Connecting To Diverse Audiences: Jennifer Stock

kevin brannon and son casts off a dock
Jenny Stock. Photo: Ocean Exploration Turst

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary is located entirely offshore. Within its 1,269 square miles, the sanctuary protects soft seafloor habitat, a rocky bank, deep-sea canyons, and communities of wildlife. Jennifer Stock, education and outreach coordinator at the sanctuary, uses her scientific knowledge and interpretation skills to bring this remote, remarkable place to people of all ages through educational programming. This is her Story from the Blue.

The ocean supports our lives - the air that we breathe, the comfortable temperatures on this planet, the water we need in our daily lives, and the sense of peace and calm that is provided by the water around us. The ocean feels like home to me. As an education and outreach coordinator at NOAA's Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, I love helping people learn something new about this place that I value and treasure. There are an infinite amount of stories to share about the ocean that inspire me to keep wanting to do more to help people learn and care about it.

I grew up on Long Island and spent a lot of time on the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean. My mom loved being near the water and my dad was a science teacher and environmental educator, so we did a lot of fun adventures and I learned about nature and ecology through him. Over time I realized the ocean was the place I was most interested in. I studied biology in college and then started working for the National Park Service as an interpreter. I soon realized my passion was for sharing my love of nature and the ocean with other people, so I started developing my career around education and interpretation. Having the opportunity to work for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries was like a dream come true - I have been working for the sanctuary system for about 20 years now!

Jenny Stock presenting to a group of school childern
Jenny Stock is dedicated to teaching children and adults about the wonders of Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Jazzy Dingler/Stewards of Coast and Redwoods
Jenny Stock speaking into a microphone
Photo: Nick Zachar/NOAA

Since the sanctuary is located offshore, people don't really get to experience it up close and in person. Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary provides support and educational resources to several partners in the region, and works with a lot of partners, such as the U.C. Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory and Reserve, to conduct studies on topics like oceanography, deep-sea corals, and ocean acidification. To communicate this work to the public, we focus on bringing the sanctuary to people. We incorporate the findings from our science into permanent exhibits in highly visible locations for diverse audiences, create curriculum and conduct trainings for teachers, do community presentations, social media, and even have a monthly radio program called "Ocean Currents" on the community radio station KWMR to bring ocean science topics to our listeners, which is also a podcast. I hope that the support for the sanctuary continues so we can build out our programs and reach even more people.

I love helping people learn something new about this place that I value and treasure.

When I came to work for Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, I knew that it was a special place but over time started to realize what an amazing place it was for ocean life. The sanctuary is an incredible source of biodiversity that is hard to match in other parts of the world. This place is just so wild and beautiful, and it's my job to help people see its splendor!