2016 Go Blue Awards – Blue Friend Finalists
Dr. Derek Burkholder PH.D. – Research Associate
Bio: Derek grew up in Michigan spending a lot of his childhood exploring the woods and spending time on the water (though slightly less salty water than he deals with now). His love for the outdoors and the water started early and on a family vacation to Florida when he was 8, went on a marsh tour with a marine biologist. From that day on he had his mission!
He received his Bachelors degree from Albion College in Albion, Michigan and during that time was first introduced to the amazing world of shark research. After graduation he moved to Florida as a Research Scientist at MOTE Marine Lab for a year before starting his graduate studies. Derek received his PhD from Florida International University in 2012 and is currently working as a Research Associate as part of the Guy Harvey Research Institute and Save Our Seas Shark Center at Nova Southeastern University.
His work at Nova will be focused around building a local shark tagging program in South Florida where we will study shark movements, shark diets, genetic population structure, and will also provide an opportunity for local residents and school kids to participate in the research, and to tag and learn about sharks in the field.
Dr. Derek Burkholder has been has been working in the world of shark and sea turtle ecology and conservation for over a dozen years. He received his Bachelors degree from Albion College in Albion, Michigan. During that time, he was first introduced to the amazing world of shark research. After graduating, he moved to Florida as a Research Scientist at MOTE Marine Laboratory for one year before starting his graduate studies. Derek traveled to Shark Bay, Western Australia for his PhD research and received his PhD from Florida International University in 2012.
Derek is currently working as a Research Scientist as part of the Guy Harvey Research Institute and Save Our Seas Shark Center at Nova Southeastern University. He has assisted Dr. Harvey with all aspects of shark research, including tracking and data analysis. His work at Nova focuses on building a local shark tagging program in South Florida where he is studying shark movements, shark diets, genetic population structure. He is instrumental in educational outreach programs and organizes periodic shark tagging expeditions for the general public, including children as young as eight years of age. The children have the opportunity for a very hands-on experience on these expeditions. They place hooks in the bait, let out the line, and drop the weight. When the sharks are reeled in, the children measure them, take DNA samples, and place the tags in the dorsal fins. It is an extremely exciting and unforgettable experience for everyone, especially the children.
Derek is most interested in predator-prey behavioral interactions and the impact those relationships have on the structure of marine communities and prey populations. He closely examines shark community dynamics, foraging patterns, and habitat use and the movement of shark communities in South Florida and Australia. He visits classrooms in person or via Skype to engage children with sharks and sea turtles. He promotes conservation of all marine species and is the author of dozens of publications.
Derek serves as the Vice President of Sharks4Kids Inc, an educational non-profit organization working to bring shark education and conservation to kids of all ages around the world. He organizes numerous dives and snorkeling trips with sharks for students of all ages. He makes presentations on behalf of Sharks4Kids that stress the need to protect these animals, and supports their functions throughout the country. The goal is to make the future generation one of shark advocates by giving them access to a wide range of educational materials. A curriculum can be provided to Science classrooms as well as games and activities. Shark photography and videos from scientists and conservationists exemplify the ocean’s beauty with students and bring another dimension to the classroom.
Derek is also the Primary Investigator with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program at Nova, monitoring 24 miles of sea turtle nesting habitat in Broward County. Additionally, he serves as the Director of the Marine Environmental Education Center at the Carpenter House in Hollywood Florida. He also organizes private and public turtle hatchling releases throughout the summer. A one-hour presentation by a sea turtle expert is followed by the release of more than a hundred, on average, hatchlings. Through Derek’s efforts, hundreds of thousands of individuals have been able to witness this miraculous event each summer.
He has allowed Wild Over Wildlife, a non-profit conservation organization, to have private hatchling releases for its members each summer. These releases were held on a donation only basis in order to engage hundreds of students and their families with sea turtles. Derek also served as the primary consultant on the organization’s award-winning short documentary, “The Real Shark Attack” which will be followed up this year by “Tag”, another film on shark conservation, where he has given his time freely in order to assist the children. His wealth of knowledge has been priceless. Dr. Derek Burkholder has devoted his life to raising awareness about the ocean. He works and volunteers as one of its most important conservationists.
I would like to nominate Dr. Derek Burkholder, PH.D. for Blue Ambassador of the year. Derek Is the Lead Scientist & Education Coordinator of the Sharks4Kids Organization. Sharks4Kids is an organization that’s goal is to create a new generation of shark advocates through games, activities, and experiences and to get more shark education in the schools through the teachers and groups. S4K also offers first hand experiences to children in south Florida to learn on a boat along with shark scientists and experts. He is a resident of south Florida and works hard to educate our youth on the importance of sharks. Dr. Derek’s main job as Research Associate with the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences at NOVA Southeastern doesn’t stop him from using the Sharks4 Kids Organization as an outlet to reach youth and get them excited to learn about, understand, and want save sharks. On Dr. Burkholder’s spare time, he also attends, speaks at and participates in many events such as Shark Con reaching out to thousands of children.
Derek’s work at NOVA Southeastern University has allowed him to partner up with Guy Harvey to further educate the community about the importance of sharks. They offer ages 8 and up to go on shark tagging trips, the participants are literally a part of the science while on the boat doing the work such as baiting, letting out line, pulling it in and actually helping tag. I had the opportunity to be on a shark tagging trip with Dr. Derek Burkholder and it was the most exciting thing that I have done so far in my years of citizen science work, I’m only 15 but it made me want to do that forever. I was contacted by Time Magazine to be a “Kid Hero For the Planet” this year and when I had an interview with them, the main thing they wanted to publish about was my shark experience because of how I lit up talking about my time with Dr. Derek. I KNOW that he deserves this award because he is doing exactly what he says he wants to do in creating a new generation of shark advocates…I am proof as well as other Blue Awards Youth recipients that I work with! Please consider him for the Blue Ambassador of the Year for His Sharks4Kids work and also the Blue Friend for his work with NOVA and Guy Harvey.
