The Whale Went Down to Georgia: Whale Week with Cathy Sakas and Paulita Bennit-Martin

N Atlantic right whales head south to Georgia

On this episode, Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham are joined Cathy Sakas and Paulita Bennit-Martin to learn about Whale Week. Now in its third year, Whale Week aims to bring together the coastal communities of Georgia and beyond to educate and engage the public to the plight of the North Atlantic right whale. Paulita Bennit-Martin co-founded Whale Week, and is the field representative of Georgia Campaigns at Oceana, the world's largest ocean conservation organization. Cathy Sakas is a Georgia legend and is know locally as a Swamp Goddess. She previously worked for NOAA Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary where she served as Education Coordinator. During her time at Gray's Reef, she became a submersible pilot and an Aquanaut, having spent nine days in the underwater habitat called Aquarius with three other scientists. Cathy 's story personally intersected with the North Atlantic right whale when she identified the first calf in Georgian waters, expanding science's understanding of their southern range. It's a great conversation with two Georgia legends, only on ASPN!

Peter Ravella & Tyler Buckingham

Peter and Tyler joined forces in 2015 and from the first meeting began discussing a project that would become Coastal News Today and the American Shoreline Podcast Network. At the time, Peter and Tyler were coastal consultants for Pete’s firm, PAR Consulting, LLC. In that role, they worked with coastal communities in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, engaged in grant writing, coastal project development, shoreline erosion and land use planning, permitting, and financial planning for communities undertaking big beach restoration projects. Between and among their consulting tasks, they kept talking and kept building the idea of CNT & ASPN. In almost every arena they worked, public engagement played a central role. They spent thousands of hours talking with coastal stakeholders, like business owners, hotel operators, condo managers, watermen, property owners, enviros, surfers, and fishermen. They dived deep into the value, meaning, and responsibility for the American shoreline, segment-by-segment. Common threads emerged, themes were revealed, differences uncovered. There was a big conversation going on along the American shoreline! But, no place to have it. That's where CNT and ASPN were born.