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National Sea Grant Announces 50th Anniversary


Katie Mosher, North Carolina Sea Grant,, 919-515-9069

Posted Monday, March 7, 2016

The National Sea Grant College Program was started 50 years ago in 1966. North Carolina Sea Grant is joining in the national celebration, which runs through March 2017.

North Carolina was an early participant in the multifaceted Sea Grant mission. After establishment by Congress in 1966, the national program’s first research grants in 1968 included groundbreaking studies in ecology by Howard T. Odum of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Other early research included seafood studies by North Carolina State University scientists working with community partners.

The complete North Carolina Sea Grant College Program — with robust research, extension, communications and education programs — was certified in 1976, and has continued its statewide function for 40 years. Learn more about early Sea Grant efforts in North Carolina in a story from a 2001 issue of Coastwatch magazine.

The following news item is shared on behalf of the National Sea Grant College Program.

By Brooke Carney, National Sea Grant Office,

Sea Grant 50 years
For 50 years, the National Sea Grant College program has worked to create and maintain a healthy coastal environment and economy, and to help citizens understand, conserve and better utilize America’s coastal, ocean and Great Lakes resources. Photo credit: NOAA/National Sea Grant College Program

March 2016 marks the start of Sea Grant’s 50th anniversary year. In honor of the 50th anniversary, Sea Grant is organizing a year of outreach efforts to highlight how Sea Grant has successfully been “putting science to work for America’s coastal communities” for 50 years. The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness about the successful approach Sea Grant programs throughout the country use to apply research and community engagement tactics in order to bring about positive impacts to coastal communities in the areas of healthy coastal ecosystems, resilient communities and economies, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and environmental literacy and workforce development.

The Sea Grant model of directly engaging community members to identify pressing information and research needs and then working with both scientists and the individuals who will put research to work has been honed and perfected over the last 50 years, leading to countless stories of positive impacts. Through the 50th anniversary campaign, Sea Grant aims to share these stories such that they may lead to more research, more partnerships, and ultimately, more positive impacts for coastal communities.

To focus outreach messages of the 50th anniversary year, Sea Grant is organizing its outreach into monthly themes that each highlights an area of focus for the program. In March 2016, the First 50 Years will take a look back at the individuals and projects that have built the program as it is today. The Knauss fellowship, graduate education, “k to gray” education, and workforce development themes will all highlight a different aspect of Sea Grant’s education and training functions. Water resources, climate, and healthy coastal habitats are themes that will focus on Sea Grant’s work in sustaining and restoring healthy coastal ecosystems. The community resilience, sustainable development, aquaculture and fisheries, and coastal tourism themes will highlight how Sea Grant works to ensure resilient coastal communities and economies.

The year will end in March 2017 with a month of looking ahead to the next 50 years of Sea Grant and how the program might evolve to meet new challenges using its finely tuned approach of community engagement paired with focused and applied research.

Throughout the year, Sea Grant will share stories of positive impacts in local communities through web, social media, and print outlets. Special events will be hosted and presentations made to highlight the program’s impacts. The Sea Grant network, Sea Grant Association, Sea Grant Advisory Board, and the National Sea Grant Office are all participating in a coordinated and diverse approach to carrying out the goals of this campaign.

More information on the 50th anniversary campaign at:

Follow the campaign through social media: #SeaGrant50


North Carolina Sea Grant: Your link to research and resources for a healthier coast