Executive Summary: Experienced professional with significant success in diverse corporate and small business environments. Personally committed to identifying and exceeding goals through effective leadership, strategic planning, sales acumen, empowered teams, technology, communication and strong organizational skills.
Founder and President Aug ’14 to present
Friends of Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, FL
– Founded and run a non-profit (501c3) that cleans the beaches to remove trash and unnatural debris and to educate the community on the effects of ocean trash, litter and debris on our environment and marine life.
– Host monthly volunteer events as well as manage a weekday small, paid crew consisting of The Lord’s Place clients.
Palm Beach First Financial & Mortgage, West Palm Beach, FL
– Manage and organized client files and correspondence. Performed Processor duties for client loans.
Executive Assistant Mar ’11 to Dec ’12
TomorrowVentures LLC, Palo Alto, CA
– Acted as liaison and gatekeeper for Managing Partner with a vast network of exclusive contacts with limited supervision in a satellite working environment.
– Communicated extensively with high profile contacts, portfolio companies and various Boards of Directors on behalf of the Managing Partner of this Venture Capital company.
Manager, Thrift Store Aug ’10 to Jan ’11
The Lord’s Place, West Palm Beach, FL
– Managed all aspects of the retail store including employees, donations, sales effort and community outreach.
Executive Associate Jan ’06 to July ’10
Wells Fargo, Family Wealth (Calibre, Wachovia pre-merger), Palm Beach, FL
– Coordinated with management and team in all facets of business development for the Calibre brand in the ultra high net worth market.
– Managed all facets of opening the office and continued maintenance.
– Actively involved in community and charitable events as representative of our department.
Executive Sales Manager June ’05 to Oct ’05
Trubamboo LLC, West Palm Beach, FL
– Marketed and sold bamboo house ware products to wholesale customers.
– Built and strategized internal systems to focus on long-term goals of company with focus on productivity, customer service and high quality products and distribution.
Personal Assistant, Private Family Office Feb ’05 to June ’05
JPBK Holdings, Inc., Palm Beach, FL
– Organized and maintained all facets of the family office. Supported individual in his multiple Chairman, Board positions and committee roles with varied non-profit organizations, both on Palm Beach and Rhode Island.
Client Services, Health Care Advisor Sept ’04 to Jan ’05
Health Source Associates, LLC, West Palm Beach, FL
– Successfully managed sales team while creating and maintaining department infrastructure.
Client Services, Sales Manager Aug ’02 to Nov ’03
Communicator Inc., White Plains, NY
– Built successful relationships with Securities dealers and top Institutional buy-side accounts.
– Educated and trained securities professionals and Investment Banking professionals on the messaging systems.
– Was instrumental in expanding the customer base to Canada, London and Tokyo.
Renegade Volunteer Sept ’01 to Feb ’02
Ground Zero Relief Effort, New York, NY
– Solicited, organized and transported needed supplies for relief effort to FEMA, OSHA, NYPD, FDNY, Salvation
Army and Red Cross, totaling over $5 million in donated items.
– Co-Founded a toy drive with the NY Rangers, the Santa Cause Project, and handled all aspects of the event for all children who lost a parent on September 11th.
Executive Recruiter Apr ’98 to Mar ’02
The Horizon Group, New York, NY
– Built and maintained relationships with Executives at top U.S. and Foreign Investment Banking firms.
– Recruited, marketed and placed qualified candidates in diverse trading positions, i.e. Corporate Bond Trading Head, Emerging Market sales.
– Day to day interaction with CEOs, Deputy CEOs, Executive Vice Presidents and Managing Directors.
– Handled highly confidential information and maintained discretion throughout each interview process.
– Negotiated employee contracts and compensation packages for top level professionals.
Institutional Money Market Sales/Corporate Bond Trader Sept ’87 to May ’96
CS First Boston Corporation, New York, NY and Chicago, IL
– Advanced career internally in Institutional Taxable Fixed Income Securities.
– Successfully transitioned from an assistant position to a formal trading position then into sales.
State University College, Oneonta, NY May 1987
BS, Major: Business Economics. Minor: Accounting and Business Communications
– Board President, West Palm 100, young professionals giving back. June 2008 to June 2010
– Board Member, West Palm 100. June 2004 to December 2011
– Board Member, Wild Dolphin Project, dolphin research in Bahamas. August 2008 to March 2009
– Board Member, Taras Oceanographic, dolphin research in PB County. 2006 to 2008
– Board Member, Homeless Coalition, homeless advocacy. 2008
– Founding Board Member, Young Friends of the Marshall Foundation, Everglades’ restoration. 2008-2009
– Committee Member, SleepOut to End Homelessness, The Lord’s Place, 2007 to 2010
I am an avid SCUBA diver and environmentalist active in local efforts to manage and protect our natural world. I have
planned, helped plan and hosted many successful fundraising events for local non-profit organizations.
I would like to nominate and recommend my dear friend Diane Buhler to be a recipient of the 2016 Blue Friend of the Year Award. We have known each other since 2002, when we met through mutual scuba diving acquaintances. Right away, I knew Diane and I would be life-long friends as we both share an immense passion for our oceans as well being proactive ambassadors to many worldwide marine conservation efforts. Over the years, Diane’s energy never ceases to stop when it comes to conservation, she has hosted a Conservation International event alongside Sylvia Earle in NY to raise funds for conservation, she was a previous board member for the Taras Oceanographic Foundation, she started the Friends of the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation and has volunteered countless hours and ran the West Palm 100, held successful Great American Clean Up days, collected thousands of plastic caps cleaned, sorted and donated to the charity ‘Caps of Love’, She has assisted me with a Shark Savers (now a part of WILD AID) sharks count program off Palm Beach and has been a longtime supporter of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center.
