Living the Dream about the Seagrass Lady

November 7, 2018 | Posted in: Achievements, Coastal activities, Conservation, intertidal zone, Plants, Seagrass

“Living the Dream about the Seagrass Lady” by Steve Reynolds
During the 1980s, I was given a copy of a Reader’s Digest article about a “Seagrass Lady” called Anitra Thorhaug who was pioneering transplanting of seagrass to restore degraded habitat. Her work was something that I aspired to back then. Now, 30 years later, I am ‘living the dream’ and doing my part.

A seagrass transplant site in the Port River

(Taken by Steve Reynolds)

Whilst taking part in seagrass replanting recently, I recalled my being inspired by “The Seagrass Lady”. I would have loved to have found my copy of the Reader’s Digest article about Anitra Thorhaug, but that may be difficult for me.
I was, however, able to find details about Anitra Thorhaug online simply by searching for “seagrass+lady+replanting”. My search led me to Coast Guard by Ali Benjamin. The article provided me with Anitra’s name, which I recognised from the 1980s article.
“Coast Guard” describes how Anitra “travels the world restoring coastal ecosystems by planting seagrasses that “heal the Earth from underwater.” I am so pleased to now be able to emulate Anitra in some small way by assisting in some seagrass monitoring in the Port River and also helping with some seagrass transplanting as part of the Port River Shellfish Restoration Project

A seagrass transplant site in the Port River

(Taken by Steve Reynolds)

According to “Coast Guard”, Anitra Thorhaug, now in her 60s, has been restoring coastal ecosystems all over the world for nearly five decades: –
“Dubbed the “seagrass lady” by colleagues at the United Nations Environmental Programme, Thorhaug has left her mark on five continents.”
According to Wikipedia, “Anitra Thorhaug is an American marine biologist, plant ecophysiologist and a chemical oceanographer whose extensive work on the rehabilitation of coastal ecosystems has had a substantial influence on national and international policies on conservation around the world.”
“Thorhaug received the United Nations Environmental Program Gold Medal in 1982, was included in the UNEP Global 500 list in 1987, received the Earth Trustee Award from UNCED in 1991 and was featured in UNEP’s Who’s Who Women in Environment in 2006.”

(The header photo was taken by Kym Murphy)

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

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