Sarah Humphrey is the island’s new Education Coordinator for the Pigeon Key Foundation, filling the role this past August of 2023 after previous Education Coordinator Maia left to pursue her master’s degree at Duke. Sarah was thrilled to have the opportunity to further her time with the Pigeon Key Foundation.

What is your role within the Pigeon Key Foundation?

As Education Coordinator, I assist Education Director Jill Hayden and Operations Director Chris Rowell in leading and planning for education groups, outreach events, and summer camps. I am also in charge of keeping all of our current marine science programs up to date, running our social media platforms, and maintaining our gear inventory throughout the year. I also do a lot of miscellaneous jobs on the island; some days it’s weedwhacking, others it’s being a tour guide for the day! I wear many hats out here on the island.

What is your background?

I was born in Northeast Ohio but spent many childhood years growing up on Lake Tarpon in Southwest Florida. I was always out and about trying to catch fish and swimming in the lake or the nearby Gulf of Mexico. As I grew older, I realized my sincere passion for marine life and education, and obtained my Bachelor of Science in Organismal Biology from Kent State University. During my undergraduate years, I was fortunate to live on yet another small island in the western basin of Lake Erie, where through a field station assistant position with The Ohio State University, I was able to assist researchers and full-time staff with teaching programs, learning about lake ecology and herpetology, and much more. I am forever grateful for the experiences and skills I gained from that summer position, as it eventually led me to Pigeon Key. I completed one year of my Master’s degree in Marine Science at the University of South Carolina before realizing my true passion for education and outreach in the marine science field. I was a Marine Science Education Intern for the 2023 season, and became Education Coordinator shortly after the end of our education season. I am so happy to be here!

What is your favorite part of your job?

It’s hard to pinpoint an absolute favorite part of my incredible job, but if I had to pick, I’d say the fact that every day is different for me. Like I mentioned before, I wear many hats on this island, and each working day is different. I love the challenges that this job brings, as well as the rewarding nature of it.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to be snorkeling among the seagrass beds around the island to look for any hidden critters and invertebrates among them, and relaxing on the dock to take in the sunset after a long day of work.

What is your best Pigeon Key memory?

My favorite memory of my times here on the island would have to be either game nights with my fellow interns during my internship or relaxing with them on the dock, talking for hours while we watch the sunset. I had a fantastic time during my internship with some great interns that became my best friends.

And the most important question of all… what is your favorite sea creature?

I’d have to say the manatee. They’re slow-moving, gentle, peaceful creatures, and it always makes my day when I get the rare chance to see one up close in the wild. I’ve seen a few around our island since first arriving early 2023, and hope to see one again soon!