Step aboard the R/V Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe as Urban Coast Institute Marine Scientist Jim Nickels, Monmouth University student Bryce McCall, and Rutgers University scientists Scott Glenn and Travis Miles deploy a pair of U.S Navy gliders off the New Jersey coast. The gliders’ mission was to cruise the New York Bight during the hurricane season, gathering data on the interactions between water conditions and storms, with the ultimate goal of improving storm modeling.
Additional project partners include the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS), the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The Monmouth University Polling Institute and Urban Coast Institute (UCI) hosted “Marine Plastics: Law, Science and Action” at the Woods Theatre on Oct. 2. The event assembled experts from the legal, scientific, and grassroots activism communities to discuss plastics and microplastics in the marine environment, with a focus on challenges and potential solutions for New Jersey. The panel discussion featured Prof. Susan Faraday, of the University of New England; Prof. Keith Cooper, Rutgers University; Clean Ocean Action Executive Director Cindy Zipf; and Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray, who served as moderator. UCI Director Tony MacDonald delivered introductory remarks.
The Urban Coast Institute (UCI) will host its 15th annual Future of the Ocean Symposium and Champion of the Ocean Awards Luncheon on Oct. 22 at the historic Great Hall at Shadow Lawn. With a theme of “An Ocean for All: Ecosystems, Economies & People,” the symposium, which is free and open to the public, will gather nationally recognized experts to share insights on the future use and conservation of our oceans, including how science and technology can inform our choices.
Monmouth University President Emeritus and UCI Ocean Policy Fellow Paul G. Gaffney II will moderate the panel discussion, which will present perspectives from the government, ports/maritime, offshore wind, ocean sciences and marine conservation communities. Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet, deputy administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will deliver plenary remarks.
The panel will include Bradley Campbell, president of the Conservation Law Foundation and former New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection commissioner; David Hang, president of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind; Bethann Rooney, deputy director of the Port Department at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and Scott Glenn, distinguished professor in the Rutgers University Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences and co-director of the Center for Ocean Observing Leadership.
“The U.S. and New Jersey’s ocean economy, ranging from commercial fishing to recreational boating to travel and tourism, depends on clean water and healthy ecosystems. Many now find themselves competing for space with new and expanding industries such as offshore wind and shipping,” UCI Director Tony MacDonald said. “At the same time, ecosystem changes, including ocean warming and shifting marine life habitats, are forcing those who make a living at sea to change the way they’ve done their work for generations. Through collaborative research and data sharing, we can reduce conflicts and ensure those whose livelihoods depend on a healthy ocean thrive in the future.”
The symposium will run from 10-11:45 a.m.
Following the symposium, the UCI will host its Champion of the Ocean Awards Luncheon from noon to 2 p.m. At the luncheon, the UCI will present its National Champion of the Ocean Award to Gallaudet, the Regional Champion of the Ocean Award to Campbell, and the State, Coastal and Ocean Leadership Award to Glenn.
“We congratulate our latest class of Champions of the Ocean – a prestigious group that counts Sylvia Earle, Robert Ballard, Jean-Michael Cousteau and Leon Panetta among its members,” Monmouth University President Patrick Leahy said. “It is always a great opportunity to bring these leaders to campus, where they can engage our students and the community in a dialogue on the most pressing public policy and environmental issues of our time.”
Tickets are required for the luncheon, with proceeds supporting Monmouth University student research activities through the UCI Scholars Program.
For more event details, or to purchase luncheon tickets or sponsorships online, visit monmouth.edu/uci. Additional questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or (732) 263-5662.
Randall S. Abate, professor in the Department of Political Science and Sociology and Rechnitz Family/Urban Coast Institute Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy, delivered the first of this year’s endowed chairs lecture series entitled, “Climate Change and the Voiceless: Protecting Future Generations, Wildlife, and Natural Resources.”
The lecture, sponsored by the Monmouth University Council of Endowed Chairs, gets its name directly from Abate’s new book set to be published next month by Cambridge University Press, and explores how the law, through the context of climate change, can evolve to protect the interests of three seemingly unrelated groups, which Abate refers to collectively as “the voiceless.”
