Annalisa Batanides recently joined NOAA Fisheries Office of Aquaculture as a Sea Grant Fellow. Annalisa received her J.D. from University of California, Davis School of Law in 2014, earning the Environmental Law Certificate and Public Service Law Certificate. She earned her B.S. from University of California, Davis in 2010. Batanides has worked as a legal clerk for Earthjustice, the Sierra Club and Tri-Valley CAREs. She currently lives in San Francisco with her “amazing boyfriend and the cutest dog in the world.”
1) Where did you grow up and how did your childhood environment and your family shape you?
I grew up in the South Bay Area, about a 20 minute drive from Santa Cruz. My parents both grew up in San Francisco, and both sets of my grandparents still lived in San Francisco while I was growing up. Because of that I spent much of my childhood on the water, whether it was surfing or hanging out at the Santa Cruz beaches, or running or strolling along the San Francisco Coast. At the same time, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house that was located high up in the mountains, surrounded by huge trees and diverse wildlife. I think that all of this combined gave me a huge appreciation for the natural environment and a desire to preserve it for future generations.
2) What sparked your interest in environmental law?
I studied Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning as an undergraduate at UC Davis. This was a fantastic major, because it exposed me to environmental science as well as environmental policy. I realized that as a society we were coming up with many innovative solutions to our most dire environmental problems, but these solutions were not being integrated into our laws and policies. As such, I chose to pursue a career in environmental policy. During my last year as an undergrad, one of my professors suggested I pursue a law degree, because with a detailed knowledge of our laws and regulations I could make greater change. I took her advice and attended UC Davis School of Law, focusing on environmental and public interest law.
3) Is there any particular area of environmental law you focused on in college or that you would like to focus on and why?
During Law School I exposed myself to all areas of environmental law, but increasingly gravitated towards species and resource conservation, climate change, animal law, and environmental justice issues. I think I gravitated towards these disciplines because I see them as the greatest challenges facing my generation, and the greatest opportunities for change.
4) What are your hobbies and interests outside of work and school?
I regularly teach group exercise classes and currently teach U-Jam and BodyPump. I also love spending time in nature, backpacking, running, hiking, whatever! I grew up a dancer and still dance whenever I get the chance. I love painting, reading fantasy novels, and spending as much time as possible with my Jack Russell-Chihuahua mixed pup.
5) Describe what you will be doing with NOAA’s aquaculture program and how you see the Sea Grant Fellowship helping you to achieve your professional goals?
With NOAA’s aquaculture program, I will have the unique opportunity to help shape the future of aquaculture in California. We have a growing population and exponentially increased demand for seafood, so realistically aquaculture is going to expand, either here or elsewhere. I think California has a unique opportunity to shape this growth into the most environmentally sustainable form of food production we’ve seen. If we can create a model that benefits the ecosystem and the human population, California will once again lead the nation in an important environmental issue. I know that my experience working with NOAA’s office of aquaculture will provide me with experience and knowledge to further pursue a career in environmental policy.