Feeling Grateful

Feeling Grateful

The Sapelo Island Margaret A. Davidson Fellow, Sydney Williams, discusses her water quality research for the health of Georgia’s coasts. See her full video, along with other fellows from around the country, here.

Need a boost? Take a break to watch a video created by our Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Research Fellows for NERRA’s 2021 Season of Gratitude campaign.

Each video reminds us of the energy and talent the fellows have brought to our Reserves and the support of our champions in Congress who made it possible. 

If watching one of these videos is just the tonic you need to brighten up the winter, share the feeling! We encourage everyone to share the videos far and wide on your social media and websites. Don’t forget to thank your congressional representatives when you do!


The NERRS Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Research Fellowship is a two-year program that places one graduate student at each of the 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves. Each fellow addresses a key coastal management question to help scientists and communities understand coastal challenges that may influence future policy and management strategies. Learn more.

Thank you, whooping cranes

Thank you, whooping cranes

Mission-Aransas Reserve visitors, volunteers, and staff all report: we love whooping cranes! 

Many visitors consider a whooping crane sighting the highlight of their trip to the Mission-Aransas Reserve. These enormous birds, which stand five feet tall when fully grown, are the rarest of all cranes—and the Mission-Aransas Reserve is their only winter home in North America. Much to the joy of self-described ”crane-iacs,” sightings around the Reserve are becoming more common thanks to dedicated conservation efforts.

The growing presence of whooping cranes inspires local citizen groups to host whooping crane festivals and events that celebrate the arrival of these magnificent creatures every year. Whooping cranes spend each winter and spring at the Reserve after travelling 2,500 miles from their summer nesting grounds in Canada.

Seeing whooping cranes thrive on the Mission-Aransas estuary was not always a given. Their increasing numbers in the Coastal Bend in recent years are the result of  decades of dedicated conservation, science, and education. We know that when we see whooping cranes, we are also seeing a marsh healthy enough to support and protect them.

Thank you, whooping cranes! You inspire us to keep working to protect what is precious to both our natural and human communities.

What Tales do Jersey Whales Tell?

What Tales do Jersey Whales Tell?

When a 33-ton humpback whale breaches in the waters of New Jersey’s Little Egg Inlet, that saying something. Not only about the health of an estuary that can host such a magnificent creature, but also about its capacity to support fishing, boating, and other recreational industries that contribute $44+ billion to the New Jersey economy every year.

The spring arrival of humpbacks on the Jersey coast tells us that the conservation efforts of our Jacques Cousteau Reserve and their partners are working. It’s also tells them that it’s time to get ready for the field work and education programs that bring more than 2,000 students and 7,000 visitors to the Reserve each year.

Thank you, humpback whales! Your presence in the waters of New Jersey inspires us to work harder to meet the challenges of 2020.

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