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Transcript of Monmouth IGU Climate and Energy Roundtable Published in Environmental Law Reporter

an image of a flyer with the letter ELR in large font followed by the text The Enviromental Law ReporterAn edited transcript of the Climate and Energy Justice Roundtable from the Monmouth University Institute for Global Understanding’s (IGU) spring symposium has been published in the June edition of the Environmental Law Institute’s Environmental Law Reporter. The discussion was moderated by Rechnitz Family/UCI Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy Randall Abate, who also serves as director of the IGU. Panelists included University of Windsor (Canada) Faculty of Law Assistant Professor Patrícia Galvão Ferreira; Seoul National University (South Korea) School of Law Professor Jae-Hyup Lee; University of Bergen (Norway) Center for Climate and Energy Transformation Visiting Professor Esmeralda Colombo; and Hamad Bin Khalifa College of Law (Qatar) Associate Professor of Energy and Environmental Law Damilola S. Olawuyi.

Watch videos of this and other sessions from the three-day symposium.

With Pandemic Waning, Herrington Previews Updates to #BEachSAFEly Campaign

What it means to #BEachSAFEly is changing rapidly, and that’s good news. Urban Coast Institute (UCI) Associate Director Thomas Herrington, who serves as the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s (NJSGC) resilient communities and economies specialist, announced updates to the award-winning social media campaign at the State of the Shore media event, held May 27 at McLoone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park.

Now in its second year, #BEachSAFEly was developed by the New Jersey and New York Sea Grant programs at the height of the pandemic to build awareness of precautions that visitors should take while at the beach. The 2020 campaign featured nine bilingual (available in English and Spanish) illustrated messages, which stressed standard ocean hazard tips such as “Break the Grip of the Rip” as well as messages related to the pandemic such as, “Stay social, be distant”; “Don’t let your mask become marine debris!”; “Stay dry when waves are high”; and “Grab your sunscreen and sanitizer.”

The 16-week-long second season will include many of those scenes, though with adjustments to account for revised federal and state COVID-19 guidance. Look for new messages every Wednesday this summer on Facebook and Twitter, with a special campaign on Instagram in August.

“This year, you’ll notice that our illustrations won’t have masks on every person,” Herrington said. “Maybe one or two will have masks to remind people that until you are fully vaccinated, you should continue to abide by mask wearing and social distancing when you can’t be safe.”

This summer, NJSGC will build on the success of the virtual campaign by printing postcards and posters with the images and distributing them to beach communities. The UCI, the Jersey Shore Partnership and the Northeast Shore & Beach Preservation Association are providing support for the creation of the materials.

“I’m sure everyone is looking forward to a much more normal and enjoyable summer, with just some little reminder that we really haven’t beat this pandemic fully yet, but if we continue to do what we have been doing, we hope to have no masks on our characters by the end of the summer,” Herrington said.

Additional speakers at the event included New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, NJSGC Acting Director Peter Rowe and NJSGC Coastal Processes Specialist Jon Miller.

For more on the campaign, search the hashtag #BEachSAFEly on social media or check the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium website throughout the summer. The 2021 State of the Shore report can be viewed here.

Monmouth Alumni Weekend Beach Cleanup June 13

Help keep our shore clean by registering for a Monmouth University Alumni Beach Cleanup on Sunday, June 13, in Long Branch. The event is being hosted by the UCI in celebration of World Ocean Month and Monmouth Alumni Weekend. Show your Hawk pride and wear your Monmouth gear!

The cleanup will take place from 9-10 a.m. at the beaches near the University Bluffs student apartments. Volunteers can sign in at our table in front of University Bluffs, located at Brighton/Ocean Avenue near the boardwalk, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Cleanup Details

  • Garbage bags will be available. Volunteers may also choose to bring their own reusable buckets/receptacles.
  • Disposable gloves will not be supplied. To eliminate single-use plastics, we encourage volunteers to bring their own gardening gloves or other reusable gloves.
  • Participants should take appropriate social distancing measures and not attend if feeling ill.

