How I Sea: Nicole Carone

Source: The TerraMar Project

Photo: Brian Yurasits


Meet Nicole, TerraMar’s new Education Development Intern!

Nicole is 22 years old and has received her bachelor’s degree in Animal And Food Sciences at the University of Delaware (with a minor in Biological and Environmental Studies). She’s currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Marine Conservation and Policy at Stony Brook University while volunteering at The Riverhead Foundation. Nicole hopes to one day work hands on in marine mammal and sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation.

What inspired you to pursue a Master’s Degree in Marine Conservation, and to join TerraMar?

The ocean has always amazed me, its vast unexplored waters are such a mystery.

However, it was my high school marine biology class that really ignited my passion for marine conservation. There I was exposed to the harm we as humans do to our ocean and all its marine organisms. That really inspired me to not only do everything I can but to also educate the public on what they can do to help.

They say if you do something you love you’ll never work a day in your life. By getting my Master’s in Marine Conservation and Policy I will be fortunate enough to be one of those people who never works a day in their life, because I love protecting the marine environment!

When I stumbled across TerraMar, I just knew it was an organization I want to be apart of, especially as the Education Development Intern. The idea of being able to educate the public is the perfect beginning step to my future career.

Not only does TerraMar help me share my knowledge but it also helps open my mind to learn new things about our ocean I would have never encountered on my own.

How I Sea

Nicole aiding in the release of a rehabilitated seal.

What do you think is more important in today’s day and age? More investment in Science to understand mankind’s effect on the ocean, or more investment Actions to mitigate our impact?

Definitely invest in actions to mitigate our impact on the ocean. We have been damaging our ocean for years and although it is important to understand our effect, if we do not start taking action now there will be limited species to study.

Unfortunately, research takes years to fully complete and get accurate results and some of our species do not have years. By taking action now we can at least prevent the spread of anthropogenic effects until we truly understand how we are affecting the oceans.

Do you think young people today are more or less engaged in protecting the health of the planet than older generations (ex: your parents or grandparents).

I think people today are a lot more engaged in protecting the health of our planet then older generations.

It is easy to get into a habit and very difficult to break an old one.

Older generations were not properly educated at a young age on recycling and protecting the health of our oceans. Younger people are brought up in a world where we have begun to incorporate global conservation into our schools’ curriculum.

The fact that younger people tend to be more engaged just shows how education can really affect someone’s attitude towards protecting our planet.

How I Sea

An endangered piping plover. A shorebird species native to Long Island’s beaches in the Summer. Photo: Brian Yurasits

What do you think is the biggest threat to the world’s oceans? 

This has to be the most challenging question to ask. I am going to have to say pollution, although in my opinion climate change is a very close second.  

Pollution is our biggest threat because there are so many different forms that have their own unique impacts.

Plastics get into our waters and instead of breaking down completely they are ingested by animals of all sizes. Loose fishing lines thrown in the ocean get entangled around animals causing mobility problems, foraging difficulties, and possible infections. Chemical pollution from runoff or incidental leaks, such as oil spills, can cause a change in the water quality and may lead to further health complications and diseases.

How I Sea

Photo: Brian Yurasits

What advice would you give to a high school student or undergraduate student looking to enter the field of marine conservation?

My first advice to anyone wanting to get involved in the field of marine conservation is to start volunteering with various aspects of marine life.

The beauty of marine conservation is that there are so many different fields anyone can get involved in. Even if you don’t like being on the water you can still make a dramatic impact through education, beach clean ups, and policy enforcement.

Volunteering allows you to figure out which aspect of conservation you want to be apart of. It also allows you to build connections, build up your resume, get letters of recommendations and may help for future employment.

What’s the easiest way for someone who’s passionate about the ocean to get involved in conservation?

Stop using all plastic! The easiest plastic to avoid is plastic straws. They are so incredibly harmful to the environment and its very simple to just say no.

Even one person not using straws can make a difference. If you just enjoy straws as opposed to drinking glasses there are many different types of reusable straws you can invest in! Other ways to reduce plastic are investing in reusable bags, utensils and water bottles. Personally, I always carry around my reusable straw, utensils and water bottle and  I actually get compliments on it all the time!

How I Sea is a new effort by The TerraMar Project to dive into the minds of our global ocean community. We highlight opinions on conservation issues such as: marine pollution, overfishing, drilling, climate change, marine protected areas, scientific discoveries, and much more. Stay tuned for more.

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