Green Abalone Restoration Project
Our May Speaker is one of our very favorite Speakers, Nancy L. Caruso, Marine Biologist. She is quite a celebrity, not only locally, but all of Southern California, She will be speaking on the subject of the Green Abalone Restoration Project.
Nancy is a Virginia native with a B.S in Marine Biology with an emphasis in aquaculture and chemistry. After attending college at Florida Institute of Technology, Nancy began her career in aquaculture, hydroponics, and aquaponics at Epcot Center in Disney World then on to work in aquaculture in Mississippi, where she created and marketed one of the first aquaponics systems sold in schools in the USA eventually ended up in California selling aquaculture equipment and supplies. Her love for the ocean and extensive background in water chemistry eventually landed her a position Aquarium of the Pacific. During her four years at the Aquarium Nancy worked in the water quality lab and then was an aquarist, caring for the exhibits and the animals.
Wanting to do more conservation work within her community, Nancy left the aquarium to build a program to restore Orange County’s decimated kelp forests. With help from magazine and newspaper articles, as well a television and radio, Nancy has helped to bring the message of the importance of kelp forests along our coast to millions. The Orange County Ocean Restoration Project has taught 5000 students how to grow giant kelp in their classrooms that was planted in the ocean by 250 trained volunteers and now there are giant kelp forests in areas that had been barren for more than 25 years. To continue her work, Nancy started a nonprofit organization called Get Inspired! She continues to restore the kelp forest ecosystem by teaching kids to grow white seabass and green abalone in their classrooms which are released to their ocean habitats in the restored kelp forests. Get Inspired! is dedicated to Inspiring stewardship and curiosity for the natural world through the exploration of science. After completing a 15 month pilot project to use large adult abalone as a technique for restoring green abalone populations along our coast, Nancy has just begun a massive 10 year project to restore them with the help of public aquaria, museums, and 6,000 southern California students in their classrooms. This project will educate millions of people about how, in one human lifetime, we nearly ate the abalone to extinction and how we can all work together to bring them back.