The Monmouth University School of Science and Rumson kicked off the Two River Seminar Series with “Our Watershed as a Living Laboratory” on Sept. 26. Community members joined School of Science and Urban Coast Institute faculty and students for an interactive evening discussion of historic and emerging research questions centered on the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers.
Dr. Jason Adolf, endowed professor of marine science, stressed that “hands-on science is absolutely crucial for emerging scientists,” such as the students from the university and local schools who are now researching the rivers. Throughout the evening, the panelists detailed some of Monmouth’s student and faculty efforts to study the intricacies of the area’s waterways.
Adolf and fellow speakers John Tiedemann, assistant dean of the School of Science, and Thomas Herrington, UCI associate director, noted that the university is a frequent research collaborator with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the federal government, NGOs and other organizations with an interest in the watershed’s health. During the question and answer session, residents shed light on potential new research topics for the upcoming summer. See additional photos from the evening.
The Two River Seminar Series resumes on Oct. 24 with “Rivers Alive: Wildlife Habitats of the Two River System,” featuring three speakers from the School of Science’s Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy Program. Scheduled speakers and topics include: Dr. Pedram Daneshgar, on wetlands and shallow water habitats; Dr. Keith Dunton, on fishery resources; and Dr. Sean Sterrett, on reptiles and amphibians.
The event will be held at Bingham Hall, located at 40 Bingham Ave. in Rumson. There is no cost to attend.
The Two River Seminar Series is part of a broader educational collaboration between Rumson and Monmouth. Plans are underway to develop a Monmouth Marine and Environmental Field Station on municipal property located behind Borough Hall on the Navesink River. With an array of classrooms, laboratories and meeting spaces, the field station will provide a waterfront location for educational programs and facilitate research opportunities for Monmouth University students, alongside K-12 students from the Rumson School District and surrounding communities.
Most New Jerseyans initially support a single-use plastic bag ban, but many back away from that support when considering the impact on consumer shopping habits, according to a Monmouth University Poll conducted in partnership with the Urban Coast Institute (UCI). The vast majority of Garden State residents say that ocean pollution caused by plastics is a serious problem, but few have heard much about the issue of microplastics in the environment.
Nearly 2-in-3 New Jerseyans (65%) claim to support a ban on single use plastic bags, while 29% are opposed. Just over half (52%) also say they support a ban on plastic straws, with 44% of state residents opposing this. However, support for a plastic bag ban appears to be less absolute when residents are presented with specific ways this could be handled. When given a number of options, just 31% want a complete ban on single use plastic bags, while 27% say that customers should pay a small fee if they want a plastic bag when shopping. Another 39% of state residents feel that stores should continue to have the option to give away plastic bags for free. Read the full results of the poll.
The poll will be the subject of further discussion at Marine Plastics: Law, Science and Action, co-hosted by the Polling Institute and UCI at the university’s Lauren K. Woods Theatre on Oct. 2. The event is free and open to the public.
Rechnitz Family UCI Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy Randall S. Abate drafted an article in the summer 2019 issue of the George Washington Journal of Energy and Environmental Law, which was published in September. The article, “Atmospheric Trust Litigation: Foundation for a Constitutional Right to a Stable Climate System?,” analyzes the viability of the Juliana v. United States case, the world-famous climate justice case pending in federal court that involves several youth plaintiffs from around the nation seeking to compel the federal government to regulate climate change.
The summer 2019 issue of the journal also features articles from nationally recognized environmental law professors from Lewis and Clark Law School and Florida State College of Law, two of the nation’s top environmental law programs.
Monmouth University students can apply for a number of paid positions conducting door-to-door surveys for select coastal towns in the Raritan Bay area and Monmouth County through the Institute for Sustainable Cities (ISC) at Hunter College and Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN). The surveys will pertain to community and household coastal adaptation to sea-level rise, coastal storms, and nuisance flooding along with local development trends. The survey aims to determine how the perception of future sea level rise is influencing coastal homeowners’ decision-making and gauge their needs for further information pertaining to flood mitigation, including what local and state municipalities can do to propagate and assist local resiliency efforts. The desired outcome is to figure out the decision frames that households are using to address questions of increasing climate risk along with their risk tolerance to differing levels of flooding and what metrics they use to measure risk.
