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Kat Anderson, (401) 874-6009

Journalists and Informal Science Educators to Attend
Metcalf Institute Science Seminar in Louisiana

Seminar to Focus on Impacts of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Also see: Participant Bios

NARRAGANSETT, RI – March 30, 2011 – The Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting will welcome 23 participants to the science seminar Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, April 6-8, in Cocodrie, Louisiana. The seminar, to be held at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium DeFelice Marine Center, will explore the emerging science of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as its one-year anniversary approaches.

University of Rhode Island's Metcalf Institute, Louisiana State University, and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) have partnered to organize this 2.5-day seminar, made possible by a Rapid Response grant through the National Science Foundation's Informal Science Education program. In response to the need for clear, accurate and sustained coverage of the spill's impacts, the seminar will help scientists, journalists and informal science educators understand and better communicate the impacts and research efforts relating to the oil spill.

Seminar participants will learn about Gulf of Mexico oil spill research through lectures, interactive discussions, and a field trip on the LUMCON research vessel Acadiana, where participants will gain hands-on knowledge of oceanographic research techniques.

Journalists participating in the seminar are: Benjamin Alexander-Bloch, reporter at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, LA; David Biello, associate editor for environment and energy for Scientific American; Susan Buchanan, a freelance journalist from New Orleans; Nikki Buskey, a reporter at The Courier in Houma, LA; Rosa Flores Dee, a news reporter for WDSU-TV (NBC affiliate) in New Orleans; Alexa Elliott, a producer for PBS at WPBT2 in Miami, FL; Melissa Gaskill, a freelance journalist from Austin, TX; Jim W. Harper, columnist for The Biscayne Times in Miami; Dorothy Kendrick of Louisiana Public Broadcasting in New Orleans, LA; Adam Lau, a staff photojournalist at The Advocate in Baton Rouge, LA; Molly Peterson, an environment and energy reporter for Southern California Public Radio in Los Angeles; John Upton, a reporter for The Bay Citizen covering news in San Francisco; and Amy Wold, a reporter with The Advocate in Baton Rouge.

Informal science educators participating in the seminar are: Nicole Cotten of LUMCON in Chauvin, LA; Shari Ellis, project director for the Center for Informal Science Education at the Florida Museum in Gainesville, FL; Jarrett Grimm, a community education specialist at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Miranda Kerr, a science educator at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago; Kathy Kowalchick, an environmental educator at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, SC; Kevin Kurtz, an environmental educator and children’s book author from Mt. Pleasant, SC; Micah Maner, an informal science educator at McWane Science Center in Birmingham, AL; Caitlin Reilly, an extension associate for the Louisiana State University AgCenter; Summer Rohe, a marine education specialist with the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, MS; Chance Sanford, director of education at the Houston Zoo in Houston, TX; Cathy Williamson, an education coordinator at Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center in Shreveport, LA; and Sarah Wilson, an ocean education manager with National Geographic Society in Washington, DC.

Complete bios of seminar participants and program details are available online at

About Louisiana State University School of the Coast & Environment
Louisiana State University's School of the Coast & Environment provides knowledge, technology and human resources for successful management of natural resources and resolution of environmental issues important to Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico region and comparable areas throughout the nation and the world. For more information, go to

The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium supports Louisiana through essential research, education of all levels of society, and support for other institutions or individuals who seek similar goals. The LUMCON Marine Center is located in an expansive wetland at the upper end of Terrebonne Bay and between the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers. The faculty and staff conduct research on coastal ecosystems, maintain an extensive education program at the graduate, undergraduate, K-12 and public levels, and serves as a facility with laboratories, dormitories and vessels. (985)-851-2900,,

About Metcalf Institute
The Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, based at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, was established in 1997 with funding from three media foundations, the Belo Corporation, the Providence Journal Charitable Foundation and the Philip L. Graham Fund, and from the Telaka Foundation. It is named for the late Michael P. Metcalf, a visionary in journalism and publisher of The Providence Journal Bulletin from 1979-1987. In addition to providing science training for reporters and editors, Metcalf Institute administers The Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment. For more information, contact Metcalf Institute at 401-874-6211 or visit us online at

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March 30, 2011 [Updated April 15, 2011]