Skip to main content

NC Coastal Federation Honors Mirabilio


Katie Mosher, 919-515-9069,

Posted Friday, July 31, 2015

People talking on a boat
The N.C. Coastal Federation is recognizing North Carolina Sea Grant fisheries specialist Sara Mirabilio, left, for her devotion to the coast and her enthusiastic and inspired leadership on coastal restoration initiatives. Photo by Sara Hallas/N.C. Coastal Federation

The North Carolina Coastal Federation is honoring Sara Mirabilio, North Carolina Sea Grant fisheries specialist, with a Pelican Award at a ceremony in New Bern tonight.

“Sara is an asset to North Carolina’s coastal communities and Sea Grant’s partners. She continually goes above the call of duty to ensure that local projects are carried out with the utmost professionalism, scientific rigor and community engagement,” says Erin Fleckstein, the federation’s coastal scientist and manager of the northeast regional office. “She has helped us with everything from shoreline cleanups and volunteer coordination, to data collection and reporting. We are forever grateful for her help and support.”

Based at the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute in Skyco on Roanoke Island, Mirabilio was a Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant Office.

In 2011, Mirabilio received the Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award Program’s Natural Resources Scientist of the Year Award for her research to test a modified turtle excluder device in the summer flounder winter ocean trawl fishery.

She holds a master’s degree in marine science from the College of William and Mary’s School of Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

“Sara has that unique blend of rigorous scientific background and collaborative skills to build teams and really make things happen. She is a great example of our extension efforts,” notes Jack Thigpen, Sea Grant extension director.

The Pelican Awards, given annually, recognize the work of people, businesses, nonprofit groups, local and state governments, and educators to improve coastal environmental quality in North Carolina.

Patti Fowler received a Lifetime Achievement award for her efforts to protect and restore water quality and fisheries in North Carolina. She heads the Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.

“These awards recognize the unique innovations, expertise, risks and achievements of those who have made an indelible mark on our coast and whose work helps the federation reach our goal of a healthy and productive coast,” explains Todd Miller, federation executive director.

The awards were named for the brown pelican, which was named a federally endangered species in 1970 but was removed from the listing in 1985 after the pesticide known as DDT was banned.

For a list of this year’s 13 recipients, go to


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