One fellow’s unexpected rise to (social media) royalty

Ariadne Reynolds

At the start of my California Sea Grant State Fellowship, I walked into the State Coastal Conservancy office armed and ready to help restore Southern California’s coastal wetlands. As the fellow for the agency’s South Coast Program, a large part of my work would be to help manage initiatives for the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, a consortium of 18 state and federal agencies who work together to protect and restore the region’s coastal wetlands and watersheds.

Naturally, the first step for an enthusiastic, digital media savvy Sea Grant fellow would be to share her host organization’s Facebook page and website with all of her friends, right?  Well, you can only imagine my shock and horror when I realized that neither the State Coastal Conservancy nor the Wetlands Recovery Project even had a Facebook page! And let’s not even discuss the fact that the Wetlands Recovery Project website was last updated sometime during the Clinton administration. Long story short, this state agency needed a major digital media makeover.

So began the campaign to convince my colleagues—who were extremely busy managing real life on-the-ground restoration partnerships—that virtual partnerships were worth our while. After several social media strategy presentations and memos, I got permission to bring the Coastal Conservancy into the big bad world of social media by creating a Facebook page and Twitter account. I also began working with a small team to build a new Wetlands Recovery Project website so that we could better highlight the amazing restoration projects that we help fund and manage in Southern California.

After months of learning to use the blogging tool WordPress, as well as how to post, like, share, and tweet, the Coastal Conservancy and the Wetlands Recovery Project have joined the digital media movement. We just launched our new Wetlands Recovery Project website that features our projects and partners in interactive and exciting new ways, and we have Facebook and Twitter accounts that keep gaining followers every day.

I’m happy to report that at our Sea Grant Fellow going away party, I was presented with the “Website and Social Media Queen” Award, a distinction that I will cherish throughout my career. Who knew that WordPress and Facebook could catapult you into royalty?

And because a Sea Grant Fellow’s work is never done, please “like” the State Coastal Conservancy and the Wetlands Recovery Project on Facebook, and visit our snazzy new website at

Written by Ariadne Reynolds