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Lindstedt Retires from LSG

Photo: Dianne LindstedtDianne Lindstedt, Louisiana Sea Grant (LSG) marine education coordinator, retired in October after four decades with Louisiana State University (LSU).

She first began her LSU journey in 1975 as a graduate student and research associate for the Center for Wetland Resources. “I came to LSU because I was interested in learning about the wetlands, and what made LSU work well is that other people from different disciplines would gather and talk about the environment. This form of unity helped contribute to a changing tide in how people viewed the environment, more specifically, the wetlands,” recalled Lindstedt.

After receiving a master’s degree in marine sciences, Lindstedt worked as a researcher for 20 years. During that timeframe, some of the projects she facilitated focused on coastal restoration, oil spill impacts and marsh management. Her range in expertise made her a sought-after candidate for other aquatic research opportunities.

Her time spent at the Louisiana Geological Survey as a natural resources specialist and research associate helped her grow and better understand the coastal community she was now a part of. Lindstedt’s work helped her establish a professional network with fellow marine and aquatic scientists and agents, some of whom worked at Sea Grant.

“My time at Geological Survey helped me to learn what problems were occurring all over the State of Louisiana and put me in the room with many people I would work with through the course of my career,” she said.

Lindstedt remembers that her presence in those rooms made her one of the first women in those meetings, a highlight that shines bright in her career journey along the coast.

“In retrospect, I was the only female in the room for the first three years, and over time I finally saw another woman. It was exciting to watch how all of the environmental issues concerning the Gulf of Mexico and beyond were at first being addressed by men, and now it is mostly women addressing them.”

In 1998, she earned a master’s degree in science education, and by 2003 she accepted the education coordinator position at LSG. She held this position for nearly two decades. Moreover, as expected, it was a natural fit. Lindstedt flourished through her years at LSG because her passion for learning went beyond the classroom. One of the most important events she has led is Ocean Commotion, an annual educational fair where more than 2,000 students, who range in age, learn from environmental experts as well as their peers.

“Dianne’s leadership in education is founded on the trusted network among educators that she has established and the long-term impact of Ocean Commotion on thousands of students that have experienced the exhibits over the last 20 years. It is a compliment to her dedication that both hallmarks will stand for years at Louisiana Sea Grant and continue to establish the value of our organization to Louisiana,” said Robert Twilley, Louisiana Sea Grant executive director.

“I will miss Ocean Commotion. It was a lot of work, but you learn a lot by going to the event. I would do it again in a heartbeat because it is one of the most important things we have done. People from 2 to 100 years old get a lot out of it,” Lindstedt emphasized.

Besides Ocean Commotion, where oftentimes she was a coordinator and teacher, Lindstedt also allowed herself to become the student when necessary. She drew information from her past experiences and conferences such as the National Marine Education Association (NMEA).

“Once I came into Sea Grant, I knew I was stepping into a bigger scale. I went to a biannual conference called the NMEA, and that is where I learned about coastal issues on a national level. Any information you needed or any questions you had could be gathered or answered during this event. That is why I liked what I did. I learn from working. I had so many opportunities. It is fun to meet people and help answer their questions. More so, you can see the ball gets bigger and bigger from seeing progress and focusing on projects that let you be in the environment and being on the water.”

She has helped answer many puzzling coastal questions for field agents, researchers and students alike. For 40 years, Lindstedt has dedicated her life to helping our coastal environment, a feat that is marked with both wisdom and grace.

“I will miss the people. Nevertheless, you know things change, and I would like to see things grow in the next 30 years, as I have seen during my career. It has been a good experience, and the people were great. I am satisfied with what I have done.”

Lindstedt plans on traveling with her husband during her retirement. Even though she will no longer be the education coordinator, she will always be a part of the LSG family. She still plans to visit and attend LSG’s hosted events and perhaps bring her famous blueberry tea cakes and whoopie pies in tow.