In 2013, Diane saw a huge need for help on the beaches of Palm Beach. Through her own volunteer efforts of cleaning enormous sections of beach of ocean pollution, she decided follow her heart, narrow her efforts and focus on the trash and ADOPT Palm Beach via SWA’s Adopt a Spot. One year later, Diane was IRS approved after filing for a non-profit, when she founded Friends of Palm Beach and has since hosted 53 volunteer events totaling over 5,500 man hours and removed over 30,000+ pounds of trash (no seaweed)! With the ongoing mission “to clean the beaches of Palm Beach to remove trash, liter and unnatural debris and to educate the community on the effects of this on our environment” 1 was immediately impressed by Diane’s diligence, hard work, total commitment and appreciation of the marine environment and everyone who volunteers for this cause. Diane has demonstrated a great effort that is making a difference not only on the beaches and marine environment, but also in local communities with the addition of her crew. Her crew is made up of less fortunate, homeless individuals from the “Lord’s Place, an organization that aids homeless families and individuals struggling with homelessness. She has given a chosen few the rare opportunities to work, learn and appreciate our precious marine environment.
It is a great pleasure to support my friend and outstanding ambassador of the marine environment for this well-deserved honor.
Dear Sir/Madame of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center:
I am writing today to endorse or “second” the nomination of Diane Buhler of Friends of Palm Beach for the 2016 Blue Friend of the Year Award submitted by Tanya G Burnett. I met Diane through the Marshall Foundation around 2006-7, when she started the Friends of the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation. Since then I have witnessed Diane’s ongoing contribution of countless volunteer hours for many important conservation efforts in our immediate area: Listed previously in Tanya’s nomination letter. I love Diane’s love for nature, strong work ethic, persistence and determination to help keep out waterways clean of debris that kill mother nature’s critters :). She evokes total commitment and appreciation of the marine environment and everyone who volunteers for this cause. It is a great pleasure to support my friend an outstanding ambassador of the marine environment for this well-deserved honor.
Dr. Thomas Chesnes
I have known and worked with this dedicated and inspirational educator and researcher since 2002, and think that he is an excellent candidate for this award. Growing up in Florida, Tom became interested in coastal ecosystems/estuaries and the environment at an early age, focused on learning about local flora and fauna. He realized that coastal and estuarine studies provided critical and foundational information for conservation. Study of the entire ecosystem, instead of species by species research, provided more complete information on the interaction of communities with the environment. For instance, in order to understand conservation of the unique Everglades ecosystem and its coastal shores, Tom felt it was critical to study the interaction between fresh water flowing off the land into surrounding marine systems.
Not only has Tom’s extensive research into ecosystems and life history of flora and fauna provided scientifically-based life history and environmental information, but he has taken the next step through educational efforts, and working with managing agencies to apply this information for the benefits of both marine (and fresh water) conservation. He has researched seagrass communities for years in J. D. MacArthur State Park, Lake Worth Lagoon, and Florida Bay. Seagrasses are part of the base of the food chain and provide food, habitat and mating/nesting sites for large numbers of estuarine and coastal marine fishes and invertebrates, as well as sea turtles and manatees. In-shore areas, including seagrasses and mangroves provide detritus that in turn feed offshore coral and worm reefs. Tom’s long time efforts also include studies of a number of individual species, some of which inhabit or utilize seagrass beds, such as red and gray snappers, Gulf killifish, other marine fish, and mangrove saltmarsh snakes. The ecology of fresh water greater sirens (an important but little-studied amphibian) and the threats posed by invasive Burmese pythons were included in studies of the freshwater Everglades environments. His research into beach re-nourishment and salinity, spatial and temporal patterns in submerged macrophyte communities in Florida Bay added greatly to conservation knowledge and improved resource management efforts.
Besides conducting research projects, Tom has influenced thousands of people concerning the importance of conservation and ecosystems through volunteer projects, teaching, research and field trip activities involving students from middle school, high school and college. Through these efforts, he has developed close working relationships with staff and managers at several parks, refuges, and natural areas. Tom’s data has influenced a number of managing agencies including: South Florida Water Management, J. D. MacArthur Beach State Park, Grassy Waters, ARM Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida Dept of Environmental Protection, Palm Beach County ERM, and more.
Recently, Tom has taken groups of students and other adults on guided educational tours to the unique Galapagos Islands, thus emphasizing global aspects of marine conservation. He has engaged in many speaking engagements, published articles, and presented his research at numerous professional conferences in order to provide conservation/environmental education to the public, other scientists and to managing agencies. A key message is to help people understand how fresh water flow influences coastal and estuarine habitats and the importance of this relationship to conservation of estuarine and marine habitats surrounding Florida.
List of efforts for marine conservation:
1) Conducting research into Florida coastal and estuarine ecosystems since 1995, including studies of specific flora and fauna and environmental factors (temperature, salinity, spatial and temporal patterns) that influence those communities
2) Performing work related and volunteer activities, including teaching, field trips, presentations, conferences, professional publications, Tom has provided much needed environmental/conservation education of many students from middle school through college level, other researchers, managers, and teachers.
3) Building effective working relationships with parks, nature preserves, refuges, and management agencies such as MacArthur State Park, South Florida Water Management, Everglades National Park, Florida Bay. Palm Beach County ERM, West Palm Beach (Grassy Waters) and Florida DEP.
Tom is highly respected in the scientific and educational communities, and has networked all over the state. I strongly believe that he has contributed, and continues to contribute, significantly to marine conservation through his research, work with students, environmental education, contributions in articles (many co-authored with students) and at conferences, and his ability to work well with agency managers. I believe that he is highly qualified to receive this esteemed award.
Bio: Gary Appelson has a Masters degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and a BA in Political Science with a specialty in Environmental Policy, both from the University of Florida. For the past 20 years he has been involved in environmental advocacy and education, most recently working with several Florida-based nonprofit organizations. In the 1990’s he worked for a Gainesville-based land trust, successfully working to secure protection for and public acquisition of environmental lands in Florida. He then joined Florida Defenders of the Environment as the Coordinator of its Ocklawaha River Restoration Project, aimed at restoring one of Florida’s unique river systems. In 1999, he joined the Florida-based Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC is now the Sea Turtle Conservancy) as its Policy Coordinator. CCC is widely known as the oldest marine turtle research and conservation group in the world. Less well known is their leadership in the area of coastal management policy, which has a major impact on the health of sea turtle nesting sites in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Gary is involved in all aspects of sea turtle conservation and policy and is a registered lobbyist in Florida. He monitors the laws and regulations impacting coastal policies, the coastal environment, and sea turtles. This includes monitoring the state’s regulatory program for coastal construction, beach nourishment, and coastal armoring. Gary serves on the scientific advisory committee of a state funded research program developing alternative “environmentally friendly” design parameters for beach nourishment projects in Florida.
