provided to Santiva Chronicle
Sanibel Sea School is excited to welcome two seasonal interns to help with educational programming and administrative work.
Originally slated as summer camp counselors, Abby Hendershot and Mary Buerer are working as education interns through August this summer. The cancellation of Sanibel Sea School’s summer camps slightly changed the course for the two interns but this has not halted their passion for working with kids and the ocean.
Both interns are working with the Sanibel Sea School team to deliver marine science education during the programming offered this summer. Both are environmental advocates and enjoy inspiring others to care for our oceans and planet.
Hendershot, hailing from Columbus, Ohio, started as a Sanibel Sea School student at the South Seas Island Resort campus. She attended classes until she aged out of the program, and soon after volunteered as a junior Counselor in Training (CIT) at Sanibel Sea School’s Sundial Resort location. She brought her CIT skills to the school’s week-long summer camps, where Hendershot climbed the ranks to become a Senior Counselor in Training.
In addition to her passion for marine science, Hendershot has been swimming competitively since the age of eight and has future goals of making it to the College Club Swimming Nationals. Her passion for swimming has easily translated to sharing her love for the water with campers over the years.
“Having the chance to work at sea school helps me spread ocean love and hopefully inspire the next generation to love and care about the ocean,” she said. “It reminds me of how I got started with sea school when I was a kid and the importance of ocean education.”
After the internship ends, Hendershot will remain in Southwest Florida to attend Florida Gulf Coast University in the fall to major in marine science. She also looks forward to engaging in club swimming, water polo, and joining the Campus Naturalists.
Buerer comes to Sanibel Sea School new to the program, but holds a strong background in environmental advocacy. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy from Loyola University of Chicago where she learned more about the rules and regulations surrounding land use development and promoting a sustainable environment through conservation efforts and energy use.
Buerer has been a summer camp counselor for the past two summers and was looking for similar opportunities when she found Sanibel Sea School. Having relatives in Southwest Florida, Buerer jumped on the chance to take her skills to the beach this summer as a counselor with Sanibel Sea School.
“The idea of combining getting to work with children and environmental and ocean conservation together was so awesome I knew I had to apply here!” she said.
Despite the cancellation of summer camp, Buerer still has the opportunity to assist with the half-day classes for children ages 4-13 and has been inspired to potentially pursue marine science education as a future career. “In my time so far at Sanibel Sea School, a type of environmental education job has become more compelling,” Buerer said. Whichever career path she takes in the future, she looks forward to improving the environment in some capacity.
“I look forward to what each day may bring. The thrill of never knowing what sea creatures you might see that day on the beach or what project is going to get started that day is exciting,” Buerer said. She looks forward to learning more about the sea creatures, plants, and shells that occupy Sanibel’s beaches.
Hendershot and Buerer are excited about learning new things each day. Though their summer camp counselor positions were modified, they are now able to broaden their experience and learn all that goes into working with a nonprofit. The interns now help with day classes, answer phones and help clients, and also assist with keeping the grounds tidy.
One of the highlights of their internship is the opportunity to create a new lesson to add to Sanibel Sea School’s repertoire of courses. When they aren’t working around campus or out teaching, Hendershot and Buerer spend time lesson planning for their new course, which includes a lesson, field activity, and art project. At the end of their internship, they will have the opportunity to teach their course to a group of students.
To read the full interview with the interns, visit Sanibel Sea School’s blog.
Part of the SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Family, Sanibel Sea School’s mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time.