The Namibian Dolphin Project | Heidi Etter

Associated Scientists

Heidi Etter, Continental Shelf Associates, Inc.

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I am from the United States and still currently reside there.  In 2010, I did three internships in Africa and the continent captured my heart and made me realize I wanted my professional career to be there.  I have always lived near the ocean so it has always been a part of my life.  When I was 15 years old I started scuba diving and the underwater world has fascinated me ever since.  My bachelor’s degree was in communications and I worked in the theater community for 7 years. I went back to school to get my masters degree in biology and after completing it realized that I could combine my two loves, communications with biology to form a career in marine education.

Professional History

2010-ongoing:  Intern, Intern manager, and now research assistant and community outreach programme director for the Namibian Dolphin Project

2011-ongoing:  Freelance marine mammal observer and passive acoustic monitor for offshore activities (seismic, wind farm construction, underwater explosives)

August 2010: Intern for Mossel Bay Marine Lab

July 2010:  Research assistant for Tanzania Wildlife Programme, helped initiate outreach programmed

2009-2011:  Research assistant for Dr. Robert Rose, Old Dominion University, small mammal trapping

January–May 2009:  Photography intern for Hampton Roads Planning and District Committee

2007-2011:  Old Dominion University-MSc in biology: “Dispersal and orientation of oothecea of the Chinese praying mantis in an old growth field.”

2000-ongoing:  Stagehand and rigger for IATSE stagecraft union

1996-2000:  North Carolina State University-BA in communications with a concentration in theater and mass media.

Research Interests

I am interested in the sociological impacts education and outreach can have on marine conservation. I am also interested in how theater type activities can be incorporated into marine education to bring a more unique and unforgettable learning experience to children and even adults. I believe bringing the most current research available to the public in a manner that they can understand can be a very important conservation tool and what I hope to accomplish with the community outreach programme we are initiating in Namibia. When not working with the outreach programme, I freelance as a marine mammal observer for the offshore community and am interested in the impacts of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals.