carlpaulMaster’s students in the Marine Conservation and Policy Program at Stony Brook University will have the unique opportunity of taking a literature course from two of the nation’s leading environmental writers this spring semester.

Dr. Carl Safina, author of six books including Song for the Blue Ocean, and Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish: the Future of the Last Wild Food, will team up with SoMAS Professor Dr. Lesley Thorne to teach Marine Conservation Literature. The course seeks to teach students about how marine science issues have been represented in written works, and the link between literature, our relationship with the oceans, and the decisions we make about ocean conservation.

“Really, we want to leave the students moved and show them how to convey the emotional power of nature and the ocean,” said Greenberg, a best-selling author and winner of the James Beard Award for Writing and Literature.

Coming from different backgrounds, Greenberg as an author and essayist for the New York Times and Safina and Thorne with doctoral degrees in marine ecology, all three instructors share a passion for writing about science and the environment and see the need for communicating marine conservation issues to the broader public.

“Communicating well is important to success in any career,” said Safina, “I have found that anything successful was tied to writing and I saw how powerful that could be.”

The course will provide important skills for students in the MCP program, which aims to train students for positions in government, environmental agencies, consultancy, and non-governmental organizations rather than more traditional research-based scientific positions.

“We want our MCP students to come away from the program with the ability to both understand and effectively communicate marine conservation and policy issues, and this course will contribute nicely to that goal,” said Thorne.

The course will range from pure science writing to narrative non-fiction, and will demonstrate how pieces of writing in marine conservation have made important contributions to the field.

“This course isn’t a writing course, but more a course to help students communicate cogently and passionately about their work,” said Greenberg.

The course will be held on Friday mornings during the spring semester of 2014 and will be offered through the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.