Marine Debris Training workshop breakouts

Utilizing funds offered through the National Sea Grant Office’s Conferences and Workshops Competition, PA Sea Grant partnered with other members of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network to host a Marine Debris Training for Great Lakes Education and Outreach Staff on April 7 and 8 at the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, MI. The group began work on crafting a basin-wide outreach program that will advance knowledge about marine debris and encourage action to address the problems. 

Participants were a mix of Sea Grant Staff from nine different states, researchers from six universities, municipal employees, regional experts from both governmental and non-governmental organizations, and even a high school Lego League team. 

The goals of this training were to:

·         Educate Sea Grant staff on the issue of marine debris

·         Determine which audiences would be the focus of initial extension and outreach efforts

·         Flesh out what that extension and outreach effort might look like

·         Determine who would do what between now and the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network  meeting in June of 2017 

The need for additional funding to determine impacts of marine debris on the environment, wildlife and potentially human health was a main theme in the SWOT activity and resulting large group discussion. The research shared on day one made it clear that microplastics and plastic fibers are common in water and sediment and plastic fibers are ubiquitous in the air as well. There is a need to better understand the implications of this presence. A work group is forming to develop a one-pager that will be shared with individual program leaders, the network of Great Lakes Sea Grant program leaders and staff from the National Sea Grant Office to make a case for potential funding.

Marti Martz showing how much trash was saved during Microplastics workshop
Marti Martz, PASG, showing how little trash was produced during the workshop by using reusable dishes, cups, and silverware instead of one use plastics

Workshop Presentations: 

Florida Microplastic Awareness Project
Dr. Maia McGuire, Florida Sea Grant 

Great Lakes Land-based Marine Debris Action Plan 

Sarah Lowe, Great Lakes Regional Coordinator, NOAA 

Great Lakes Plastics Pollution
Dr. Sherri Mason, State University of New York at Fredonia

I Ain't Afraid of No Ghost- Ghost Nets in Lake Superior
Titus Seilheimer, Fisheries Specialist, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute 

Using Clean Marina Programs to Expand Marine Debris Education in Your State
Sarah Orlando, Ohio Clean Marinas Program Manager, Ohio Sea Grant 



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