A Seafood Now Bulletin! (Board)

Last week was technically my first full week working at the Florida Aquarium, and the added time definitely made it my most productive week yet. Early on, I was assigned a fun and easy task, update the sustainable seafood bulletin board that resides back of house in a hallway. The boards along this hallway are use for employee education, and the sustainability board had not been updated in about six years! It had been so long that much of the information was outdated, including the suggestions listed as sustainable seafood best choices. Embracing the opportunity to put my arts and crafts skills to the test I quickly jumped on this project! Designing the board was a bit more challenging than I had anticipated, and took about two days to complete. The difficulties I encountered revolved around clearly conveying the importance of sustainable seafood to an audience who may not have heard of these options before, perfect practice for many of the components I will be generating for the outreach initiatives of my project.

Later in the week my supervisor and I were able to meet with the Social Media Manager and Marketing Director to get a better idea of how to implement my project’s outreach initiatives. Throughout these meetings I quickly realized that the aquarium’s image is very carefully is crafted and maintained, and due to the necessity of maintaining a certain image, several pieces of my project proposal are really just not feasible. For instance, I intended to create new social media profiles for the Seafood Now program rather than using the aquarium’s existing accounts, but instead all social media content must be carefully crafted and cleared through the social media manager, and posted to the aquarium’s one profile. We also established the need for a Facts and Questions sheet about sustainable seafood so that the social media manager has reference material to address any questions or comments made by users. The FAQ’s sheet will also be a useful tool to include on Seafood Now’s website, and on the intended postcards and menu inserts that are still in development.

As the weeks quickly pass, I am now afraid that I will not be able to complete the intended month long implementation and monitoring for each initiative. My data samples will unfortunately be short sighted compared to what could have been captured over a four week or longer period of data collection. This experience has already begun to show me the many roadblocks and obstacles that can crop up during project development and implementation. It has also reinforced the validity of a concept we covered several times throughout my sustainability course work, an efficient system is fully connected and works together. While the aquarium’s staff seem very happy with their place of employment, the actual daily operations seem fragmented, chaotic and disjointed. Bringing a little systems thinking style organization to how this place runs could really streamline efficiency, but that’s a whole different project…

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