Applicants must be currently enrolled at Monmouth University. Familiarity with survey methods and techniques would be beneficial but not necessary. A valid drivers license and access to a vehicle also would be beneficial. To apply, email a résumé to UCI Associate Director Tom Herrington at email@example.com.
Nearing Anniversary of Sandy, Residents Invited to Post their Stories to Gallery Wall
With the seventh anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaching, a new exhibition at Monmouth University captures the destructive force of the storm and the mounting threats of climate change and sea level rise through abstract and participatory works of art. Free and open to the public, the exhibition encourages residents who were impacted by Sandy to contribute to the installation by sharing their memories on a special wall adorned with satellite imagery of the storm.
“Just Beachy/After Sandy,” featuring the work of Monmouth University Department of Art and Design Professor Karen Bright and Assistant Professor of Communication Amanda Stojanov, can be viewed through Dec. 9 at the DiMattio Gallery, located in Rechnitz Hall. Some of the exhibition’s highlights include:
The Drying Station: Nearly a century of scientific data for natural phenomena such as high tide levels, wave heights and wind speeds on the Jersey Shore are interpreted by Bright in the form of beach towel designs. The towel panels hang in an arrangement that allows visitors to walk among and between them.
9 Feet High: Those who endured Sandy can “erase” the storm by covering up this wall of NASA satellite images with their hand-written stories. The colorful prints were designed by Bright with production assistance by Stojanov.
The Climate Shelter: Visitors can step into a personal-sized, geodesic-domed shelter to hear and view a digital media interpretation, “Hurricane,” created by Stojanov. The outside is decorated with prints and paintings by Bright – representing a world turned inside out – requiring a new way of thinking about climate and the effects of global warming.
The Transformer: At over 10 feet high, this information graphic in the form of a sculpture visualizes the massive number of housing units that were lost in New Jersey and New York as a result of Sandy. Bright’s sculpture is composed of stacked tree rounds topped by two bird houses fashioned to look like green Monopoly game houses, which are sized to mathematically represent the number of lost homes. A sandbox at its base offers visitors a chance to rake or bury a small relic from their Sandy experience, or just provide a moment of release.
“The driving intent for ‘Just Beachy/After Sandy’ is to reach out to people through action,” Bright said. “The installation offers visitors the chance to share their personal stories and release them to the wall, contemplate while raking or digging sand, hear and view a media interpretation of Sandy while sitting in a quite space, and learn while walking through a maze of hanging panels. The hope is that by bringing the community together, people will find personal relief through shared experience.”
Two complementary exhibitions led by Bright will also debut on Sept. 20. “Karen Bright―Throughline,” also at the DiMattio Gallery, features four decades of the artist’s works centered on the environment as well as prevalent social and cultural issues such as the #MeToo movement and politics. ”A Sense of Place in Contemporary Encaustic,” at the neighboring Ice House Gallery, features 24 artists’ works that provide interpretations of space, ranging from serene landscapes to the abstract.
The exhibitions are open for public viewing during standard gallery hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.
The exhibitions are also part of the Monmouth University Center for the Arts 2019-2020 season. “Just Beachy/After Sandy” was funded in part by the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute. For more information, visit www.monmouth.edu/mca.
The Monmouth University Polling Institute and Urban Coast Institute will co-host Marine Plastics: Law, Science and Action at the university’s Lauren K. Woods Theatre on Oct. 2. The event is free and open to the public.
This panel discussion will feature experts from the legal, scientific, and grassroots activism communities to discuss plastics and microplastics in the marine environment, with a focus on challenges and potential solutions for New Jersey. Topics will include an assessment of the nature and degree of risks posed to humans from microplastics in seafood and shellfish, and from plastics such as straws and bags in the marine environment. The panel will evaluate the advantages and limitations of potential responses to this crisis including bans, other legislative initiatives, market mechanisms, and education and activism.
The Polling Institute conducted a New Jersey poll in September that gathered data on the public’s awareness of and degree of concern for the threats that plastics and microplastics pose to New Jersey’s marine environment. Patrick Murray, director of the Polling Institute, will moderate a discussion that also responds to the results of this poll. See the flyer below for more details.