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Summer Intern Davonte Douglas connects environmental science and social justice

September 9, 2021
Davonte Douglas seen here with the special cinder blocks used to create "living breakwaters". Blocks are built up and set with oysters creating living shoreline protection from erosion while also offering critical habitat for marine species.

Davonte Douglas was an intern working at the Horn Point Laboratory in Dr. Matt Gray's lab this summer. Entering his Junior year at Howard University, Davonte is an Environmental Science major with a keen interest in the intersection between environmental science and social justice.  A resident of the eastern shore, Davonte's home is just upriver from HPL in Preston, Maryland.

This summer, Davonte was helping Matt construct 'living breakwaters', which consist of special cinder blocks (seen in the tank) that are set with oysters and deployed to provide shoreline protection. Using this technique, the team, which also includes Dr. William Nardin and Graduate Research Assistant Iacopo Vona, hopes to build several experimental reefs at HPL that will be studied over the next several years. 

When not conducting fieldwork or in the laboratory, Davonte is spearheading a research paper that argues how socioeconomically vulnerable communities should be prioritized to receive sustainable forms of blue infrastructure- such as living breakwaters!