Growing up in New Zealand meant never being very far away from the coast. The beach was our backyard and whether I was at home or on a family camping trip, ocean adventures played a big part in my early life. After leaving school and travelling for two years, I made a quick stop in Australia and, well, never really left. It was here that I learned to scuba dive and instantly reconnected with that childhood happiness and freedom I associated with the sea.
When I first arrived in Sydney I took on a job at the aquarium as an education officer – this allowed me to share my passion, and educate local and international guests on the diversity of our oceans, their importance, and the current threats to our big blue backyard. But it was not until I moved out to join the team at Manly that I got to see some of these issues first hand, engage with a passionate community, become involved in a number of projects, meet my ocean loving partner in crime, and be part of an environment that changed my life. I now spend my days up close and personal with a huge variety of marine life, get to be involved in rescue and rehabilitation, take part in local clean ups, and have a regular dose of vitamin sea.
A casual BBQ conversation also lead to working alongside the SEA LIFE Trust as the Program Facilitator of Ocean Youth (oceanyouth.org). Ocean Youth is about providing opportunities for young ocean lovers that foster collaboration, learning, and solution based thinking. We organise programs that allow young people to get back out in nature, dive in, understand the issues, and mentor ideas for positive change. This program has restored my faith that our oceans future is in good hands – but it is up to us to ensure that these inspiring generations have an abundant ocean to care for. Outside of work I am a regular diver, snorkeler, beach plastic collector, recycled art maker, adventurer, petitioner, keep cup user, all round animal lover (I will always stop and pet your dog) and self-confessed mermaid.
Why did you apply to become a Global Ambassador?
I decided to apply for the Global Ambassador Adventure after reading through the Positive Change for Marine Life mission statement. I instantly connected with the goals, the education focus and the drive for community-based initiatives. Also the chance to travel and experience a new culture drew me in – I spent time travelling through Europe and Northern Africa and was humbled by the welcomes, the smiles, the mutual interest and respect, and the global community acceptance I received.
I know that I will be able to bring a passion, knowledge, a go-getter attitude, a love for all things ocean, some token ginger locks and a big smile to this project. But I also hope to learn just as much as I can offer, experience a different perspective of the sea, get to collaborate with a group of inspirational individuals and communities, and make some new salty haired friends.
What do you hope that this project will achieve?
I want to develop an understanding of the way that different communities rely on the ocean and how that way of life is being impacted. I would also love to gain the confidence to come home and be able to better engage my local community in marine conservation. Most of all I hope we can develop a marine conservation strategy that has an enormous positive impact on the local community in Kovalam.
We live on a blue planet. Our lives and the ocean are intertwined. No ocean, means no us. I can’t wait to take on this adventure and give back to the beautiful big blue that has given me so much happiness!