Fulbright Scholars to visit St. Pete’s Blue Ocean Film Festival

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Some 75 top scholars from 44 countries will be in St. Pete next week to discuss climate change and the impacts to oceans.

The group of Fulbright Scholars will be in town from November 5-9 for the visiting scholar enrichment seminar sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

They will be joining environmental leaders at the inaugural Blue Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit taking place throughout downtown St. Pete that same week.

In addition to attending various climate change seminars focusing on climate change and ocean research, the delegation of scholars who are currently teaching and conducting research across the U.S. will also visit Port Tampa Bay to learn how the maritime transportation hub manages environmental issues in Florida’s largest natural estuary.

The group will also join other Fulbright alumni and volunteers to plant 8,000 Sea Oats at Fort DeSoto. Sea Oats capture sand to build dunes which act as a barrier for storms. Of course no trip to Fort DeSoto is complete without a cookout. They’ll do that too.

The group is also touring the Cousteau Center for Marine Studies at the Cantebury School of Florida as well as viewing some of the 160 film features during the Blue Ocean Film Festival. They will hear talks from some local marine science pros including Dr. Steven Murawski, Dr. David Hollander and Dr. Jacqueline Dixon. All are with the University of South Florida’s Center for Marine Sciences.

Eckerd College will host the group for a symposium on ocean advocacy.

The Fulbright program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. to promote mutual understanding between Americans and scholars in other countries. It’s been awarding grants since its establishment in 1946 and has so far provided more than 360,000 scholars with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research abroad. The program currently offers 8,000 grants annually and operates in more than 155 countries.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.