With Summer Camp over, the 2022 Education Season here on Pigeon Key has come to an end. We had an amazing year of marine science programming, snorkeling the reefs, exploring the tidepools, and experiencing the history of the island! In 2022, we had 28 groups stay with us, including a few new school groups visiting for the first time. Education groups came from schools both in Florida and beyond, including North Carolina and Ohio.
The 2022 Interns jumped right in and had a blast teaching students about their favorite invertebrates and the importance of sharks to marine ecosystems, exploring the variety of habitats found in the Keys, and searching for marine organisms in the tidepools and at the reef. Belle loved introducing the kids to new animals they hadn’t seen before. She’s now at UNCW working on her Master’s degree in Environmental Studies! Nick thought teaching students about invertebrates and then snorkeling around the island with students to find them was incredible. He is starting a new marine science internship in Titusville focused on marine research, conservation, and outreach. One of Katie’s favorite aspects of the internship was helping kids from around the country enjoy new experiences for the first time. She can’t wait to begin her next job as an intern at a National Wildlife Refuge in Maui! Maia loved helping students get more comfortable in the water swimming and snorkeling throughout their time here. She is now Pigeon Key’s new Education Coordinator!
Summer Camp created a ton of awesome memories as always, and we are so excited and honored to be Marathon’s Best Summer Camp for the second year in a row! From crowning a new Meatball Maestro to Fun Friday competitions coming down to the wire, the staff and campers had a blast. Operations Director Chris Rowell’s favorite Summer Camp moments were fishing and playing different field games with the kids, including when he finally convinced intern Katie to play Steal the Bacon and a young summer camper beat her handily. The campers favorite memories included fishing, swimming around the island and snorkeling at the reef, and the campfire night!
The end of the season brought with it many goodbyes, including Pigeon Key saying farewell to Casey Howley-Brigham who had been a fixture here for 8 years. She interned here in 2015 before starting full-time as the Education Coordinator in 2016. She then became the Education and Summer Camp Director in 2018 and continued on for the remainder of her time here on the island. She loved the community formed with education groups and summer camp families along with being Buddy the cat’s caretaker, and will miss her daily swims off the dock, plus the ever evolving on-island basketball hoop of course! Everyone here on Pigeon Key misses Casey and wishes her well in her future endeavors!
Now, Pigeon Key turns to Callie Clarke, the new Education and Summer Camp Director for the 2023 season and beyond! She interned here in 2017 before becoming Education Coordinator in 2018. Callie is excited about her new position, and can’t wait to catch up with returning groups and campers as well as meet new ones. She hopes to share her love of the ocean, conservation, and Pigeon Key with the next generation of scientists as Education Director this year. We are so excited to see her in this new role, and can’t wait for the 2023 Education Season, Summer Camp, and of course the new intern class!