May 11, 2011

Join Us in Welcoming Our New Florida Sea Grant Marine Agent!!!

For over 40 years, Earth Day has inspired and mobilized individuals and organizations worldwide to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability. As we approach this annual benchmark, I feel fortunate to have made a career of studying, interacting with, and teaching about Florida’s marine environment for the past 12 years. I am pleased to introduce myself –Libby Carnahan, the Pinellas County Sea Grant Extension agent housed at Weedon Island Preserve in north Saint Petersburg.

I began my career as a marine science educator, teaching school groups about coral reefs, mangrove ecology, and the nearshore sponge and seagrass habitats at Newfound Harbor Marine Institute (NHMI) in the Florida Keys. At NHMI, I gained experience as a science teacher, snorkel instructor, boat captain, and lifeguard and later transferred that knowledge to educate tourists about coral reef ecosystems aboard a glassbottom boat. As a graduate student, I analyzed the relationship between foraminiferal assemblages (microscopic shelled organisms) and heavy metal concentrations in Biscayne Bay, Florida.

For the past 5 years, I have been happy to work in my own backyard as a field biologist for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserves. With 4 aquatic preserves in Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pinellas County, I became familiar with the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. I volunteer as the Education Officer and divemaster with TRUE Dive Team, a local non-profit youth organization that emphasizes good citizenship and stewardship of our environment

In my new position, I will plan, develop, and implement comprehensive marine educational programs that focus on marine industries, fisheries, and habitat issues, including coastal hazards and climate change issues that impact marine and coastal areas predominantly in Pinellas County. As a member of the Pinellas County Extension Urban Sustainability Team, I will work closely with community leaders and decision-makers on sustainable and resilient community planning and development.

Visit Weedon Island and explore state of the art exhibits during our operating hours Thursday through Saturday 9am-4pm, or come enjoy our hiking trails, boardwalks, and paddling trails during daylight hours any day of the week.

I look forward to meeting each and every one of you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Libby Carnahan
M.S. Marine Science, University of South Florida, FL
B.S. Biology, Truman State University, MO

Pinellas County Sea Grant Extension Agent
1800 Weedon Drive NE
Saint Petersburg, FL 33702
(727) 453-6515

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