Annual Meeting 2018 Highlights

Dec 1, 2018 | Reserves

A little Lake Superior “weather” didn’t stop us from having a great Annual Meeting! From left: Education power duo team Atziri Ibanez, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, and Maggie Pletta, Delaware Reserve.

A big “thank you” to our Lake Superior Reserve for hosting the NERRS Annual Meeting in Duluth.  Every year, we rely on this meeting to energize our national network and “sharpen the ax”for the challenges back home. This year did not disappoint. Alongside excellent field trips (curling anyone?) and professional sharing throughout the week, we explored how our local work could be leveraged to develop national scale frameworks to address critical issues including disaster preparedness, response, and recovery and tidal wetland management conservation. The bar keeps raising, but we know our 2019 hosts at our South Carolina Reserves are up to the challenge

From left: NERRA president Lisa Auermuller, NERRS/NERRA Award winner Willy Reay, and NOAA’s Erica Seiden. Photo courtesy Dave Feliz.

We Recognized our Super Heroes

  • Our NERRS/NERRA award—the highest honor we can confer—went to Willy Reay of our Virginia Reserve. “Willy’s accomplishments are significant and varied and speak to the variety of his skills,” said Erica Seiden, Ecosystem Services Manager for NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management. “He believes wholeheartedly in the NERRS mission and is dedicated to ensuring we are living laboratories and national leaders in providing high quality, long-term data on estuaries.”
  • The NERRS Impact Award went to Rick Ranew, the K-12 Specialist for Mississippi’s Grand Bay Reserve. Alongside his work running the Reserve’s ‘On the Road Program, Rick goes above and beyond in collaborating with his Grand Bay Colleagues and with state and federal partners to inspire us all to be  good and knowledgeable stewards of our fragile coastal environments.
  • We recognized outstanding technical service to the System:

    Saundra Upchurch, Research Biologist at South Carolina’s ACE Basin Reserve, received the award for her “working tirelessly to further the NERR’s habitat mapping efforts,” says ACE Basin Manager, Blaik Keppler. “She was one of the founding members of the NERRS Habitat Mapping Committee, she co-authored the Standard Operating Procedures, and provides guidance to and reviews maps from the 29 Reserves.”

    Michael G. Mensinger, environmental scientist for the Delaware Reserve, received the award for “his technical expertise and dedicated nature to implementing the System-Wide Monitoring Program and helping to make the SWMP program the success it is today,” says Kari st. Laurent, research coordinator at the Delaware Reserve.

  • Powerful Posters! Tuesday’s night’s poster session provided an intriguing window into the work that makes our Reserves such exceptional resources for coastal communities and scientists. Congratulations to Ryan King, Baylor University, who earned the “Best Student Poster” award for Scales of Hydrologic Variability in the Kenai Lowlands and Ashley Bang, Brown University (Unexpected Juvenile Salmonid Movement Patterns in Headwater Streams of South central Alaska) and Chris Carlson, NSF REU Program Intern, University of Pennsylvania (Tracking European Green Crab Abundance in the South Slough Estuary) for honorable mentions.


Check out People’s Choice Award, Teachers on the Estuary, from our Maryland Reserve on NERRA’s you tube channel.

NERRS Red Carpet

Now in its fifth year, the NERRS Film Fest is proof positive that NERRS videographers are coming into their own. Congratulations to all of our winners—we’ll be sharing your videos all year on NERRA’s Youtube channel. And many thanks to our dynamic video duo, Jen Plunket from South Carolina’s North Inlet Winyah Bay Reserve and Jace Tunnel from the Mission-Aransas Reserve in Texas for organizing it all with such aplomb.


Chris Bowser (Hudson River), Nik Charov (Wells), and Jace Tunnel (Mission-Aransas) putting some fun in fundraising. Photo courtesy Dave Feliz.

Auctioneers Extraordinaire

We’re bid $100, $200, $250—Do we hear $1,000? How can we put a price on such an extraordinary team of auctioneers? They kept us laughing, they lightened our wallets, and in the end they broke auction records to help NERRA support the Reserve System.

Kudos to our auction committee: Nik Charov, Chris Bowser, Coreen Weilminster, Becky Swerida, Maggie Pletta, Dave Feliz, Jace Tunnell, Christina Whiteman, Bob Stankelis, Blaik Keppler, Sue Bickford, Jen West, Lisa Auermuller.

And thanks to everyone who donated generously and bid high!


From left, Chris Peregrin and Kirstin Goodrich, Tijuana River Reserve, and Rebecca Roth, NERRA Executive Director.

Want to recapture that Annual Meeting glow?

Check out the photo gallery from our veteran meeting photographer, Dave Feliz, manager of the Elkhorn Slough Reserve.

ReservesAnnual Meeting 2018 Highlights