Staff profiles: Sandra Enness
Sandra Enness is the communications manager for Michigan Sea Grant Extension, located in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
"You have to kind of look at the uniqueness of the Great Lakes," she said. "We have different issues than oceanside communities. We don’t deal with hurricanes, we don’t deal with tsunamis, but we deal with a lot of other issues."
Michigan Sea Grant is a cooperative program of MSU and the University of Michigan. Part of a national network known as the National Sea Grant College Program, Michigan Sea Grant includes a network of six extension educators who are located in coastal communities around the state.
"My job is to tell the stories about what they're doing and how they're impacting the lives of people in the districts that they serve," Enness said.
"It's not unusual for one of them being invited to present at a township hall meeting or be invited to come and speak to something going on in the Michigan House or Senate, doing something with a school, or other community group who just wants more information about a particular topic that deals with their community," she said.
An extension educator in the Upper Peninsula works with tribal fishing communities and commercial fishing people. An extension educator located in Detroit develops greenways — open spaces such as habitats and trails along the Detroit River and western Lake Erie that link parks, nature reserves, cultural features and historic sites with each other — and blueways — a river version of a greenway for canoes, kayaks and small boats.
Enness communicates with the extension educators and writes about the work that they are doing. She also helps them plan small conference meetings and helps run informational booths at events such as winter sports fishing and travel shows.
"It's just a really broad program," Enness said. "When I came to Sea Grant, I didn’t realize that it was as diverse as it is."