Click here for a full schedule activities taking place on Alumni Weekend. For any questions, contact Kristin Waring at

NJCRC Comments on State’s Draft Climate Change Resilience Strategy

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Earth Day released a draft of the state’s first Climate Change Resilience Strategy outlining recommendations to guide state and local government efforts to protect vulnerable communities, infrastructure, businesses, and the environment from the devastating effects of climate change. The New Jersey Coastal Resilience Collaborative (NJCRC), a partnership of stakeholders and interested parties from all sectors that is co-chaired by UCI Director Tony MacDonald, submitted a document with its comments on the strategy to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) on May 21.

In the document’s introductory message, UCI Associate Director Thomas Herrington noted, “We applaud the thoughtfulness that has gone into the Climate Change Resilience Strategy and imbedded Coastal Resilience Plan and appreciate the [NJDEP Climate and Flood Resilience] Program’s consideration and integration of many of the comments the NJCRC provided in response to the original vision of the Strategy and Plan.” Work on the Coastal Resilience Plan element of the strategy was first launched in the October 2018 New Jersey Coastal Resilience Summit held at Monmouth University.

Click here to view the New Jersey Climate Change Resilience Strategy in its entirety or learn more about public engagement opportunities.

Eight Students Receive UCI Summer Research Support

What will the Biden administration’s “30 by 30” conservation initiative mean for ocean areas in the Mid-Atlantic? What can trace genetic materials floating in the water teach us about turtle populations in New Jersey’s coastal lakes? These are among the many questions that eight Monmouth University student researchers will explore this summer with the support of UCI Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars grants and research assistantships.

The Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars Program offers competitive grant funding for students and faculty mentors of all disciplines whose work furthers the goals and mission of the UCI. The program supports hands-on research projects that provide real world experience to students while helping make a positive impact in coastal communities. For the first time this year, a grant will support one participant in the Monmouth University Provost’s Summer Scholars Living and Learning Community, which enables students to live on campus while conducting their research. The Summer Scholars faculty coordinator is Endowed Associate Professor of Marine Science Jason Adolf of the Department of Biology and the UCI.

The research efforts listed below will kick off in June.


eDNA as a Tool for Surveying Turtles in New Jersey’s Coastal Lakes

Student: Delaney Mestey-Jones

Faculty Mentor: Megan Phifer-Rixey, UCI Marine Genetics Faculty Fellow

The student will test the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) as a tool for detecting the presence of turtles in coastal lakes. In addition, the student will help develop the approach for use in teaching labs for undergraduate and high school students.


The Effect Hurricanes Have on Sustainable Tourism in the Bahamas and New Jersey

Students: Catherine Melman-Kenny and Sabria Smith

Faculty Mentor: Ken Mitchell, Chair, Department of Political Science & Sociology

The researchers will analyze the experiences of New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy and the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian to determine how differences in policy, sustainable infrastructure, planning and protocols influenced the recoveries of their tourism industries.


Exploring Salt Tolerances of Lichens in Coastal Ecosystems

Student: Emily Vasquez (UCI/Provost Summer Scholar)

Faculty Mentor: Associate Professor Pedram Daneshgar, Department of Biology

This study will test the salt tolerance of lichens growing in areas by the ocean in order to make predictions of how climate change and coastal flooding may alter lichen abundance and ecosystems in the future. Lichens in the field will be studied and digitally mapped, and different types of lichens will be grown in a greenhouse and subjected to saltwater exposure tests.


Female Labor Force Participation and Care of Children in Coastal New Jersey

Student: James T. Allan

Faculty Mentors: Assistant Professor Katerine Ramirez, Department of Economics, Finance, and Real Estate; Assistant Professor Geoffrey Fouad, Department of History & Anthropology

Drawing on federal and state data, the project will probe whether commute times from daycare facilities affect the labor force participation and job choices of women in Jersey Shore communities, and whether those figures differ from their partners’ by marital status or number and age of children.


