‘Waterlust’ Whets Appetite of Florida Outdoor Writers

Creator and director of Waterlust, Patrick Rynne, wins grad student scholarship

Patrick Rynne
Patrick Rynne (center) along with Waterlust team members Fiona Graham (left) and Jennah Caster (right) filming at Deans Blue Hole in Long Island, Bahamas. Credit: Patrick Rynne

MIAMI- June 19, 2013 --University of Miami (UM) Applied Marine Physics graduate student and creator/director of Waterlust, Patrick Rynne is a 2013 recipient of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association (FOWA) Scholarship for Outdoor Communicators. Waterlust, a student run project aimed at bringing marine science, art and sport together through online film and photography, explores how people relate to water for recreation, scientific research and creative inspiration. Together with UM Marine Affairs & Policy graduate student Fiona Graham and alumnus Jennah Caster, Rynne produces short films and instructional videos that have drawn hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.

“Science does not have to be so confined,” says Rynne. “The rigidity that embodies the scientific process, although important to ensuring quality results, also stifles creativity and the innate human desire for self-expression. If we can empower scientists to tell their stories and communicate their work in ways that appeal to the general public, then everybody wins. The science gets more attention, the public is inspired, and the scientists are able to use a blank canvas on which they can -- and should -- draw outside the lines.”

So far Waterlust has produced 18 videos on a broad range of topics that include surfing in Cuba, the Coriolis effect, rip current safety, and shark conservation. By utilizing popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, they are creating an ever-growing audience of water lovers. All of their video work is shot entirely with point-and-shoot GoPro Hero cameras, an approach meant to show people that they can make something beautiful without expensive equipment.

“Patrick has established his own funding resources, recruited other members of the scientific community to participate, and coordinates a multitude of projects all over the world,” said UM Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science Professor and Faculty Adviser Ad Reniers. “It is his drive to innovate and his ability to communicate and manage resources that suggest to me that Patrick will continue to contribute great things throughout his career.”

Devan Coffaro, a junior at the University of Central Florida Nicholson School of Communication also won a FOWA scholarship for her work. The two winners were selected from among a record 25 entries for this year’s scholarship competition.

About the Florida Outdoor Writers Association
Chartered in 1946, FOWA is a not-for-profit, statewide paid professional communicators organization, made up of outdoor communicators who report and reflect upon Florida’s diverse interests in the outdoors to educate and encourage the public in ways to protect and conserve our natural heritage. Members cover a variety of outdoor topics including, fishing, hunting, boating, conservation, and all aspects of the environment. They are freelance writers, book authors, columnists, publishers, editors, broadcasters in radio and television, photographers, videographers, artists, illustrators, Web site designers, writers, editors, public information officers and public relations professionals.

About the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School
The University of Miami is the largest private research institution in the southeastern United States. The University's mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940's, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit

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