New staff members expand Coalition science and outreach programs
The Buzzards Bay Coalition is pleased to welcome four new staff members to our team: Rebecca Vasa, Maureen Thomas, Christine Gurdon, and Claudia Geib. With a variety of backgrounds and a wealth of experience, these new staff will help the Coalition continue to supply high-quality science and engage more people in Southeastern Massachusetts with their corner of Buzzards Bay.
Rebecca Vasa joins the Coalition as Outdoor Exploration Manager, leading outdoor programs for adults, families, and children across the region. Rebecca has a master’s in hydrology from Imperial College London, and most recently managed public programs for The Trustees on Martha’s Vineyard.
After describing her new job to others, Rebecca discovered many of her friends and families had a connection to Buzzards Bay they didn’t even know about. “The more I talk to people, the more I realize so many people have a fond memory or connection with Buzzards Bay,” she said. “It’s so important that we protect the waters and land of Buzzards Bay for wildlife and people, and all future generations — allowing them access to clean water and a healthy bay, and the opportunity to create those fond memories too.”
After a career working with the U.S. Geological Survey and local town governments — most recently as a conservation agent on the South Shore — Maureen Thomas has found her way to the Coalition as Water Resource Specialist, managing the Coalition’s nitrogen-reducing wastewater demonstration projects. These projects include installing new septic systems that prevent nitrogen-laden wastewater from leaking into the Bay’s harbors, coves, and rivers. Maureen is also overseeing the installation of a permanent boat waste pumpout facility on Cuttyhunk Harbor.
For Maureen, this work is a way to protect clean water around the South Coast and her home of Falmouth, which she loves to explore through cycling, kayaking, running, and swimming. “It’s been a very meaningful and fulfilling career path to give back to something that has given me so much,” she said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and very excited to be a part of the Coalition’s amazing team that gets so much done to improve Buzzards Bay and the entire watershed.”
With a master’s degree in marine science from Stony Brook University, Research Assistant Christine Gurdon works on the Coalition’s research and monitoring projects, continuing a lifelong love for the water and the animals that call it home. She says she became passionate about the science behind healthier waters growing up on Long Island Sound, where her days “revolved around the water” and where she learned her favorite sports of wakeboarding and slalom water skiing.
Like Buzzards Bay, Christine says everyone living around Long Island Sound “probably couldn’t imagine their life without it.”
“I got that same vibe with Buzzards Bay — everyone who lives close to it absolutely loves it and would hate to see its demise,” she said. “Working on a water body that people are connected to makes it that much more enjoyable, because they want to get involved and truly help make change happen.”
Claudia Geib joins the Coalition to lead the Discover Buzzards Bay initiative, which connects people all around Buzzards Bay with new places to go and things to do. Claudia has a background in environmental science and science journalism, most recently through a master’s degree in science writing from MIT. Her first love, however, has always the ocean, from her childhood wandering tide pools to days spent swimming, scuba diving, and sailing today.
“I became interested in science writing because it gave me a way to tell important, untold stories about our environment and help people realize what still needs to be done to protect it,” Claudia said. “I’m excited to use those skills on a more local, focused level, helping people connect with the beautiful places in their own backyard. Making those personal connections are one of the best tools we have to protect Buzzards Bay for future generations.”
Please join us in welcoming Rebecca, Maureen, Christine, and Claudia, and keep an eye out for these four new staff members all over the Bay this summer!