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About the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training


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Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training

About the Gulf of Mexico Coastal TrainingGulf of Mexico Coastal Training is a unique collaboration between the five Gulf Coast National Estuarine Research Reserve Coastal Training Programs.  Through the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are now working together to address priority issues affecting the entire Gulf of Mexico region. Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training is educating professional audiences and coastal communities across each of the five Gulf States using shared information and technology.  From coastal community resilience to habitat conservation, topics covered in Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training workshops address priority issues and promote activities that improve the health of the Gulf of Mexico.  

Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training hosts regular workshops that cover one or more Gulf of Mexico Alliance priority issues.  You can view and sort through upcoming and past workshops on the Workshops page.


Coastal Training Program

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Looking for the National Estuarine Research Reserve?The National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) System is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the coastal states establishing a network of protected areas for long-term research, education and stewardship.  Nationally, there are 27 reserve offices, with five located around the Gulf of Mexico. 

Each of the Gulf Coast National Estuarine Research Reserves houses a Coastal Training Program, which provide coastal decision-makers with up-to-date scientific information and skill-building opportunities to ensure they have the knowledge and tools needed to address critical coastal resource management issues.  Through workshops, hands-on skill training, lectures and technology demonstrations, participants benefit from opportunities to share experiences and network in a multidisciplinary setting.  The Coastal Training Program acts as a bridge between the science, policy and management communities and encourages collaboration among the many individuals, disciplines and institutions who affect coastal and estuarine ecosystems.  Through the framework of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the five Gulf Coast National Estuarine Research Reserve Coastal Training Programs are now working together to provide consistent information on a regional scale.


Gulf National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) Partners

Emily Porter Rookery Bay Coastal Training Program Coordinator

Emily Porter is responsible for working with the Coastal Training Program team to design, organize and conduct technical training programs for decision-makers and environmental professionals.Emily was previously faculty at Florida Gulf Coast University where she taught Environmental Biology, Environmental Policy and related classes, and worked with the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education.She earned her Master’s Degree at FGCU from the Department of Marine and Ecological Science, having conducted her thesis research on sustainable seafood practices in Southwest Florida. She received her Science Degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder.Emily has been actively involved in the local community having served as Co-Chair for the Barefoot Beach Environmental Lecture Series, Coastal Ecosystems Naturalist for the Friends of Barefoot Beach, and volunteering with the rookery monitoring program at Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve.Originally from Murray, Kentucky, Emily moved to Florida in 2009.

Contact Emily

Dana Sjostrom - Mission-Aransas Coastal Training Program Coordinator

Dana is the Coastal Training Program Coordinator for the Mission-Aransas Reserve, which is managed by the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas. Dana’s role focuses on bridging science and management communities, providing training opportunities to coastal resource managers, decision-makers, elected officials, and other stakeholders along the Coastal Bend. Dana brings a combination of education and science-based skills to her role in coastal training with the Reserve, drawn from experience with formal classroom education, outdoor environmental education, curriculum development, and science-based field and lab work. She holds her Bachelor of Science in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Alberta and her MS degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Contact Dana

Anita Grove Apalachicola Coastal Training Program Coordinator

Anita Grove graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geography with a minor in Anthropology from Florida State University. She also completed extensive graduate studies work at the Cooperstown Program of Museum Studies in New York and Non-profit Leadership at FSU.

Anita worked for twelve years at the Florida Department of State, Museum of Florida History, first in Education, Collections, and then in Public Relations. For the past 17 years Anita served as the Executive Director of the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce, a 400+ nonprofit membership organization dedicated to helping small businesses with an emphasis on sustainable tourism and seafood. Anita was instrumental in gaining national press coverage for Franklin County’s unique blend of natural and cultural resources that differentiates Franklin County from other coastal destinations.

Contact Anita

Margo Posten Grand Bay Coastal Training Program Coordinator

Margo is the Coastal Training Program (CTP) Coordinator for the Grand Bay NERR, which is managed through a unique local, state and federal partnership with NOAA, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, Mississippi State University, The Nature Conservancy, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the University of Southern Mississippi. Margo’s role includes organizing trainings and workshops to provide coastal decision-makers, local officials and staff, natural resource managers, and coastal scientists with the knowledge and tools they need to address critical resource management issues that are of concern to local communities.

Margo has a Master of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of West Florida. Margo has gained valuable insight into the important connections between people and their coastal environments through past experiences at the Apalachicola NERR, a fishing community in the Bering Sea, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. When not working to instill concepts of protection and conservation of our coastal environments Margo, along with her family, enjoys getting out into it!  Contact Margo


Mike Shelton Weeks Bay Coastal Training Program Coordinator

Michael is the Coastal Training/Watershed Program Coordinator at Weeks Bay NERR, a partnership between the Lands Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Since 2001, Mike has worked with agencies, decision-makers and residents for protection, restoration and planning for better use of water resources in the Weeks Bay watershed. Duties include technical and community education, water quality monitoring and research and assisting watershed stakeholders with on-the-ground pollution prevention and restoration projects.

Mike earned a Masters Degree in Biology at Emory University. Prior to Weeks Bay, Mike managed the applications and environmental testing laboratory for an environmental engineering firm in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mike, wife Wendy and sons, James and Charlie live in Fairhope, Alabama. Contact Mike


Jacqueline RoseRegional Coordinator, Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training Program

Jacqueline is the Regional Coordinator for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training Program, working closely with the Gulf CTP Team and other partners to provide Gulf-wide trainings that address common issues as well as local needs. Duties include conducting needs assessments with coastal resource managers and decision-makers to identify training needs and working with the Gulf CTP Team to develop additional workshops and training programs that help address those needs.

Jacqueline has 18 years of project management experience. She worked on the California Marine Protected Area Education & Outreach Initiative and was a TogetherGreen Fellow and a marine and watershed educator working on water quality issues in Monterey Bay. Prior to coming to the Gulf, she worked at Smithsonian Marine Station and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Jacqueline earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies & Latino Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz. She conducted research on the relationship between marine protection and tourism at Lincoln University in New Zealand and is the Founder of SeaVibe Foundation. As a native of North Carolina, she is excited to return to the South to serve the Gulf Region.Contact Jacqueline