The Sea Turtle Conservancy remains is at the forefront of the debate calling for coastal management policy reform and increased protection of coastal and near shore resources in Florida. STC has proposed coastal policy reforms to decrease development pressures on the frontal dunes of eroding shorelines. In 2005, Mr. Appelson was selected by the Governor to serve on the Coastal High Hazard Study Committee, a 19-member committee established by the Governor to look at the need for coastal policy reform with an emphasis on balancing coastal development with resource protection. Gary filled the only “environmental advocate” position on the committee. He was one of 15 invited participants in an Urban Land Institute workshop that developed “Ten Principles for Coastal Development.” He serves on the steering committee of the Florida Oceans and Coastal Alliance. The alliance is a group of national and Florida-based conservation organizations focusing on coastal and marine resource protection issues. The STC drafted Florida’s first coastal hazard notification bill to be presented to the Florida legislature. Gary successfully guided the bill through the state legislature to become law. When possible he gets to the beach or boat to work hands-on with sea turtles.
Gary Appelson is the Policy Coordinator for the Sea Turtle Conservancy based in Gainesville, Florida. He is responsible for monitoring Florida laws and regulations impacting sea turtles and sea turtle habitats, coastal management and development policies, and the coastal environment.
I have known Gary through his advocacy for sea turtles at Sea turtle meetings, particularly the sea turtle permit holders meeting. At these venues, he is a delightfully calm and sane voice for sea turtles in places where goals and priorities may be at odds with sea turtle protection and conservation. He draws upon his knowledge of the state political channels and legal system and uses his gentle and thoughtful understanding of people to coax the best possible outcomes. Each year when he speaks at the sea turtle permit holders meeting, he highlights a few key issues. His is able to focus people think about their choices so that clean water and natural sandy beaches remain part of Florida for people and sea turtles. To those ends, he draws on expertise from respected scientific sources to bolster environmental protection when archaic practices, “hair-brained” projects, and questionable proposals threaten sea turtles and our coastal environments. His approach is to provide information in compelling ways so citizens are intrigued (not bullied) into thinking about their choices. For example, Gary wrote about effective wastewater recycling to reduce and eliminate dumping of sewage in our nearshore and offshore waters (www.gainesville.com/news/20080420/gary-appelson-offshore-sewage). He successfully worked with partners to produce and a DVD film, entitled Higher Ground – The Battle to Save Florida’s Beaches to raise awareness among Florida residents and decision-makers about the fragile condition of the natural coastline of Florida and how its associated sea turtle nesting habitat is impacted by coastal development, erosion, and various beachfront engineering tactics (www.conserveturtles.org/higherground.php). The film gives a “birds-eye view” of some of the most important sea turtle nesting beaches in the state and shows how human activities on the beach affect this habitat. It avoids specific recommendations, rather presents the case that Florida and its citizens are faced with choices that will drastically affect the fate of natural beaches, and sea turtles.
More recently, he and his team co-produced a series of short videos on sea level rise entitled Ahead of the Tide that includes interviews with scientists, coastal engineers, elected officials, coastal planners, conservation leaders, authors, students and activists (www.conserveturtles.org/freethebeach.php?page=ahead_of_the_tide). This video is designed to help raise awareness and empower citizens to contact elected officials and inspire them to take action so that coastal communities begin planning for sea level rise in order to protect Florida’s natural sandy beaches for sea turtles and for people.
Interestingly, at a meeting several years ago, Gary told a story about how his young daughter about inspired him to inspire stakeholder (and naïve stake holders). The essence was, “be nice and tell a good honest story”. He took that simple, direct advise to inspire stakeholders to be informed about their environmental choices. He has a tough job that requires vigilance, appreciation other positions, motivations, and goals, and good story telling.
Gary Appleson has spoken for sea turtles and our coasts for more than 20 years.
• 2015: Jamie Aquino and Haiti Ocean Project, featured on BBC series “Caribbean”
• 2012: Haiti Ocean Project research document is accepted and published at 19th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in Tampa by the Society for Marine Mammalogy
• 2012: Grand Prize Winner, Doors to Diplomacy website competition, co-sponsored by the U.S. State Department for Haiti Ocean Project website (www.haitioceanproject.net)
• 2010: Jamie Aquino, National Kind Teacher Award, Certificate of Honorable Mention, Humane Society of the United States.
• 2010: Jamie Aquino, Friday Salute Winner, Fox TV Orlando, Florida
• 2010: Honorable Mention/Student Films category, Blue Ocean Film Festival for Free Dem Whalez, rap video created by Jamie Aquino and her students against whales in captivity
• 2009: Finalist in the international youth environmental competition Volvo Adventure, for Pier2Pier, awareness campaign to protect wild dolphins and manatees
• 2009: Jamie Aquino, Finalist in the prestigious Cable’s Leaders in Learning Awards from Cable in the Classroom
• 2008: Grand Prize Winner, Doors to Diplomacy website competition, co-sponsored by the U.S. State Department for Pier2Pier, awareness campaign to protect wild dolphins and manatees
• 2007: Jamie Aquino, Recognition for Backstreet Boy Nick Carter’s involvement as Special Ambassador of the Year of the Dolphin by the United States Environment Programme (UNEP) and Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
M.S. / Science in Education – Sports Admin, University of Miami, Miami, Florida (December 2000)
B.A. / Communication – Journalism, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida (August 1988)
A.A. / Communications. Miami-Dade Community College, Miami, Florida (September 1986)
President/Founder Haiti Ocean Project 2007-present
TEXAS STAAR Supervisor Education Testing Service 2015-present
SAT/ACT Scorer Pearson 2013-present
Journalism/English Teacher Riviera Beach Maritime Academy, FL 2011-2014
Journalism/English Teacher Leesburg High School, Leesburg, FL 2008-2011
Journalism/English Teacher Plantation High School, Plantation, FL 2005-2008
News Writer/Editor CBS News, Reno/Las Vegas 2000-2002
Public Relations Assistant Los Angeles Clippers NBA Team 1997-1999
Staff Associate-Academics University of Miami Athletic Department 1994-1996
Outdoors/Sports Writer The Post Register Daily Newspaper, Idaho 1990-1993
Public Relations Intern 1996 Atlanta Olympics-USA Boxing Summer 1996
Public Relations Intern The Miami Heat NBA Team 1988-1989
Growing up in South Florida, my daughter Jamie Michelle Aquino has always had a deep love and passion for the ocean and its marine inhabitants. While in middle school, she spent a summer attending Sea Camp, in Big Pine Key, where she saw dolphins swimming in the wild for the first time. She spent many of her weekends in high school on our family’s boat, which she learned how to drive in rough seas and anchor near a rocky reef. The ocean became a second home to her!
A successful journalist, it was motherhood that changed the direction of her life. With my encouragement, Jamie got her Florida teaching license. In 2007, she was hired to teach Journalism and English at Plantation High School, in Plantation, Florida. On her first day, she knew that the best way to teach her students about the world, was to get them out of the classroom. With her love of the sea and the approval of her students, they launched Pier2Pier, an awareness campaign to protect Florida’s wild dolphins and manatees. She took students with her to survey manatee populations and identify threats to wild dolphins. Also in 2007, inspired by her then Haitian-American students, Jamie launched Haiti Ocean Project, to protect Haiti’s marine mammals and educate the Haitian youth about their ocean. While Haiti Ocean Project was still being organized, Pier2Pier was a full-fledged campaign, which was quickly partnering with a number of local, state and international marine mammal conservation organizations. As a result of her efforts with Pier2Pier, Jamie spearheaded an initiative to name Backstreet Boy Nick Carter as a Special Ambassador of the Year of the Dolphin by the United States Environment Programme (UNEP) and Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). To add to the success of the campaign, the Pier2Pier website was named a grand prize winner in the 2008 Doors to Diplomacy international website competition, co-sponsored by the U.S. State Department.
In 2009, Jamie relocated to Central Florida to work with students at Leesburg High School, to introduce them to Pier2Pier and Haiti Ocean Project. The Pier2Pier campaign resulted in two major achievements for Jamie and her students at Leesburg High – an honorable mention in the student films category at the Blue Ocean Film Festival for Free Dem Whalez, a rap video created by Jamie Aquino and her students against whales in captivity and becoming a finalist in the international youth environmental competition, Volvo Adventure. The Volvo Adventure, co-sponsored by Volvo and UNEP, awarded Jamie and five of her students an all-expense paid trip to Gothenberg, Sweden. While at Leesburg High and with the possibilities of helping an impoverished country with no formal research of marine mammal populations, the focus became taking the outreach concept of Pier2Pier to an international level and developing Haiti Ocean Project more fully.
An opportunity to teach kids at the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy (RBMA) in Riviera Beach, Florida, brought Jamie to West Palm Beach in 2012. She assisted the RBMA students with building the Haiti Ocean Project website, which also won a grand prize in the 2012 Doors to Diplomacy website competition. She brought several students with her to Haiti to assist with the project. In 2013, Haiti Ocean Project became a formal nonprofit organization, garnering further support from the Port of Palm Beach, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the Bryan Adams Foundation, Pegasus Foundation, Adobe, Canvas Designers, the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, England and Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
What my daughter has accomplished with Pier2Pier and Haiti Ocean Project is incredible. She did this all with the assistance of high school students, who were inspired by her passion and vision. She has changed the lives and mindsets of many youth to become more compassionate and care about their marine environment. Jamie is giving opportunities to Haitian and American youth that they could never have achieved without her support and Haiti Ocean Project. Through the project’s partnership with Adobe, she helped Mendy Calixte, a Haitian youth, receive a coveted Adobe Scholarship, which brought him to the United States where he is studying engineering and underwater robotics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Four other students in Florida and Haiti are attending universities from college scholarships they received from both website competitions. One of those students, Charlens Calixte, was featured with Jamie on a BBC series called Caribbean in 2015, which has already aired to 2.5 million viewers in the UK.
Jamie is developing Haiti’s first marine conservation and education center. She is also introducing marine mammal ecotourism to a country that never knew it was possible and establishing the first sighting network for marine mammal populations in Haiti. Jamie is making a difference in this world – one dolphin and whale at a time!
Marine Program Director August 2012 – Present
WildAid San Francisco
• Developed a globally recognized marine enforcement model and replicated in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Belize, Mexico, Indonesia, Barbuda, Nicaragua and Palau.
• Assembled and managed multi-disciplinary teams including engineers, law enforcement experts and scientists to develop government fisheries enforcement strategies.
• Designed, funded and organized an innovative four-day global marine protected area conference with over 190 participants from 36 countries that expanded the knowledge base among the private sector, foundations, academia, NGOs, scientists, law enforcement and government officials.
Deputy Executive Director October 2007 – July 2012
WildAid San Francisco
• Provided overall financial and administrative management of Headquarters and served as liaison with six country programs. Annual budget of $4.6 million.
• Streamlined accounting system, established results-based programmatic/financial reporting procedures with field programs, and prepared quarterly Board reports.
Galapagos Program Manager April 2004 – September 2007
• Overhauled field program and assembled a results-oriented team that increased program revenue from $200K to $800K within 5 years.
• Elaborated business plans, marketing materials, commercialization strategies and provided administrative/accounting support for two small businesses in the Galapagos.
• Spearheaded national media awareness campaign with J. Walter Thompson, Ecuadorian World Cup soccer professionals and Universities to support shark finning ban.
Nicaragua Senior Program Manager August 2002 – March 2004
Catholic Relief Services Nicaragua
• Coordinated health, agriculture, credit, global solidarity and civil society teams in the day-to-day implementation of an annual $3 million Title II program.
