Chuck Adams, Florida Sea Grant’s marine economics specialist and Tommy Thompson, executive director of the Florida Outdoor Writer’s Association, have been selected as award winners by the Florida Association for Natural Resource Extension Professionals. They will both be recognized at this year’s Extension Professionals Association of Florida conference in August.
Adams was selected as the extension specialist of the year for his technical expertise, institutional knowledge and leadership associated with marine fisheries.
“Over the past several decades he and his colleagues developed a number of publications that analyze the socioeconomic impacts of Florida’s fishing and aquaculture industries, coastal resources, and artificial reefs that agents often use in their extension programs and share with their local stakeholders,” said Bryan Fluech, Florida Sea Grant agent with UF/IFAS Extension in Collier County, who submitted the award nomination. “Dr. Adams is regularly invited to speak at extension workshops and conferences organized by extension agents to share his fisheries knowledge and expertise with program participants.”
Examples of his work include conducting shellfish training to industry professionals, and holding fisheries regulations workshops. Adams also has helped expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance program for Florida shrimpers and supported the development and marketing of an affordable venting tool for reef fish.
“These efforts have allowed Sea Grant’s extension programs to remain focused and relevant to its stakeholders,” Fluech said. “It is because of his guidance, leadership and commitment to quality extension programs that he is so deserving of this award.”
Thompson was selected as the winner of the Friends of FANREP Extension Award, which is given to those exceptional supporters of Florida Extension.
“As Executive Director of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, Tommy has been a long-time proponent of Florida Sea Grant’s membership in the Association, which enables our agents, communicators and scientists to directly provide science-based, objective and relevant information to the membership comprised of nearly 400 writers, tourism and travel operators, conservation agencies, and commercial outdoor gear representatives,” wrote Betty Staugler, Florida Sea Grant agent with UF/IFAS Extension in Charlotte County in her nomination form. “This has significantly multiplied our ability to reach key targeted audiences.”
As one example, Thompson has strategically identified key outdoor writers in different geographical regions to go offshore and learn about proper catch-and-release techniques with Florida Sea Grant agents. These writers, in return, produce articles or videos for their readership.
“By being able to tap into FOWA’s statewide network of writers we greatly increase our ability to reach our target stakeholders, and we are able to dispense timely and relevant extension information to areas of the state where we currently do not have a strong representation of Sea Grant Extension faculty, most notably southeast Florida,” Staugler wrote.
Recently, Thompson also donated high-definition Canon video gear and lavalier microphone equipment to Florida Sea Grant to help expand its multimedia efforts.
“Tommy Thompson is the most deserving of the Friends of FANREP award because he demonstrates all of the characteristics of a true friend of Extension,” Staugler wrote. “ In fact Tommy is so engrained in Extension that we often invite him to our meetings because we feel that he is one of us. He makes a special effort to become acquainted with new Sea Grant extension agents and learn about their programs.”