Meet the teamUnderstanding and exploring the unique features of barrier islands and the impact of sea-level rise takes the knowledge of many people. That is why the Assateague Island National Seashore of the National Park Service spearheaded a special partnership with their resource managers and interpretation staff, educators, science communicators, and climate change science experts. This partnership supported a team that synthesized park information and climate change science to produce the content presented in this module. The educator/scientist team consisted of two secondary school science teachers from Utah and California, and two climate change scientists from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. With the help of science communication experts from the Integration and Application Network, education specialists from Horn Point Laboratory at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and the National Park Service, team members explored Assateague Island, interviewed park staff, talked with local teachers, and park visitors and resource users. They created synthetic visuals, and designed classroom and online activities focused on communicating how barrier islands will be impacted by sea-level rise.

Jane Hawkey is in her 8th year as a Science Communicator with UMCES IAN. She has worked on many National Park Service projects and created over 20 science communication products for individual parks from Maryland to Guam. For the 8 years prior to IAN, Jane worked on a variety of international oceanographic projects (nitrogen cycling, plankton abundance, harmful algae blooms, and remote sensing) with research scientists from the UMCES Horn Point Laboratory.

Heath Kelsey is Program Manager for the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) Integration and Application Network (IAN). Heath has collaborated with numerous organizations to prepare ecosystem health report cards for systems including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s Coastal Bays, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and other local waterways. Heath has been visiting Chincoteague and Assateague Island since he was a child in the 1970s.
Kate Bentsen is a Science Communicator with UMCES IAN, where she has worked on newsletters and reports for the National Park Service, Conservation International, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Kate graduated from Cornell University with her Bachelor of Science in natural resources.

Alexandra Fries is a Science Communicator who has joined UMCES IAN recently, coming from Conservation International. She graduated from University of North Carolina Wilmington with a Bachelor's in Marine Biology and has her Master's in Environmental Management from Duke University in Ecosystem Science and Conservation.

Gregory G. Domgaard hails from Farmington, Utah where he has taught 9th grade Earth Systems Science for the last twelve years. Gregory began his career with a B.S. Biology from University of Utah and chemistry minor. After teaching for a decade, Gregory enrolled and completed a Masters of Arts in Teacher Leadership and National Board Certification program through National University. Gregory is spending his 6 week summer developing lesson plans and webpages for Assateague Island National Seashore and with UMCES IAN in Cambridge, MD.

Scott Sperber is currently a science teacher at Sherman Oaks Center For Enriched Studies in Tarzana California. He has a bachelors degree in Physical Education as well and a concentration In Earth and Marine Sciences.He has participated in many teacher development workshops and has directed students in their studies of Marine Science. He has directed lessons and teacher education for UCLA as well as at state and national science conferences. He has been a two time Teacher at Sea for NOAA.

Laura Murray is a Research Professor at UMCES Horn Point Laboratory. Her expertise and research interests include seagrass and wetlands ecology, with a focus on the response of submersed aquatic vegetation to nutrient enrichment. As an educator, Murray’s primary goal has been to link scientific research with education. Her involvement in science education includes conducting professional development workshops for teachers and informal educators, providing research experiences for teachers, establishing research-based programs for K-12 students, and administrating programs that partner scientists, educators and students.

Marcus Griswold works in partnership with UMCES and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to develop new outreach programs and enact new laws and policies aimed at increasing state and local capacity to adapt to a changing climate. He completed his graduate work at the University of Florida with a focus on watershed management and landowner outreach.

Jeffrey Allenby recently graduated with his Master’s Degree in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University.  Working for a partnership between the UMCES  and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, he administers the CoastSmart Communities Initiative and helps coastal communities identify their vulnerability to coastal hazards, including sea-level rise, and adapt to them through changes to local regulations and land use planning.