• Facilitated strategic development work sessions both internally and with partners in order to improve programming quality.
• Developed annual budgets and funding proposals in conjunction with personnel.
• An Enforcement Guide for Near Shore Artisanal Fisheries 2015
• Northern Reef Assessment, Palau 2014
• Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve: Control and Vigilance System Design 2013
• The Quarantine Chain: Establishing An Effective Biosecurity System in the Galapagos Islands 2012
• Enforcement Assessment: Batbitim and Daram, SE Misool MPA, Raja Ampat, Indonesia 2012
• Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey Monterey
MPA, Management & Environmental Policy 1997 – 1998
• Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey Monterey
BA, International Studies 1996 – 1997
• University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara
Environmental Studies & Economics 1993 – 1995
Marcel Bigue: Activities in Marine Conservation
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) cover only two percent of the world’s oceans yet are vital to protecting biodiversity and habitat. Approximately one-third of the global population depends on fish for food and nutrition. Unfortunately, 85 percent of the world’s fisheries are overfished or at capacity. As they decline, more vessels target marine reserves, making their enforcement even more important to protect marine life. WildAid’s marine program led by Marcel Bigue, Marine Program Director, protects exceptional marine habitat and unique marine species including the Galapagos Islands, home to nearly 3,000 marine species, many which are found nowhere else on earth; the Midriff Islands in Mexico, nicknamed the world’s aquarium; and Palau, a country that made history by declaring 80% of their national waters a marine reserve.
Together with WildAid’s partners, Marcel developed a comprehensive and effective marine protection model that has now been implemented in 10 different countries. This model incorporates surveillance/interdiction, prosecution, sanctions, education, and sustainable financing to create effective MPA management. Through his work, WildAid hosted the first global MPA conference to bring together 190 experts in marine law enforcement, technology providers, MPA managers, funders, and government officials. Moreover, our model has helped achieve the following activities and results over the last year.
• Using technology provided by WildAid, park rangers seized seven illegal fishing vessels and arrested 21 fishers in April with 81 shark carcasses in their hold.
• Successfully worked with the government to enact stronger regulations to combat illegal fishing. Effective April 2016, park rangers in Ecuador will better monitor restricted fishing areas and reserves using mandatory electronic sensors.
• Developed a legal database for Galapagos park lawyers, and helped resolve a backlog of 203 environmental cases. Sentenced a prominent illegal fishing vessel caught with over 350 sharks.
• Developed patrol and vigilance strategies for six coastal MPAs and underwrote patrol expenses to stop illegal fishing and improve tourism management. WildAid assisted in the following:
• Four Peruvian vessels illegally long-line fishing in Santa Clara were arrested in March.
• Machalilla National Park has improved manta and humpback whale protection with the installation of electronic surveillance technology at Isla de la Plata to better monitor fishing vessels.
• Created a fisher registry together with all artisanal dive fishers at Machalilla to promote sustainable extraction and encourage community-led enforcement.
• Protected 15,000 Olive-Ridley sea turtle hatchlings in Pacoche
• Educated 1,056 students on sea turtle conservation.
• Expanded and improved treatment of injured marine wildlife at a wildlife hospital in Machalilla.
• Launched a comprehensive enforcement strategy in Palau’s Northern Reefs MPA that combines electronic surveillance equipment with strategic patrols, a floating barge to provide a constant presence and rapid response capacity throughout territorial waters.
• Organized the first-ever binational initiative between Mexico and Ecuador to improve MPA enforcement in the Midriff Islands.
• Supported local nonprofit partners by conducting regular patrols in South East Misool and launching a new project in Lamakera to reduce illegal manta fishing through community outreach and training for alternative sustainable livelihoods.
Nicholas Ogle graduated with honors from Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science with a minor in marine biology. Therefore, he is uniquely equipped to work with coastal ecosystems. He is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for the School of Environment, Arts and Society at FIU, or SEAS. SEAS is committed to understanding the natural world, our place in it, and addressing the challenges that arise from the interactions between humans and the environment. Through research, education, and an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, SEAS strives to bring about positive, palpable changes on local, national, and international levels.
Along with SEAS and its partners, Nicholas is dedicated to providing experiential and service learning opportunities for K-12 students in the South Florida community. He accomplishes this through in class programming and guided field experiences. He works closely with schools in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties and oversees a myriad of education and outreach programs aimed at getting students of all ages engaged with the natural world. Some of his projects include Coastlines to Classrooms, Discover Our Backyard, and EcoAcademy Summer Camp. He also runs several on-campus service learning events such as coastal clean ups, invasive species removals and native ecosystem plantings using sea oats as well as mangroves. Through “Adopt a Mangrove,” a seedling is dedicated to a person, nurtured in FIU’s Shade House, then replanted to reinforce mangrove forests or to areas where mangroves had been removed in the past. Additionally, he has worked diligently with high school students from the MAST@FIU (Marine Academy of Science and Technology) program to engage them with native ecosystems which gives them hands-on experiences with scientific procedures. He helps them understand the environmental problems and solutions. With the students, he is exploring long-term data used to determine the effects of seasonal and environmental changes on juvenile fish species in Biscayne Bay.
However, in addition to his official duties at FIU, Nicholas volunteers countless hours to local clubs and conservation organizations throughout the state. His commitment to restoring native habitats is commendable. During the late summer months each year, Nicholas harvests and grows more than one thousand red mangrove seedlings. In 2016 alone, over 1500 red mangrove seedlings collected in 2015 have been used to restore areas in Miami, Vero Beach, along the Indian River Lagoon, and on the Galt Preserve in St. James City. Nicholas not only inspired, but tirelessly supported, Wild Over Wildlife’s mangrove restoration program for the past few years. Together, they have partnered with National Honor Society chapters in SE and SW Florida, Florida Conservation 2020, Lee County 4-H Club, Pelican Harbor, the Brevard County Zoo, and Marine Clean-up Initiative. Additionally, mangroves are being used in the St. Lucie Spoil Island Project to enhance and preserve the Indian River Lagoon Spoil Islands. This project is working in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Aquatic Preserve as well as other state and local agencies.
