MYSTIC AQUARIUM TO HOST RESILIENCY FORUM IN WAKE OF STRONG HURRICANE SEASON

Panel Discussion to be held at La Grua Center on Oct 11

Mystic, Conn. (October 3, 2017): In one of the worst seasons on record, hurricane devastation in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and beyond has dominated the news.  But, what if a powerful hurricane or another super storm were to hit Southeastern Connecticut? Would shoreline towns and ocean habitats withstand the onslaught?

Learn how Connecticut would fair and how local residents and other organizations can prepare on Wednesday, October 11 at 6:00pm at the La Grua Center in Stonington, in partnership with Mystic Aquarium. The panel discussion “Coastal Resiliency: Now More Than Ever” will address the critical topic of climate change and coastal resiliency.

Moderated by Katie Cubina, Mystic Aquarium’s Senior Vice President, Mission Programs, expert panelists Juliana Barrett, University of Connecticut Sea Grant College Program, Dr. James O'Donnell, Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of Connecticut, and the National Weather Service’s David Vallee will shed light on a range of topics related to coastal resiliency.  They will also share Connecticut’s experience with severe weather response and recovery.  A question and answer session will follow.

Juliana Barrett is with the University of Connecticut Sea Grant College Program. Her work focuses on climate adaptation and resilience as well as habitat management and restoration working with Connecticut’s municipalities, NGO’s and state and federal partners. She has developed numerous tools and websites for coastal and inland residents on native plantings and habitats.

David Vallee is the Hydrologist-in-Charge of NOAA’s National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center.  The center provides detailed water resource and life-saving flood forecasting services to National Weather Service Forecast Offices and the hundreds of federal, state and local water resource entities throughout the Northeast and New York.  David has studied the behavior of New England hurricanes for much of his career; focusing on hurricane preparedness and examining our vulnerability in New England.

David has worked for the National Weather Service for 30 years, serving in a variety of positions. His research activities span a variety of topics including flooding, severe weather forecasting and orographically enhanced heavy rainfall in southern New England. A winner of the prestigious National Isaac Cline Award for Leadership, David has appeared in documentaries on the Weather Channel, the History Channel and the Discovery Channel. David is a lifelong resident of the Rhode Island.

As Executive Director of Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), Jim O’Donnell is responsible for bringing together the world class research and outreach capabilities of the University of Connecticut and the extensive practical experience of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to create and disseminate practical and sustainable strategies to enhance the resilience of the built environment while protecting natural ecosystems in Connecticut and the northeast.  In the last decade Prof. O’Donnell has been involved in the development of a permanent ocean observing system in Long Island Sound and the adjacent shelf.

“Coastal Resiliency: Now More than Ever” will be the first in a new series co-sponsored by Mystic Aquarium and the LaGrua Center.

ABOUT LA GRUA CENTER

The mission of the La Grua Center is to serve and strengthen community in a historic space where a diverse array of activities creates opportunities for people to come together and connect. The Maurice C. La Grua Center opened its doors in 2008 as a venue for education, the arts, celebrations, meetings and other activities that bring area residents together and enrich our lives.

ABOUT MYSTIC AQUARIUM

Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums with more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England’s only belugas. Mystic Aquarium has been a pioneer in offering guests a variety of up close encounters with a wide range of marine animals. The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education and research. Mystic Aquarium receives major support from The Coca-Cola Company, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Resorts World Sentosa and United Technologies Corporation. Learn more at MysticAquarium.org.

Media Contact:
Dale Wolbrink
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