March 27, 2018

Lake Michigan

The summer after third grade my paternal grandparents drove my sister and I from our home in Michigan, across the country, to British Columbia to visit my maternal grandparents for a month. My mom’s parents lived on a tiny island off of Vancouver and we spent our days digging for oysters, exploring tide pools, jumping on kelp bulbs, running through waves and sailing the seas. It was a magical!

During that month I developed a deep affection for the ocean, and a seed was planted that would grow into a passion for protecting the natural world.

In the years that followed, I anxiously awaited every trip to a Great Lake or the ocean like a child waiting for Christmas morning to arrive. I longed to play in the waves and search the wrack lines for treasures.

Big Pine Key, FLIn college I took a field ecology course in the Bahamas and I fell in love with snorkeling, which was far more enjoyable than being on land with the ravenous swarms of no-see-ums, and I knew that I had to find a career that would allow me to continue to explore the ocean.

And I found that career. My first job after college was as a science instructor at the Newfound Harbor Marine Institute in the Florida Keys, it was here that I realized what I wanted to do with my life… to enjoy the ocean, learn as much about it as possible, and share my knowledge and passion with others.

Baba Dioum said "In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught." And so I teach what I love as a way to inspire others to protect the ocean.

Bay of FundyMy love for the ocean and for traveling has taken me all over the world. From South America to Thailand, and the Bay of Fundy (my summer home for 13 years) to Antarctica. The ocean calls me, and I answer as often as I can.

As I write this from home in Denver, I have never lived so far from a Great Lake or an ocean, but when I close my eyes I can recreate the sensory journey of being at sea. I can see the soothing tones of the blue and green water, I can hear the sounds of squawking sea birds and waves crashing, I can smell the salty sea air (which is dimethyl sulfide by the way), I can feel the ocean breeze and the spray of water kissing my face, and if even for just a few minutes, I can escape to the sea.

Cuverville Island Antarctica

Currently, I’m developing marine science curriculum for Ocean First Education. Developing curriculum may not sound super exciting, but I’m a nerd for the ocean and I love working with middle school students, so I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing (aside from actually being in the ocean of course).

As E.E. Cummings wrote “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”

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