Ohio Sea Grant Extension educator Nicole Wright has received one of 10 mini-grants from the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to support programming that educates Ohioans about aquaculture opportunities in their state.

Wright will lead the creation of “The Story of Yellow Perch: Understanding Ohio’s Wild and Farmed Fisheries” in partnership with the Ohio Aquaculture Association, the Aquatic Visitors Center at The Ohio State University’s Stone Lab, the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center and Sea Grant’s Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative.

“While aquaculture in Ohio is relatively small in numbers of farms and production, it provides expanded local options for seafood, including tilapia and saltwater shrimp, and supports the livelihoods of hundreds of individuals and families,” Wright said. “Basic awareness and understanding of what aquaculture is and how it fits into a sustainable fishery are necessary in Ohio and the Great Lakes region for successful industry investment and growth.”

The Ohio Sea Grant team will develop educational displays, content as part of a story map on aquaculture in the Great Lakes, and videos of conversations with aquaculture producers across the state. In-person educational materials will be available at partner locations as well as at events where Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab host outreach booths starting in 2022.

Virtual components will expand the message that aquaculture is an important part of Ohio’s fishery to more audiences via web articles and social media, and all materials will offer high-quality programming that pairs aquaculture communication needs with existing research.

This grant is part of eeBLUE, NAAEE’s effort to build collaborative partnerships that support the mutual environmental education goals of NOAA and NAAEE. eeBLUE is a $5 million, five-year partnership agreement between NOAA and NAAEE to help create a more environmentally literate society that has the knowledge, skills and motivation to conserve our natural resources and build more resilient communities across the country.

It will also strengthen professional networks, support high-quality STEM education, and provide education and outreach for educators and other audiences. Learn more at naaee.org/our-work/programs/eeblue/aquaculture-initiative.

Funding for this program is provided by NOAA Fisheries and administered by NAAEE.

“We are thrilled to be part of this effort to enhance aquaculture literacy in communities across the nation,” said Kate Naughten, director of communications for NOAA Fisheries. “Much of our agency’s success is built on strong partnerships, so any time we can help engage communities and form new partnerships around the common goal of sustainable seafood we are all in.”

The Ohio Sea Grant College Program is part of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 34 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu