Michigan Sea Grant News Release Graphic

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Heather Triezenberg has accepted the position of Extension program coordinator for Michigan Sea Grant. She takes over the position following the retirement of Chuck Pistis and will assume her role in March.

“I am pleased that we have been able to convince Heather to become our new Extension program coordinator,” said Jim Diana, director of Michigan Sea Grant. “She steps into big shoes to fill by replacing Chuck Pistis, but with her strong academic training in human dimension research, along with her experience at the national Sea Grant office and at Michigan State University, she has the perfect combination of skills to succeed at this position. I am looking forward to her leading our program into an even stronger focus on human dimensions in the future.”

As Extension specialist and program coordinator, Triezenberg will coordinate the statewide Sea Grant Extension Program in collaboration with the Michigan State University Extension Greening Michigan Institute. Michigan Sea Grant Extension educators work with stakeholders on critical Great Lakes issues such as resilient communities and economies, healthy coastal ecosystems, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture and environmental literacy.

“I’m thrilled at the opportunity to join Michigan Sea Grant as Extension specialist and program coordinator,” Triezenberg said. “I look forward to working with Michigan Sea Grant’s staff members and stakeholders to address critical issues facing the Great Lakes and its coastal communities.”

With MSU Extension and the Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Triezenberg will also conduct applied human dimensions research in support of Great Lakes aquatic resource policy and management.

Triezenberg is interested in resilient coastal community development and healthy coastal ecosystems. Her research will explore how stakeholders perceive risks related to critical issues within the Great Lakes to inform communication efforts, citizen involvement in research (e.g., Citizen Science) and program evaluation. She is also interested in the application of geographic information systems and other quantitative methods to understand and improve stakeholders’ perceptions and actions, and to incorporate human dimensions data into management modeling and decision making.

Her current research focuses on:

  • Improvement of risk communication within coastal and Great Lakes aquatic ecosystems.
  • The trust-space continuum: a spatial analysis of stakeholders’ trust and confidence in a state wildlife agency.
  • Stakeholders’ perceptions and actions related to zoonotic diseases within natural resources contexts (e.g., deer.fw.msu.edu/outreachsummary).

Triezenberg has studied and worked in community-based natural resources management since 2002. She examined social conflicts among stakeholders using coastal and waterfront areas in New York state for her dissertation research. For her master’s research, she developed and evaluated the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program, an adult conservation education program.

Triezenberg was the education director for the Clinton River Watershed Council in a four-county area in and around Metro Detroit. Her responsibilities included developing, planning and implementing youth and adult education programs (for example, developing an Adopt-A-Stream program concept for adults to help communities meet their Phase II non-point source stormwater permit requirements for education and public participation).

In partnership with the Marine Environmental Education Foundation, she co-coordinated the Dock Walkers education program for peer-to-peer learning among boat club members. She also worked in partnership with local conservation districts and regional planning units for planning and management of the Grand River watershed.

Triezenberg served as a social scientist for the NOAA National Sea Grant Office in 2010-2011 and as an assistant professor in the MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the  Department of Geography from 2012 to 2014. She has received numerous honors and awards, including the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals Gold Award for peer-reviewed journal article.


Contact: Sandra Enness
517-353-9723, Enness@msu.edu