Nicholas’ dedication to helping our coastlines and shaping the future generation is remarkable and apparent in his work at FIU and on his own time. He believes community-based ecosystem restorations are invaluable outreach tools because they offer the public a chance not only to see and understand the costs of environmental degradation, but also to take ownership of their local natural resources. They empower the public to make a real difference with tangible results. Nicholas possesses a wealth of knowledge and shares it freely by making presentations at schools, camps, and clubs. He is extremely generous with his time donating countless hours in the heat of the day after driving several hours to a site in order to improve our coastal habitats. His commitment to improving our environment have not only added beauty to Florida’s coastlines, but have also protected them from damaging storms while providing shelter for numerous species of birds, reptiles, fish, and mammals. The impact has affected millions of lives in the state of Florida.
• University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida G.P.A. – 3.64/4.00, cum laude
• Bachelor of Arts in English – Film and Media Studies, 2006
• Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida G.P.A. – 3.94/4.00
• Master of Environmental Education, 2012
Skills & Qualifications
• Highly skilled in curriculum development and implementation, public speaking and presenting, staff training, personnel management, grant writing, event/conference planning, public outreach, teambuilding, and photography (www.frehmphotography.com)
• Certified Project WILD and Project Learning Tree facilitator trainer; certified in: Lifeguarding; CPR/Basic First Aid/AED; ACA Kayak instructor (level 1); Boat U.S. Foundations Boating Safety Course; Department Environmental Protection Class A-1 Watercraft Operation
• Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook, and Excel), and Adobe Photoshop
• Professional Experience in Environmental Education
Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park, Inc. – North Palm Beach, Florida
Director of Education – April 2014 – present
• Facilitating and managing daily Field Environmental Education (EE) Experiences for students grades 1-12
• Recipient of 2015 Friends of Florida State Parks state-wide awards for (1) Natural Science Education Program and (2) Student Stewards Curriculum
• Updated and revised existing programs, allowing 13 different grade specific options for Field Experiences
• All programs include Pre/Post-Tests; Pre-Lesson with materials/datasheets; Video; Main lesson completed the Park; Post-Lesson with materials/datasheets provided
• Track and Extrapolate learning gains based on pre/post test results
• Direct supervisor of the Education Volunteer Team – consisting of 30+ individuals and 3 college aged interns
• Developed and Implementing new Student Stewards Water Curriculum for grades 1-12
• Managed Advisory Committee for project
• Managed 3rd party evaluation of curriculum, making proposed revisions
• Aligned all curriculum to the Next Generation Sunshine State Science Standards and the Florida Language Arts and Math Standards and have Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) connections.
• Scheduling school year Field Experiences
• Grant writing and fulfillment for various Educational Programs
• Manage Education yearly budget (80,000+)
• Conducting monthly Virtual Field Trip (Vodcast platform) on various EE topics for K-12 Palm Beach County schools reaching approximately 10,000 students each year
• Facilitating Project Learning Tree/Project WILD Professional Development workshops throughout the year to formal and nonformal educators/volunteers/graduate students
• Provide annual weeklong summer workshop for Title 1 classroom teachers focused on EE activities
• Group leader of the Junior Friends – middle and high school students completing community service/citizen science projects at the park
• Organizer of the monthly Park Speaker Series – coordinating experts in different environmental fields to give lectures
• Presenting at various community events on local ecological issues/topics
• Provide Park Tours for public, private and government agencies
• Coordinate facility rentals
• Design and develop interpretative signage for nature center displays
• Event photographer for various events for Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park and John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
• Director of Summer Camp – 6 weeks of Natural Science Day Camp (8AM-5PM) with Marine Biology and Natural Science focused activities for campers aged 6-18
• Scheduling and planning of all activities/purchasing all summer camp supplies
• Students participate in: snorkeling on the Rock Reef while conducting Fish ID counts, kayaking, seine netting/investigating the Estuary ecosystem, conducting Seagrass Studies, Marine Biology focused labs, Skyping with a Scientist sessions, beach clean ups, and hiking in Maritime Hammock ecosystem, etc.
• Direct supervisor of interns (8 college students) and camp counselors-in-training (30+ high school students)
• Create and disseminate summer camp advertisements
• Register all campers and send confirmation packets
• Manage Camp social media Facebook page
Florida Atlantic University/Pine Jog Environmental Education Center – West Palm Beach, FL
Program Coordinator – May 2012 – April 2014
• Managed Everglades Curriculum project
• Developed grade specific (K-12) standards-based lessons which were piloted with teachers from 5 different counties
• Revisions made based on feedback from pilot teachers; Everglades Advisory Committee; and the Everglades Foundation
• Created Everglades Literacy Conceptual Framework which was reviewed by scientist and educators from across Florida to design what an “Everglades Literate” person should know
• Provided Professional Development workshops for K-12 teachers and non-formal educators through Project Learning Tree; Project WILD; and Summer Institutes
• Taught Nature Photography (Adult Community Education) courses
• Managed the Environmental Literacy Curriculum for Pine Jog Elementary Afterschool (K-5)
• Created and implemented the pilot phase of a 340-lesson, grade-specific and standards-based curriculum
• Supervisor of 25 staff serving 270 students
• Trained, modeled, observed and evaluated program content and delivery
• Provided professional development for program counselors and graduate students
• Presented at local and national conferences, including the 2012 and 2013 North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) Conference
• Co-wrote and hosted two virtual field trips accessible to all teachers in Palm Beach County via closed network website and accessible to the public via the Education Network on television.
