Shannon Lyons

Shannon Lyons

Chesapeake Program Director, SouthWings

MEM '04

Shannon specializes in bridging boundaries between science and management particularly related to marine conservation.  Shannon is the incoming President of the Nicholas School of the Environment’s Alumni Council.

During her time at Duke she earned a master of environmental management degree while concurrently working for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution studying social behavior and acoustic communication in bottlenose dolphins.

After graduating in 2004, Shannon worked for the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council integrating measures for protected resources and social science into fishery management plans.  There she became interested making science accessible and informative for marine policy.

Shannon returned to her academic career to complete her Ph.D. in Marine Policy at University of Delaware where she studied the socio-political process of transitioning to ecosystem based fisheries management for Chesapeake Bay.  Through Maryland Sea Grant, Shannon coordinated a large-scale bay-wide effort to develop consensus recommendations for managing living marine resources between bay stakeholders.  Following, Shannon identified and funded new research projects designed to inform domestic and international ocean policy for a grant-making organization in Washington, D.C.

Currently Shannon is the Chesapeake Program Director for SouthWings, an Asheville, N.C. based non-profit organization which coordinates aviation experiences to promote conservation.  She networks with a wide variety of stakeholders in the Chesapeake Bay to give scientists, politicians, non-profits, and media an aerial perspective on major environmental threats to the watershed including sea level rise, nutrient runoff and algae blooms, and shoreline development.

She is also an adjunct professor for Northeastern University and teaches graduate courses in Marine Conservation Biology for their Three Seas Program at the Friday Harbor Marine Lab in Washington state.

"The Nicholas School expanded my vision of environmental problems and challenged me to think about the interconnections between people and the earth. I strive to integrate the inspiration and knowledge I received at the Nicholas School into my career shaping people's perspectives on marine conservation through science and first-hand environmental experiences."