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Kara Skipper is a Sustainable Fisheries Staffer at the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, via a contract with the Chesapeake Research Consortium.

Number of years working with NOAA: 

2 years

Current location: 

NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, Annapolis, Maryland

Describe your role or a project related to habitat that you are currently working on at NOAA.

I am collaborating with Chesapeake Bay Program partners to conduct a pilot study on forage sampling in nearshore tidal habitats by citizen scientists.

What habitat work has been especially inspiring to you?

The large-scale oyster restoration work in Maryland and Virginia has been incredibly inspiring. Federal, state, and local organizations are joining together to raise spat, develop reefs, and restore the oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to creating and seeding the reefs, there has been a successful and effective effort to educate students and members of the community about the value and role of oysters in the ecosystem.

Describe a time when you were surprised by fish and/or habitat.

While I was an undergraduate, I volunteered with the Marylanders Grow Oysters Program and raised 22 cages of oyster spat off my college’s pier. Although it was encouraging to see the oysters grow as I maintained the cages, the most surprising part about the experience was how much other aquatic life we found in and around the cages. It was wonderful to see how this simple introduction made the water around the cages teem with life.

What person has expanded your understanding or connection to habitat?

My grandfather introduced me to the Chesapeake Bay as a child and would often take me and my siblings fishing and crabbing off the Potomac River. I have fond memories of my whole family spending the day catching white perch, croakers, spot, and blue crabs. These experiences shaped my love of the Chesapeake Bay and instilled a love of the environment in me.