• A sample video can be viewed at: https://vodcast.palmbeachschools.org/player/5GLO8
• Designed program brochure for 2012 and 2013 Learn Green: A Green Schools Conference and Expo Conference (Learn Green)
• Event Photographer for 2012 and 2013 Learn Green; 2012 Green Schools National Network Conference; 2012 and 2013 Pine Jog Green Gala; 2012 and 2013 Green Schools Recognition Program Awards Luncheon
Graduate Assistant August 2010 – May 2012
Teaching, Curriculum Development, and Public Outreach
• Responsible for planning, coordinating and teaching Environmental Education lessons and activities for outreach programs including inquiry, field trips, residential programming, and non-formal school settings for 5-15 year olds
• Trained new staff in above programs
• Reviewed and planned curriculum on Pine Jog’s Curriculum Development Teams, and the Green Schools Recognition Program Team serving Palm Beach and Martin Counties
• Created, piloted and implemented six 3-day curriculum programs for elementary-aged learners
• Facilitated teambuilding activities with adults, teens and children
• Led Sustainability Tours of facilities and Storm Water Treatment Area for adults and high school students
• Program liaison between parents, teachers and faculty members for education programming
• Delivered Green Schools Recognition workshops and in-service programs for teachers, administrators and faculty members
• Presented at eight local and national conferences, including the 2011 NAAEE Conference
• Event Planning and Marketing
• Co-chaired the state-wide conference committee for 2011 Learn Green, resulting in a gross revenue of $45,000 and a net revenue of $30,000
• Designed logos, flyers, brochures and promotional posters for Learn Green and other events distributed locally, statewide and nationwide
• Created and managed five social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter
• Compiled, analyzed and reported on survey data from Learn Green attendees
• Created a marketing strategy for Pine Jog’s High School/College program and recruited applicants
• Organized Annual Awards Luncheon for 150 attendees (2010, 2011)
• Event Photographer for Learn Green, The Florida Green Schools Awards, Green Gala and The Green Schools Recognition Program Awards Ceremony
• Secured auction items and assisted with Pine Jog’s annual fundraiser, Green Gala, resulting in a gross revenue of $55,000 and a net revenue of $40,000
• Grant Writing and Administration
• Managed the Green Seed mini-grant program with $3,000 of available funds
• Co-wrote five local, state, and federal grants; received two grants; one for $10,000, one for $55,000
YMCA Camp Widjiwagan – Nashville, TN May – August 2010
Summer Camp Leadership Team/Camp Photographer
• Administrative responsibilities included personnel management and enforcement of policies and procedures as part of a team supervising 130 staff members
• Marketing responsibilities included photography website management, end of session programming, and production and distribution of camper keepsakes and 150 in-house “trading cards”
Nature’s Classroom – Mentone, AL August 2009 – November 2010
Veronica Frehm has made significant contributions in marine conservation and environmental education through her field work in public environmental education. With a strong commitment to environmental education and marine conservation, Veronica is an excellent candidate for the Blue Friend of the Year. Veronica believes it is imperative to educate students on the environment and the ocean through field experiences. She believes that if a child does not attain first-hand knowledge about the environment, they will be less likely to care about it, and ultimately will not be able to make informed decisions about it in the future.
Currently, Veronica is Director of Education at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park located in coastal Palm Beach County, where she is in charge of the development, implementation, and training of the staff, volunteers and interns that deliver the Park’s environmental education Field Experience programs. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park serves over 5,200 students from Palm Beach County annually, focused on Natural Science Education. Veronica manages daily Field Environmental Education experiences for students grades 1-12 with 14 different grade specific options for teachers to choose from. Throughout all of the experiences, themes revolve around learning about different marine and coastal environments and the important role of marine conservation. Each Field Experience is designed to enhance learning in the classroom and brings it to life with hands-on experiences at the Park.
Recently, the Park’s Natural Science Education Program received the 2015 Friends of Florida State Parks state-wide awards for the Natural Science Education Program. It also received an award for its Student Stewards: A Focus on Water Resources curriculum which highlights our natural water resources. The Student Stewards: A Focus on Water Resources curriculum teaches students of a variety of ages about the complexity and importance of our human connection with water and the environment. This curriculum not only provides awareness of water related issues and scientific knowledge about water and the environment, but takes learning to the next level by encouraging participants to take action in helping the health of our waters.
In addition to directing the Park’s field experiences, Veronica reaches even more students in Palm Beach Country and beyond through its Virtual Field Trip (Vodcast) programming. Veronica hosts live Vodcasts where school students from around the country can tune in and ask questions to the science presenters. Last year, they reached over 9,000 students virtually.
Ms. Frehm is also in charge of the Park’s Marine Biology focused summer camp. This Science Summer camp is an advanced program for campers who are ready to be champions for our environment! They participate in elevated Marine Biology investigations such as fish counts on the Rock Reef, seagrass surveys, biodiversity counts of the estuary, Maritime Hammock explorations, and Skyping with marine scientists. Summer campers walk away from camp with a clear understanding of good environmental stewardship. Many campers and their parents remark that the experience has shaped them and their career paths significantly, because of the camp’s immersion into the Park’s unique coastal estuarine field experiences while learning about marine conservation and the importance of science in our everyday lives. Veronica also runs the Junior Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park. This group of middle/high school aged students come to the Park once a month to perform service projects and learn different marine conservation concepts throughout the year. Activities include beach and mangrove clean ups, citizen science projects such as cataloging the biodiversity at the Park, and educating the public about monofilament line recycling.
Veronica’s influence does not stop with students. She also provides Professional Development Project Learning Tree and Project WILD workshops to formal and non-formal educators. Veronica offers in-depth knowledge about the Park’s estuarine and coastal ecosystems and activities so educators can teach about these concepts back at their schools. Her evaluations for the workshops are consistently highly rated and the feedback provided by the participants is always positive. One participant told Veronica that of her 42 years of teaching in the classroom, her workshops are the best that she has attended. Similarly, Veronica coordinates the Park’s Speaker Series. This public speaker series highlights different environmental experts from the community and invites them to come and speak on their research.
In addition, her work at MacArthur Beach State Park, Veronica is a frequent presenter at various community events on local ecological issues and topics. As such it is easy to see how her focus and energy on environmental education and marine conservation warrants due consideration for Blue Friend of the Year, because her daily work touches the lives of so many–students, interns, teachers, non-formal educators, parents, and visitors.
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