Flashback Friday Part 1: LMC’s Connections to the Past

Flashback Friday Part 1: LMC’s Connections to the Past

We have become the adults from our childhood dreams – a phrase many adults do not get to utter, but for several Loggerhead volunteers and staff members we are able to say this with pride. Each one of the volunteers and staff members below had a connection to Loggerhead before becoming a part of the Loggerhead team and for a few their connection stemmed from a childhood visit.


(Pictured Above: Eleanor Fletcher observing an educational sea turtle. Photo Credit: Thomas Dickinson)

*Practices displayed in photos are consistent with protocol and regulations of the time the photo was taken.

Anja Burns | Campus Founder, Photographer, and Giftstore Volunteer

Before Eleanor Fletcher opened Loggerhead Marinelife Center she lived in an apartment in Juno Beach. Although she did not have a formal center she would educate locals on sea turtles through her own informal research observations. At the time, Anja had heard of Eleanor Fletcher through a friend and decided to reach out to Eleanor. Anja was the den mother of her son’s, who is now 47 years old, cub scout group and wanted Eleanor to speak at a meeting. Eleanor came to the next cub scout meeting and taught Anja and ten cub scouts the basics of sea turtle education. Later on, when Anja’s son was twelve, her and her husband started scuba diving. As Anja’s passion for scuba diving and sea turtles grew she decided to learn how to take underwater photos. At one point she attended a lecture taught by a National Geographic underwater photographer who helped her improve her photography skills. Anja decided to sell her underwater photos to help raise money to save the sea turtles. She even attended Sailfish Marina’s art and craft show every week to sell her photos. As the center grew, Anja stayed and volunteered her time in different departments. Although Anja can no longer dive, she still has a passion for photography and sea turtles. Now, Anja can be found in the gift store on Tuesday’s and Thursdays.

(Pictured Right: Anja and Eleanor in 2003.)

Laura Bruce | Rehabilitation Volunteer



“I remember visiting the “old” LMC back in the early 2000’s when there was no railing and visitors could walk right up to the tanks. As knowledge about the care and rehabilitation of rescued sea turtles has grown, so have the regulations. It’s great to see how LMC has developed. It amazes me that the current facility opened in 2007 and how much we need the upcoming expansion.”

(Pictured Left: Laura releasing a rehabilitated sea turtle back into the ocean.)




Hannah Deadman | Public Relations & Communications Coordinator 


“I first heard about Loggerhead Marinelife Center through my alma mater, Palm Beach Atlantic University, which often helped students become involved as volunteers. As a journalism major, one of my assignments during the end of my junior year was to do an informational interview with someone working in my ideal field upon graduation. I was minoring in oceanography and always had a passion for marine biology and ocean conservation. After doing some research, I contacted Kat Rumbley, LMC’s Marketing/Communications Coordinator at the time, and asked to meet her for the interview.

After interviewing Kat, she mentioned LMC’s marketing/communications internship and invited me to apply. I was immediately hooked on the opportunity, and followed up with her after the interview was over. After an interview over the summer, I was chosen to intern with the Marketing department — which lasted for my entire senior year.

Upon graduation, I worked in PBA’s marketing department as the Web Content Producer and continued volunteering at various LMC events, helping with photography and other tasks. Once I heard about an open position in LMC’s Marketing department, I jumped at the chance to apply. I am humbled and excited be a storyteller of this amazing organization and to work with talented and passionate people. Working at LMC as an environmental communicator is incredibly fulfilling — and definitely my dream job!”

(Pictured Right: Kat Rumbley and Hannah Deadman during Hannah’s internship at LMC).


Thomas L. Dickinson | Campus Founder, Photographer, and Rehabilitation Volunteer




In 2001, when he moved to Juno Beach, Thomas received an invitation to attend a Turtle Walk. That night the Turtle Walk group was unable to see a sea turtle lay eggs, but Thomas wanted to become involved. Inspired by the work of the center’s staff and volunteers helping sea turtles, he decided to become a volunteer. Sixteen years later, Thomas still volunteers at the center. Thomas has worked as a rehabilitation volunteer, photographer, and is one of the campus founders. To come full circle, Thomas became a turtle walk volunteer scout and has seen many nesting turtles lay their eggs.

