tonight at an event hosted by actor Ted Danson at Long View Gallery in D.C. 
  4. An exhibit of photos by Nic School alum Gaelin Rosenwaks MEM ’04 opens today in the Wegner Art Gallery in Environment Hall. Gaelin is one of the foremost photographers and videographers of marine and coastal environments working today. Her images showcase at-risk ecosystems and species around the globe and the scientists and conservationists working to protect them. Her new exhibit, “Studying Ocean Resources: Adventures at Sea,” draws from some of her most recent projects, including documenting scientists as they satellite-tag bluefin tuna in the western Atlantic Ocean and drill ice cores in the frozen Bering Sea. Great stuff! 
  5. Proud coworkers report that Sherri Nevius, assistant dean for executive education and distance learning programs, won her age group at the Asheville Duathlon last weekend. The race, which combined off-road biking and running, was held Sept. 11 at Biltmore Estate. This was Sherri’s first time ever competing in a duathlon, and she nonetheless left most of the competition in her dust, winning her age group and finishing 38th out of 126 competitors overall.   
  6. The Career & Professional Development Center is hosting its first monthly Networking Pop-Up this Friday at noon in the Environment Hall Courtyard. All students, faculty and staff and invited to take part. The pop-ups are intended to help members of the Nic School community get to know each other and help students practice their networking skills in a relaxed environment. As an added encouragement for everyone to attend, the first pop-up will actually be a Pip-Up – featuring free samples of Pipcorn mini-popcorn. If you plan to attend, please fill out this brief form and include a fun fact about you as a networking icebreaker. 
  7. Kudos to PhD alum Sara McDonald, who has published a series of peer-reviewed articles over the last two years shedding new light on factors that shape the efficacy of marine mammal take-reduction policies. Sara works as a fisheries scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Her papers have appeared in the journals Environmental Management, Global Ecology and Conservation, and twice in Marine Policy, and were co-authored by a veritable who’s who of Nic School faculty and alums in the policy and marine science worlds, including Deb Gallagher, Andy Read, Randy Kramer, Steve Roady and Rebecca Lewison
  8. There’s still time to sign up for fall shares from Walking Fish, the community-supported fishery run by local fishermen in Carteret County (home to our Marine Lab) and founded in 2009 by a group of enterprising Nic School students led by MEM alum Josh Stoll. The fall season of weekly fish deliveries begins Sept. 20 in Raleigh and Sept. 22 in Durham. Learn more here.  
  9. Members of our Triangle Area Alumni Network held a joint picnic with local members of the Fuqua Alumni Club on Aug. 28 at Lake Crabtree County Park in Raleigh. More than 40 alums and students took part in the picnic. Due to its success, organizers say they are planning more joint Nicholas-Fuqua alumni events for the future. To learn more, contact Gene Stroup at gene@alumni.duke.edu or (919) 740-9942. It would be great to see our five other regional alumni networks follow suit!!  
  10. Though I missed Field Day last weekend because of a previous commitment to present at a conference in Sweden, I’ve been hearing rave reviews from everyone who were lucky enough to attend. Please join me in thanking Nancy Kelly for all the hard work and planning she and her volunteers put into making this year’s Field Day the best ever.

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