Alum's internship promotes marine sanctuaries

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN GOES NATIONAL

As a travel destination, few places can compete with the national marine sanctuaries, which protect America’s most iconic natural and cultural marine resources.

Last year, the West Coast region of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries wanted to inform the public about tourism and recreation opportunities at the four sanctuaries off the California coast.

That led to an opportunity for Cal State Monterey Bay graduate Ashley Quackenbush. She spent the summer of 2014 as a coastal tourism intern in the sanctuary’s Monterey office.

Quackenbush, who graduated in 2015 with a master’s degree in applied marine and watershed science, landed the paid position through COAST, CSU’s Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology.

Ashley Quackenbush on graduation ay

Ashley Quackenbush

During her 10 weeks at the agency, she planned an innovative campaign to raise awareness about the environmentally friendly activities available to the public. Her “Get Into Your Sanctuary Day”campaign encouraged the public to visit their local sanctuary, take photos and post them on social media using the #visitsanctuaries hashtag. Hundreds of photos were submitted.

“The initial goal of the campaign was to highlight what sanctuaries offered and how the public can use them sustainably, but it turned into something so much more,” Quackenbush said. “We had such a high turnout locally that it inspired our headquarters in D.C. to launch Get Into Your Sanctuary Day nationally.”

Quackenbush is currently working as a research technician with the NASA Ames-CSUMB research cooperative.