Making Waves With Social Science
NOAA Conference on Social Science for Coastal Decision Making
Dr. Erin Seekamp brought a team of NC State University graduate student and postdoctoral researchers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Social Coast Forum, held at the historic Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. This year’s Forum theme, “making waves with social science,” appropriately described the research and application sessions, which were focused on innovative and effective approaches to understanding human dimensions of coastal management.
Matthew Jurjonas (PhD student) presented his research exploring climate change resiliency in rural coastal communities on the Albemarle Pamlico Peninsula of North Carolina. Matt’s work seeks to identify coastal community’s perceptions of risk and resilience in relation to sea level rise and salt water intrusion, which can impact local livelihoods (revolving around agriculture, logging, commercial fishing, and wildlife tourism). Matt’s presentation included the results of a first phase of focus groups held with Albemarle Pamlico Peninsula community members. This research is part of an interdisciplinary project (Socio-ecological solutions to the salinization of Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula: An interdisciplinary assessment of land and water resources and community climate readiness) funded by the College of Natural Resources, NC State University and awarded to Erin Seekamp, Ryan Smith, Sudipta Dasmohapatra, Chris Moorman, and Jordan Smith.
Malorey Henderson (MS student), in her first professional presentation appearance, shared her work from Cape Lookout National Seashore. Malorey’s research focuses on visitor perceptions of cultural resource vulnerability at Cape Lookout National Seashore. She shared her experience engaging tourists at Lookout Village to capture the importance of the local history and condition of cultural resources to visitors’ experiences touring the historic structures and lighthouse. This research is part of a project (Informing plans for managing resources of Cape Lookout National Seashore under projected climate change, sea level rise, and associated impacts) funded by the National Parks Service, Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit awarded to Erin Seekamp and Jordan Smith.
Sandra Fatorić (postdoctoral researcher) is also working on a project at Cape Lookout National Seashore. Sandra described how they are applying structured decision making (SDM) as a pilot project for cultural resource climate adaptation planning. Sandra presented findings from the first of two workshops, conducted with Dr. Seekamp, which engaged National Park Service personnel, representatives from partners organizations, State Historic Preservation Office personnel, and subject matter experts to identify strategies for enhancing cultural resource preservation within the two historic districts at Cape Lookout National Seashore. This research is part of a project (Connection landscape adaption and national cultural resource policy to climate change and adaptation decisions) funded by the U.S. Geological Survey, Southeast Climate Science Center awarded to Erin Seekamp, Jordan Smith, Matthew Booker, Nils Peterson and Stacy Nelson.
Allie McCreary (PhD student) was literally set on “making waves” at this year’s forum. She kicked off her presentation by getting the crowd to perform the wave. Allie’s work focuses on understanding tourists’ perceptions of climate change on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Allie presented results from data collected via the tag #myNorthShore. These social media posts uploaded by North Shore tourists were analyzed to gain a deeper awareness of the places, resources and experiences coastal that mean the most to tourists in coastal regions. This research is part of an interdisciplinary project (Building climate readiness in nature-based tourism-dependent coastal communities) funded by the Minnesota Sea Grant College Program awarded to the University of Minnesota, NC State University (Erin Seekamp and Jordan Smith), and Carleton College.
Karly Bitsura-Meszaros (doctoral student) attended the conference to support the team, learn about cutting-edge technologies being used in social science research, and make sure everyone had some fun in the “Holy City”. Meeting up with recent PRTM graduate student Deidre Peroff, now at Wisconsin Sea Grant, the team set out to see what culinary experiences were to be had in Charleston. In the land of fried okra, fried chicken, and waffles everyone was able to return to Raleigh with the comfort of some fine southern cuisine in their belly. Matt also finally made good on his wish to dance the Charleston in its namesake town at the swing joint Prohibition.