North Carolina Sea Grant
News Releases

News Releases

July 10, 2017 | Katie Mosher


Katie Mosher,, 919-515-9069

North Carolina Sea Grant recently received two honors from the national APEX Award for Publication Excellence.

The Holiday 2016 issue of Coastwatch magazine was recognized in the Green Magazines, Journals, and Tabloids category. The story map of North Carolina Oysters: A Brief History of the Bivalve was selected in the Green Electronic Media category. Both received Awards of Excellence.

Susan White, Sea Grant executive director, is especially pleased that the projects reflect outreach products from both the communications and extension teams. “The honors reflect the continued strength of Coastwatch as our flagship publication, as well as the new style of story maps to explain the role of oysters in coastal ecosystems and economies.”


2015 Holiday Issue, Coastwatch Magazine

Published five times a year, Coastwatch contains articles — written by communications and extension staff, freelance writers and funded researchers — on topics that highlight Sea Grant’s efforts and those of our state, local and national partners toward a healthier North Carolina coast. The publication also offers opportunities for new science writers to gain experience writing for general audiences.

“We selected this issue because it highlights the wide range of Sea Grant’s involvement on topics related to the environment and natural resources along North Carolina’s coast. The stories cover our organization’s work with students in kindergarten through graduate school, victims of Hurricane Matthew and recovery efforts, oyster growers and researchers, and the humble (and tasty) blue fish,” explains E-Ching Lee, managing editor.

The communications team also includes Diana Hackenburg, writer/editor; Sandra Harris, distribution manager; and Katie Mosher, communications director. Other contributors to the winning issue included researcher Kathryn Stevenson; graduate students Danielle Lawson and Kathleen Onorevole; citizen scientist Korin Gagnon; former Sea Grant communications interns Janna Sasser, Emily White and Cynthia Sharpe; and Mariner’s Menu blogger Vanda Lewis. The magazine is designed by Linda Noble.

To learn more about Coastwatch magazine and/or to read select articles, go to

NC Oyster Story Map

Native to North Carolina, the eastern oyster has a storied history — and bright future — spanning both time and space. To help tell this saga, Jane Harrison, Sea Grant’s coastal economist, collaborated with geospatial analyst Jenny Holder to create a glimpse into the oyster’s world.

Unlike a traditional paper map, the story map combines spatial information with text, pictures and multimedia through an online, interactive platform. This story map is available at

The Story of North Carolina Oysters interactive map

“The initial audience for the story map was broad. The interactive, online education tool was intended for any individual interested in learning more about oyster restoration and aquaculture. In particular, it may be of interest to aspiring oyster growers, educators and policy makers,” Harrison explains. “This summer, I am sharing it with science and agriculture high-school teachers who are developing marine aquaculture lesson plans. It is a great learning tool for students who have no prior knowledge of oyster history, ecology, and efforts toward restoration and cultivation.”

The design draws users into the product but allows them to experience the map as a whole, or in parts as their time allows. The map, created using ArcGIS Online, is a living document that can be easily updated to reflect the latest information, such as current harvests and newly opened oyster-related businesses.

The story map lives online, easily accessible on the Sea Grant website. This format allows for easy sharing, especially through social media, where it has received high engagement rates.

Also, Hackenburg detailed the making of the map and overall goals of the project in an article for Coastwatch magazine.

At least three other Sea Grant programs from across the country also are among the APEX winners. For a complete list, visit


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

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