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Stranding Conference Comes to Delaware

Suzanne Thurman

Mar 17, 2023

MERR was very proud to host the Greater Atlantic Region Stranding Conference (GARSCON) in Delaware for the first time in history. This year’s conference, held in September, was co-hosted with MD DNR and the National Aquarium. GARSCON is held once a year and is hosted by one or more network member organization(s) on a rotating basis. Regional organizations spanning from Maine to Virginia gather to share and discuss important information, protocols, and regulations aiding in the response, rescue, and rehabilitation of marine mammals in the Mid-Atlantic. The conference also includes NOAA and USFWS representatives, state officials, USCG, Tristate Bird Rescue, researchers, and students and members of the public.

We were very excited to have some of our colleagues from the West Coast in attendance as well.

The 4-day conference was held at the Atlantic Sands in Rehoboth Beach, and included networking meetings and training exercises, as well as scientific presentations and poster sessions. Senator Carper provided some inspirational words to kick off the meeting, and Keynote Speaker John Ososky from the Smithsonian Institution enthralled attendees with his tales of his many years at the National Museum of History. The conference wrapped up at the University of Delaware campus in Lewes with two training workshops on the topics of Volunteer Recruitment and Retention, and Oil Spill and Disaster Preparedness. The latter included a tour of the DelRiver, the oil spill recovery vessel docked across from the campus.

Well over 100 people participated in the week’s events, which provided an important opportunity to bring like-minded experts in the field together, while showcasing all of the wonderful highlights of coastal Delaware. Participants enjoyed visiting the Dogfish Brewery in Milton, riding the Jolly Trolley, taking in the beautiful views from the elegant Salero event center, walking our beautiful beaches, and enjoying our huge selection of restaurants and night spots. We have heard nothing but rave reviews so far. 

We thank all of our volunteers who helped during the event to make everyone’s experience the best that it could be. 

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