New Jersey Coastal Resilience Collaborative Policy Analyst

Student: Samantha Pawlik (Research Assistant)

Faculty Mentor: UCI Associate Director Thomas Herrington and Director Tony MacDonald

The New Jersey Coastal Resilience Collaborative (NJCRC) is a partnership of stakeholders and interested parties from all sectors, including universities, nonprofit and for-profit groups, national estuary programs and reserves, advocacy organizations, state agencies and regional planning groups, established to foster sustainable and resilient coastal communities and ecosystems by generating informed action. The student will review present and proposed changes to the New Jersey coastal zone land use management rules, prepare a brief on the impact of the proposed rules, and aid the NJCRC in preparing recommended changes to the proposed rules for consideration by the state.


The “30 by 30” Initiative: Confronting the Threats of Biodiversity Loss and Climate Change 

Student: Kyra Velock (Research Assistant)

Faculty Mentor: Randall S. Abate, Rechnitz Family/UCI Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy

The “30 by 30” initiative (also called the America the Beautiful initiative) seeks to conserve and protect 30% of U.S. land and ocean areas by the year 2030. The student will focus primarily on ocean protection, presenting information on the political and economic challenges, and environmental benefits, associated with reaching this goal, and legal tools that will be essential for achieving it such as marine spatial planning and marine protected areas.


A Win-Win for Offshore Wind Energy in the Mid-Atlantic: Science and Policy Options to Mitigate Harm and Maximize Benefits to Marine Species and Biodiversity

Student: Riya Ajmera

Faculty Mentor: Randall S. Abate, Rechnitz Family/UCI Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy

The student will conduct research and interview experts involved in the Mid-Atlantic offshore wind regulatory landscape, including representatives from state and regional regulatory bodies, the offshore wind industry, environmental groups, marine scientists, the commercial fishing industry, and Native American leaders. The student will prepare a white paper examining science-based policy options that advance a “win-win” goal of promoting offshore wind development in a way that enhances protection of the marine environment through improved data and management, including marine protected areas and other area-based management tools. The paper will address the nature and scope of risks to the Mid-Atlantic marine environment and propose possible solutions to mitigate harm to marine species and promote marine biodiversity.


Fall Funding Opportunities

Monmouth University students and faculty are invited to apply now for fall Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars funding opportunities. Fall grants available include:

  • Faculty Enrichment Grants for the enhancement of existing curriculum, new curriculum development, research and scholarship, and team-teaching opportunities. Proposals will be accepted through Aug. 13, 2021.
  • Mini-Grants are also available to faculty and students for conference fees, symposia, guest speaker honoraria, equipment and supplies, and other needs to be determined on a case-by-case-basis. Applications can be submitted at any time and are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Those interested may apply via the UCI Funding Opportunities page on the MyMU Portal (Monmouth University sign-in credentials required). For more information, contact UCI Associate Director Thomas Herrington at

These opportunities have been made possible through the generous support of many corporate and private donors. If you would like to make a tax-deductible gift to the UCI, please use our Give a Gift Now form.

Meet the Mid-Atlantic’s Organizers of Black in Marine Science

What began as a Twitter thread has grown into an influential nonprofit dedicated to making the marine science field more diverse. Click here to read UCI Communication Director Karl Vilacoba’s latest MARCO Ocean Data Portal “Ocean Stories” feature profiling three Mid-Atlantic women at the core of Black in Marine Science’s success – Symone Barkley of the National Aquarium, Dr. Jeanette Davis of NOAA, and Dr. Camille Gaynus of UPenn. (Non-mobile device recommended for best view of scrolling data maps.)

Register for June 29 Tutorial on Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal

Are you a newcomer to the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal interested in a 101 session or a returning user who could use a refresher course? Then this webinar is for you!

