Our Reserve family has some new faces, each bringing fresh talents and energy to their respective Reserves. Please join NERRA in welcoming these new NERRds to the family!

Vanessa Dornisch, Coastal Training Program Coordinator at New Jersey’s Jacques Cousteau Reserve

Vanessa grew up spending winters in Florida and summers at the Jersey Shore. All that time in coastal areas made her fall in love with the environment and pursue a career protecting it. After attending Rowan University for her undergraduate degree and University of Florida for graduate school, Vanessa worked in coastal resilience in Florida for several years before joining the staff at the Jacques Cousteau Reserve

“I am so excited to join the Reserve System because I’m a huge advocate of interdisciplinary approaches to research, education, and protecting coastal resources,” says Vanessa. “As CTP Coordinator, I’m looking forward to working with local communities to build resilience to sea level rise and flooding.”

Rachel Best, Office Coordinator at Washington’s Padilla Bay Reserve

When you call the Padilla Bay interpretive center or stop to visit the exhibits and aquariums, you’ll find a new face behind the counter—Rachel Best has joined the Reserve as its new office coordinator and administrative assistant.

Rachel is a native Washingtonian who grew up enjoying the great outdoors. She’s a coastal activist even outside of work, volunteering on the Skagit County Marine Resources Committee and the Skagit Conservation District’s Clean Streams project. She’s also a Salish Sea Steward volunteer, and headed that group’s advisory team.


Sarah Brostrom, Coastal Training Program Coordinator at Washington’s Padilla Bay Reserve

Sarah Brostrom, joined the Padilla Bay team in May. She is coordinating the Salish Sea Stewards volunteer training program (now virtual) and is ramping up to lead the Reserve’s Coastal Training Program (CTP) as it adapts to the COVID-19 world of virtual professional development. 

Sara grew up near the Salish Sea in Lacey, Washington, exploring the shores of Budd Inlet and camping and hiking with her family in the state’s many beautiful ecosystems. For Sara, these formative experiences sparked an early interest in environmental science. After studying at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at University of Washington, Sara spent a year in the Washington Sea Grant Hershman Fellowship where she worked on projects related to sea level rise and was lucky enough to participate in the Coastal Training Program.

“I’m excited to bring experience in the field of education and marine policy to my role, and to explore new ways to broaden the reach of Padilla Bay’s CTP,” says Sara. “And I look forward to working with my new co-workers and to exploring the Reserve in-person!”

Sabra Comet, Coastal Training Program Coordinator at Oregon’s South Slough Reserve

Sabra (pronounced “Say-bruh”) comes to Oregon’s South Slough Reserve from NOAA’s Silver Spring office, where she worked in the Integrated Ocean Observing System and Technology, Planning and Integration for Observation programs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from Southern Oregon University, a Master’s in Natural Resources Conservation from Portland State University, and is a former Knauss Fellow with Oregon Sea Grant. She brings with her a wealth of professional experience related to coastal and ocean issues. 

“I’m very excited to be part of the Coastal Training Program, as it fits the mix of policy, science, and boots-on-the-ground community interaction that I love,” says Sabra. “Both the staff at the Reserve and at the NOAA level are very welcoming and passionate, and the diverse stakeholder audience will keep the job interesting far into the future.”


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ReservesJacques Cousteau, New JerseyNew Faces Across the NERRS