I know this is a bit cliche to say, but my goodness, time is moving by fast! I have already completed the 2nd week of my 10 week internship and I feel like I just started.
This week has been filled with lots of emails, phone calls, stacks of policy documents, and meetings. I realized mid-week that I am in love with the field I am working towards right now. Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) is cutting-edge for both the science and policy realms. It is also a field that calls for interdisciplinary work and requires individuals to be literate in both fields. Marine science and policy are my two passions that I have not been able to decide between; CMSP unites both. I am already starting to develop graduate school ideas for how I could contribute to this field with my future PhD.
The most interesting part of this week was sitting in on a webcast for a national policy meeting for CMSP. On Tuesday I got up at the crack ‘o’ dawn to sit in on the meeting at 6 am. To provide some very brief background, in July of last year, Obama created 9 new ocean policy priorities for the United States. Developing CMSP for coastal regions and the territorial seas of the United States was one of them. CMSP is a process where map layers of the ocean (topography, biology, oceanography) are combined with the human needs for marine resources. Spatial and decision-making computer programs map these together to identify areas of high priority (EX: finding areas of high conflicting interests, or seeking areas that are biologically most vulnerable). The national meeting that I watched online was designed to receive input from stakeholders (people who have a vested interest in the ocean) on the CMSP process laid out by the National Ocean Council. It was also a venue to help inform stakeholders about the CMSP process and the vision behind making it a national priority. While listening to agency heads was a bit boring in the beginning, I found the workshop to be very informative and engaging to listen in on.
If you are curious for more detail into what CMSP is about, I will be writing a more lengthy blog description on my personal blog AnnaRose and the Sea later today. Also if you are interested in some links to national policy visit the White House’s National Ocean Council website for more information.