Join UCI Communications Director and Portal Project Manager Karl Vilacoba on Tuesday, June 29, from 11 a.m. to noon for a guided tour of the Portal’s data, tools and features. Come with your list of questions and learn how to map the Mid-Atlantic in this interactive session.

This webinar is free, open to the public and will be provided via Zoom.

Watch: Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum Poster Session

UCI Communications Director Karl Vilacoba moderated a virtual poster session at the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum on May 5 featuring student research on topics relevant to ocean science, policy and socioeconomics in the region. Visit the poster session page containing poster files, abstracts and author information. You can also visit the Forum home page to view videos of other sessions from the four-day event.

Jones, McClary and Ohleth Join UCI Advisory Committee

The Urban Coast Institute (UCI) Advisory Committee recently welcomed three new members who collectively hold over 50 years of experience in science and ocean policy fields: Kanesha Jones, director of global quality management for Amneal Pharmaceuticals; Dr. Marion McClary, professor of biology and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU); and Kris Ohleth, director of the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind, housed at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. Scroll below to read biographies for each member.

Kanesha Jones

Kanesha Jones has over 17 years of experience driving quality improvement, continuous improvement, and operational excellence in the pharmaceutical industry. She is a graduate of the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) and received her bachelor of science degree in biology with a concentration in molecular cell physiology from Monmouth University.

Jones currently serves as the first vice president of the Central Jersey Club of The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. (NANBPWC) and serves as the director of the club’s community programming. Additionally, she serves as the club’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Committee chairperson. The overall goal of the club’s focus on STEAM initiatives is to expose minority and underrepresented students to educational and mentoring opportunities, in hopes of increasing diversity and inclusion in STEAM-related professions. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for Hope Academy Charter School, which is a K-8 charter school located in Asbury Park, New Jersey; and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium.

Dr. Marion McClary

Dr. Marion McClary received his B.S. in marine science from Richard Stockton State College of New Jersey, now Stockton University, in 1990 and received his Ph.D. in zoology from Duke University in 1997. Dr. McClary serves on the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation Environmental Advisory Board, the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions Board of Trustees, and the Hackensack River Greenway Advisory Board. He is also chair of the Faculty Athletics Representatives (FARs) of the North East Conference (NEC) and is a member of the NCAA Division I Committee on Academics.

At FDU, Dr. McClary is the NCAA Division I Faculty Athletics Representative and is the coordinator of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), which is a grant that is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with the purpose of doubling the number of minorities who earn B.S. degrees in STEM. Dr. McClary is a behavioral/physiological ecologist. He is interested in how behavior and physiology influence ecology and how the environment influences behavior, physiology, and ecology.

Kris Ohleth

Kris Ohleth has worked in the offshore wind industry for over 15 years, since the days of the industry’s inception in the U.S. Holding senior positions with offshore wind developers, NGOs, and state agencies, she has gained critical insights into the policy and regulations that shape offshore wind activities at the state, regional, and federal levels. She has extensive experience working with offshore wind stakeholders and has expert knowledge of such engagements, having worked on offshore wind and ocean policy issues at all levels.

In her current role as the director of the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind, she leads the organization on to develop strategies to support the responsible and sustainable development of the offshore wind industry. Originally from New Jersey, she is a Rutgers graduate, has a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island, and currently lives in Morris County, New Jersey, with her husband and retired-racing greyhounds.

Read the 2020 UCI Annual Report

At a time when so many aspects of the traditional campus experience and daily life were upended by the pandemic, the Urban Coast Institute (UCI) continued to provide students access to invaluable opportunities for research, collaboration and engagement, while making important impacts in coastal communities. We’re pleased to present our 2020 Annual Report, which offers a snapshot of the UCI’s accomplishments throughout the unique and challenging year.

Use the links below to view or download a PDF version of the publication or view it in a digital flipbook format. Printed copies of the report are available upon request by emailing

Read the Report