Callahan “Callie” Clarke is our Education Coordinator and has been with the Pigeon Key Foundation and Marine Science Center for three years. As a biologist, Callahan is essential when it comes to educating our visiting school groups on a wide variety of topics. She also plays a pivotal role behind the scenes with keeping our members and community updated when it comes to Pigeon Key news. Learn a little bit more about Callahan and what makes her job and life on the island so interesting.
What is your role within The Pigeon Key Foundation?
I am the Education Coordinator for the Pigeon Key Foundation . Some of my duties include teaching our visiting school groups and campers, fundraising, community outreach, and running our membership program.
What is your background?
I got my BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry at Colorado Mesa University where I worked in research focusing on convergent evolution of sea snakes. During college, I was a fellow at a nonprofit that taught STEAM topics to local students and found my passion for educating. I also have worked with NOAA as a marine observer on pelagic longline fishing vessels in Hawaii collecting data.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Its hard to pick a favorite part but I’d have to say sharing my passions with other people and seeing the passion grow in them. One of my favorite programs is marine debris and I am always so proud when students come back the next year and tell me they started a recycling program at their school or only use reusable water bottles now. Also, a large part of my job is snorkeling and collecting amazing invertebrates with visiting groups. Who wouldn’t love that?!
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy spending my free time outside as much as possible and I am lucky to live in a place I can do that everyday. Whether swimming around the island or laying on the dock in the sun and reading a good book, I am never bored.
What is your best Pigeon Key memory?
My best Pigeon Key memory is my first time snorkeling around Pigeon Key when I moved here from Colorado. I saw so much biodiversity in such a small range. Queen angelfish, nurse sharks, stingrays, parrotfish, and sponges and coral everywhere! I could not believe that I had all these creatures and habitats I had only seen in books or on TV lived in my backyard. I am still amazed by it everyday.
The most important question of all… What is your favorite sea creature?
That’s a hard one. I have to say the yellow bellied sea snake because they are the only pelagic snake and has the widest distribution worldwide. Its amazing how they have adapted so drastically to live in the ocean.