UNH’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) is excited to announce a teaching and research partnership with the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC)’s Centre for Applied Marine Studies in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The partnership will support a research exchange in the areas of coastal habitat restoration, coastal resilience and climate change as well as student activities at both the graduate and undergraduate levels on both the UNH and HLSCC campuses.
Gregg Moore, research associate professor in the department of biological sciences, spearheaded the effort.
The agreement emerged following Moore’s technical support of the BVI’s efforts to assess post-hurricane mangrove recovery following the devastation caused by back-to-back hurricanes Irma and Maria in late 2017. Many partners were involved in the effort, including the HLSCC, the BVI’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands (NPTVI), the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Birds Caribbean and the Darwin Plus Initiative.
“What has organically evolved is a growing relationship with opportunities for mutual benefit between our institutions,” says Moore. “HLSCC has an outstanding marine research laboratory situated directly on the water at Paraquita Bay, Tortola, and the college works to build relationships that benefit their students and the Caribbean. Together, we see opportunities to enhance access, address local, regional and internationally significant research questions, and strengthen local capacity.”
As part of the agreement, Moore plans to develop a coastal climate resiliency course in which students from both institutions will engage all semester through an online synchronous course, culminating in an institutional exchange of students and faculty.
“UNH has a strong history of meaningful partnerships, and this is an exciting new pathway to help craft unique learning experiences for students, from both the U.S. and BVI, at the undergraduate and graduate levels while expanding our commitment to helping managers make science based decisions to better steward our natural systems,” says COLSA Dean Anthony S. Davis.
Two HLSCC alumni from the BVI, Creightanya Brewley and Nia Jeffers, will be joining UNH’s marine biology master’s program in fall 2021. Brewley currently works with the BVI National Trust NPTVI and Jeffers manages the mangrove nursery for HLSCC.
“If there is an upside to COVID, it’s that it demanded us to innovate our teaching approaches and has truly opened up pathways for broadening the reach (and accessibility) of education,” says Moore. “A meaningfully shared course between our institutions is absolutely possible and we are eager to deliver.”