Extension Exchange Comes Full Circle
An Extension “exchange” program has come full circle with Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter Extension agent Twyla Herrington returning from New Hampshire. Her trip completes what began when Gabriela Bradt of New Hampshire Sea Grant (NHSG) visited Louisiana for a week in March.
Bradt was able to show Herrington numerous projects NHSG is working on, as well as introduce her to local stakeholders. During the excursion, Herrington was able to learn about a smartphone app being developed by a UNH undergraduate, the effects of marine debris onshore, aquaculture projects for steelhead trout, ecotourism, and the burgeoning oyster farms in the Great Bay Estuary. The pair also had an opportunity to visit Maine Sea Grant (MSG) where they were able to take a drift in the Old Sow Whirlpool with MSG Marine Extension agent Chris Bartlett who is working on a bird count project in an area where underwater turbines have been proposed. Also while in Maine, Herrington and Bradt were able to meet with MSG’s “resident seaweed guru,” Sarah Redmond.
“The exchange has proven itself to be invaluable with the discussions and hands on experiences,” Herrington said. “Research projects have been developed, workshops have been planned, and a future for the exchange program has hopefully been written in stone.”
The opportunity to play tour guide was a welcomed experience for Bradt. “Not only did I learn more about what our colleagues in Maine are doing,” she said, “but I also got a good dose of what is happening in my own backyard. Thanks to this exchange, I have been able to really learn and connect with some of the people I work with, and in so doing, I have more ideas about programming, potential research and collaborations.”
While the exchange is not a formal program, both Herrington and Bradt have seen the value of connecting with other Sea Grant programs and learning about resources available from colleagues in other parts of the country. The pair hopes that other Sea Grant programs will take the opportunity to learn from each other, finding ways to better serve stakeholders.