About Ask the
Paid subscribers only. Deadline May 5, 1997
Anne Smrcina, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
Hi, this is Anne Smrcina from the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
I bet a lot of you have questions about the whales, and I'm looking forward to
exploring these issues with you during the Ask the Expert week for humpback
and right whales. First, I have to admit I'm not an "expert" in whales. I'm
the education coordinator for the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
with offices located in Plymouth, Mass. But although I can't claim any time
spent in whale field research, I have had a long-standing personal interest in
marine mammals. I was co-author of the right whale curriculum book "From
Whaling to Watching" produced by the Gray's Reef and Stellwagen Bank National
Marine Sanctuaries, and have written several other publications and articles
on whales for newsletters, brochures, curricula, etc.
Over the course of my time here at the Sanctuary, I have sailed out on several
commercial whale watches and have gone out into Cape Cod Bay with right whale
researchers from the Center for Coastal Studies.
I will attempt to answer the questions for which I have personal knowledge,
and will consult with top whale researchers for those questions to which I
have no answers. Among the technical specialists I will be calling on are:
Scott Kraus, Philip Hamilton, Amy Knowlton, and Chris Slay from the New
England Aquarium's right whale research group; Greg Stone, also from the NE Aquarium, and a humpback whale specialist;
"Stormy" Mayo, Marilyn Marx, and Dave Mattila from the Center for Coastal
Studies; Idelissa Bonnelly and Kim Beddall from the Dominican Republic; and other researchers and whale experts as needed.
My love of the ocean has roots all the way back to elementary school, where
ocean life was always a fascinating subject (although I think I found
dinosaurs even more interesting then). At sixth grade graduation, I listed
working at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography as one of my career goals in
my autograph book. During my jr high and high school days (at Hunter College
High School, grades 7-12, in New York City) my interest in oceans and science
continued. I still have a paper I wrote in eighth grade science about
underwater geological features and ocean currents. In high school I had
tentatively decided on a career in medicine, but by college had changed my
mind. At Cornell University I majored in biology, and took a wide range of
science courses. I liked science, but couldn't decide on any one field in
which to specialize. Instead, I decided that I would write about all kinds of
science as a science journalist.
With a science writing goal in mind, I attended Boston University's Graduate
School of Communication and received a Master's in Journalism (science
communication). After an initial jobs with a laboratory equipment company and
a computer company, I then landed a job with the Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution where I served as a public information officer (including the
incredibally exciting days during the two TITANIC Expeditions). I moved on to
the Mass. Coastal Zone Management Office as information and education
specialist for 7 years, before taking on the task as Sanctuary Education
Coordinator in 1994. I absolutely love the incredible variety of projects
that are happening here -- from writing newsletters and brochures, to
producing videos and a CD-ROM on the food web. I also get to design curricula
and exhibits, travel for speaking engagements, and contact the media about
Sanctuary programs in resource protection, research and education. And, of
course, I always look forward to my weekly contribution to the Journey North
project. I certainly have learned a lot in producing these weekly reports,
and I hope they've been of interest to all of you.
I look forward to your questions.
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