Minnesota Sea Grant Welcomes New Water Resources Extension Educator
“We are excited to have Hilarie join our extension team and are looking forward to having her water resources expertise to draw upon for our program,” said Amy Schrank, MNSG extension program leader and fisheries and aquaculture extension educator. “Several of our extension educators focus on inputs to water like nitrogen, phosphorus, and stormwater. Hilarie will be focusing on how those inputs affect water ecosystems.”
Sorensen will be responsible for developing extension and outreach programming about water resources of Lake Superior and Minnesota’s inland lakes and streams, delivering that programming to Minnesota communities, and evaluating the impact of those programs. Examples include water quality issues such as pollution, lake debris, aquatic invasive species, harmful algal blooms, and contaminants of emerging concern.
“I value Sea Grant at the local level here in Minnesota and at the national level because the staff from Sea Grant programs interact with people and the environment at all different scales and across disciplines to provide people with quality science, extension education and outreach to meet their needs,” Sorensen said.
Sea Grant is not new to Sorensen. Notably, she brings prior experience as a MNSG climate change extension educator. Her familiarity with Minnesota and water science extends to her roles with the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve as a special projects coordinator and with the 1854 Treaty Authority as a climate biologist.
Raised around Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, Sorensen has a profound connection with water. Her background includes exploring large-scale ecosystem dynamics in the Northeast Pacific Ocean and conducting monitoring programs in small water bodies near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
“It is wonderful to welcome Hilarie back to Sea Grant and we look forward to her expertise and experience benefiting the communities we serve,” said MNSG Director John A. Downing.
Given the diverse water resources in Minnesota, from Lake Superior to inland lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands, Sorensen acknowledged the challenges posed by aquatic invasive species, algal blooms, microplastics, and changing environmental conditions. She emphasized the need to identify the program's niche to provide targeted assistance without spreading resources too thin.
“Minnesota is not called the land of 10,000 lakes for nothing!” said Sorensen. “I have always enjoyed working at the intersection of science, policy and education and am excited to be part of the Sea Grant network.”
Minnesota Sea Grant is a systemwide program of the University of Minnesota and one of 34 federal-university Sea Grant partnerships across the country that bring applied water science to communities.
- MNSG has staff on the Duluth and St. Paul campuses. Our extension educators, researchers and communicators work with community members, local decision-makers, policy leaders, and personnel from resource agencies, business and industry to enhance the use and conservation of Great Lakes and Minnesota’s inland water resources to create strong and sustainable economies, healthy environments, and resilient and inclusive communities.
- MNSG is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Sea Grant Program, which supports 34 similar programs in coastal states throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Sea Grant receives funding through the NOAA - Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the University of Minnesota. MNSG partners with local, statewide, regional, and national programs and organizations and is an integral member of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network.
Hilarie Sorensen, Water Resources Extension Educator, Minnesota Sea Grant, University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Duluth, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy Schrank, Extension Program Leader and Fisheries and Aquaculture Extension Educator, Minnesota Sea Grant, University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Duluth, email@example.com.
John A. Downing, Director, Minnesota Sea Grant, University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Duluth, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marie Thoms, Communications Manager, Minnesota Sea Grant, University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Duluth, email@example.com.