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Sea Grant Agent Named Alumnus of the Year

Photo: Mark Shirley at Wetland Days

Mark Shirley introduces third graders to a live alligator during a recent Wetland Days event.

Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter marine extension agent Mark Shirley has been inducted into the Louisiana State University School of Renewable Natural Resources/Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries Hall of Fame as Alumnus of the Year for 2022.

Nominations must be made by School of Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) faculty members, and all 28 RNR faculty members vote on the nominations. The Hall of Fame was re-established in 2007, and Shirley makes the 30th inductee since that time.

Shirley has served as a coastal resources extension agent since 1984, developing numerous education programs in the areas coastal ecology, fisheries biology and resource management. To parallel his adult outreach efforts, he founded the Marsh Maneuvers Coastal Education Camp in 1987. Since then, this program has expanded through various sponsors into a series of four-day camping sessions held each July. The program is now well-recognized as an intensive wetland odyssey featuring a range of educational activities related to coastal ecology, wetland loss and key social issues affecting the health and economic well-being of Louisiana’s coastal communities, his nomination states

Shirley also is a highly respected communicator of coastal science and marine policy with adult audiences. As an aquaculture and fisheries extension specialist, his technical expertise on alligator and crawfish production has been extremely helpful to producers throughout Louisiana. He has served as secretary of the Louisiana Alligator Farmers Association for most of his career and has been instrumental in helping to build the political will and funding needed for an alligator research laboratory at the Ben Hur Aquaculture Research Station in Baton Rouge, the nomination added.

Shirley has been a contributing author of crawfish farming newsletters for more than two decades and has provided scientific advice and best practice recommendations to thousands of individual pond owners and coastal wetland managers. He has been a strong recruiter and supporter of RNR, as well collaborator on RNR funded research projects, the nomination concluded.

Shirley was inducted into the Hall of Fame in a May 19 ceremony.