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Elliot Nelson, an Upper Peninsula native, has been chosen to fill a new Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator position in the eastern U.P. He will begin his new position in May 2016.
Nelson will be based in Sault Ste. Marie and will develop and provide Extension education and outreach programming in eastern U.P. counties related to commercial, tribal, and aquaculture fisheries; coastal community development, including tourism and Great Lakes commerce; water quality; and coastal ecosystems.
“It’s exciting to be enhancing our Michigan Sea Grant Extension Program with a new position to serve this region,” said Dr. Heather Triezenberg, program coordinator. “The eastern U.P. has challenges but also many opportunities, and we know Elliot Nelson will help Michigan Sea Grant work collaboratively to develop new partnerships and programs and be an asset to the communities in that area.”
Dr. William Taylor, associate director of Michigan Sea Grant College Program, added “Elliot’s appointment helps increase Sea Grant’s ability to be responsive to the needs of the local communities on both sides of the border and also will strengthen our relationship with our tribal partners and with Lake Superior State University.”
Michigan Sea Grant helps foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, Michigan Sea Grant is part of MSU Extension and the NOAA National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.
“I am extremely excited to start this position, it is in essence a dream come true for me,” Nelson said. “I love the idea of communicating relevant research to local communities to help them make informed decisions. In this era of information overload, it is very important that relevant knowledge is communicated as effectively as possible, and I am excited to be a person who specializes in doing that.”
Nelson grew up in the U.P. town of Cedarville, is a certified science teacher, has served as a Science Olympiad coach and taught at Grand River Preparatory High School in Grand Rapids.
Most recently, as project coordinator for the Little Traverse Conservancy, Nelson helped local governments, business groups and land conservancies organize and create a development plan for a birding trail that is scheduled to be unveiled in 2016. As a research assistant at the U-M Water Center, he participated in a grant-based program to categorize and connect water quality research across the state. Working with the Tipp of the Mitt Watershed Council, he was part of a group developing a watershed management plan.
“Elliot’s interest in education and community organizing will enable him to deliver impactful Extension programming to a variety of audiences in the Eastern Upper Peninsula region,” said Dave Ivan, director of the MSU Extension Greening Michigan Institute. “I know he will be an asset to the area.”
Nelson earned his bachelor of science degree, with a major in biology, from Michigan State University. He currently is a master’s of science student at the University of Michigan and will complete his degree in May 2016. His focus has been on natural resources and environment behavior; education and communications; and conservation ecology.
“The fact that this position is in the eastern U.P. is just the icing on the cake,” said Nelson. “I am very passionate about the area as I think it is one of the most beautiful places in the world with some of the most genuine people you will find.”