Hello, Okaloosa County! I’m Laura Tiu, the Okaloosa County Extension Office’s new Sea Grant Marine Agent. I recently moved here from Ohio and am relishing exploring, living and working in the beautiful panhandle of Florida.
In Ohio, I worked for 16 years as director of Ohio State University’s Aquaculture Extension Program. I developed programs and provided training for over 200 fish farms in the state. I researched social issues in aquaculture, including determining the best ways to transfer information to fish farmers.
However, my first love has always been marine biology. I received my undergraduate degree in Marine Biology from Silliman University in the Philippines, where I enjoyed scuba diving and helped develop some of the earliest marine preserves in the country. I look forward to developing new, innovative marine science programs in Okaloosa County.
One of my first initiatives will be to collaborate with county officials to implement the grant-funded Sea Turtle Lighting Project coordinated by the county. I will educate our citizens about the benefits of installing sea turtle friendly lighting on their beachfront properties. Additionally, I will assist with activities at the popular Marine Camp held July 20-24 at Camp Timpoochee. Finally, I plan to develop an aquaponics community of practice in the near future.
I feel fortunate to be able to contribute to the valuable programs that Extension has offered for over 100 years. Please do not hesitate to contact me or the Okaloosa County Extension office at 689-5850 for information on our programs, or if you think there is a need int he community I can help with.