Early in my childhood, probably while I was hanging onto her leg and wailing because it was time to get in the car and go home, my very wise aunt told me “never good-bye. Only ‘until later.'”

That life lesson has always stuck with me, because I believe all the people we meet teach us something. In effect, they stay with us in one form or another because we’ve learned from them. and although most of us certainly won’t encounter all the people we’ve ever met again, what they taught us always comes back around to visit us at some point. Later.

During the last six years, I’ve met so many wonderful and interesting people while researching, writing and editing articles for Coastwatch. I’ve traveled North Carolina’s coast from Corolla to Sunset Beach, and visited many cities and towns along the Inner Banks and coastal plain. I’ve had the pleasure of learning about the state’s unique coastal ecology and cultural resources through North Carolina Sea Grant’s exemplary research programs, and the privilege to share it with Coastwatch readers. But now it is time for me to move on and give someone else an opportunity to learn from our beautiful coast, its residents and its researchers.

My journey with Sea Grant and Coastwatch actually began more than two years before I first set foot in the Raleigh office. My first glimpse of the magazine came in the fall of 2001, shortly after I’d moved to Pine Knoll Shores to work as an informal educator for a local science education program. I remember picking up Coastwatch from a coffee table in the visitor’s center, flipping through it and wondering how I could get a job writing for a magazine like that.

Two and a half years later — with a master’s from North Carolina State University in hand — I found myself interviewing for Sea Grant’s science communications program. While sharing a small office (once a closet) with two undergraduate interns, I immersed myself in the research happening through the Fishery Resource Grant and Blue Crab Research programs. A year and several stories later, I moved across the hall and became a permanent staff member.

Now, looking back on the last several years, I’m amazed at what I have learned. All of it, and all of the people I’ve met, will stay with me.

Until later, Kathleen Angione.

This article was published in the Autumn 2010 issue of Coastwatch.

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