(Pictured Left: Thomas removing a sea turtle from the tank for examination.)





Caitlin Farmer | Associate Director of Finance


“I went to FAU for accounting; I have a passion for numbers and ocean conservation. I am an avid diver and started coming to LMC in 2007 when I first started dating my husband. LMC was one of our first dates and I was so in love with the center and the mission. In 2009 I came to my first turtle release at LMC and knew I wanted to work here some day! When I graduated, I called Kate Fratalia who was running the finance department and asked her what I needed to do to get a job at LMC. She told me to gain more experience doing non-profit accounting and to volunteer for any opportunity I could. In 2009 my husband and I also got engaged. All of our family lived up north and I wanted to pick a venue that could teach our family about ocean conservation and what we were passionate about. I contacted LMC and asked if they would be open to hosting our wedding reception. LMC is such a unique wedding venue and we still get compliments from Family and Friends that it was the best wedding they have ever been to!

Fast forward to 2015, I was still checking LMC’s website quarterly for a position in the finance dept. I wasn’t joking when I said this is my dream job! I had successfully followed Kate’s advice and gained non-profit accounting experience and had a well-rounded resume with civic involvement. In May, a Finance Manager position opened up and I was so excited to have a chance to apply. I got the job and have been loving every minute for over a year now.”

(Pictured Right: Caitlin dancing with her husband at her wedding reception held at LMC.)

Natalie Mroz | Volunteer



“In 1996, I traveled with a group of my students from Ohio to Tortuguero, Costa Rica for an environmental study.  (I’m a retired, seventh-grade history teacher). We took a turtle walk on the beach one night and found a green turtle nesting.  I was hooked!  When I moved to Jupiter at the end of 2012, I was looking for something to do and discovered Loggerhead.  It was a very happy coincidence to find myself living in a sea turtle mecca.  I applied for a volunteer position, and the rest is history.”

(Pictured Left: Natalie and her dad on her trip to Tortuguero.)




Hanna Rubin | Development Assistant 


“As a Jupiter local, I had my first visit to Loggerhead Marinelife Center at a very young age. I was amazed by the beautiful turtles that were several times my size; I loved making connections between the conservation behaviors that my parents were starting to teach me and the impact that they could have on marine life, where I grew up, and all over the world. The older I got, the more I fell in love with the ocean and the species that call it home, and the more I felt myself drawn to LMC. I went from visitor to TurtleFest volunteer to LMC intern before becoming LMC’s Development Assistant, and my passion for Loggerhead’s mission has grown with each step. I feel so lucky to have had Loggerhead in my life since I was just a hatchling, and I am excited to keep my ocean knowledge and love growing at LMC every day!”

(Pictured Right: Hanna during one of her childhood visits to the old center.)


Joe Zavertnik | Rehabilitation & Education Volunteer



“My daughter Mary needed service hours at St. Clare Middle School, when she was twelve. She had visited at the Marinelife Center of Juno Beach (our old name) for a field trip and wanted to do her service hours at the center. We stopped by the center on May 23, 2001 and talked with the curator Larry Woods. Larry said ‘Great, a new volunteer, but Mary you’re too young unless dad volunteers with you.’ After a lot of ‘please dad, please dad will you volunteer so I can volunteer’ I said yes. So father and daughter started volunteering for turtle walks four nights a week. After turtle walk season ended, I stopped by the center on a Saturday in August and saw Jeff Porter in the turtle yard all alone. I asked Jeff if he could use some help and he said yes. That brief conversation with Jeff started my rehab career (feeding turtles, helping give meds, cleaning tanks and turtles, etc.) on Saturday, Sunday and holidays for the next six years. When we moved to the new center in April, 2007, I shifted my efforts from rehab to education. The center’s staff, volunteers and physical location have changed over the years, but its mission has never changed. We humans take a lot from the environment. It’s nice to give something back. I started volunteering on May 26, 2001 and have been a volunteer for fifteen years and counting. That tear in my eye and a warm feeling in my heart when a sea turtle goes home is why I have stayed. I call this photo the “Baron of Bleach,” since my work shorts faded to a light pink from the bleach we used to clean the tanks.”

(Pictured Left: Joe removing a sea turtle from the tank for examination.)