provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Sanibel Sea School is thrilled to welcome two new marine science educators to its team of ocean advocates: Tiara Burton and Savanna Wilkinson. The two educators, who arrived just in time to help kick off the school’s busy spring and summer seasons, will be assisting with educational day courses and outreach programs.
Burton grew up in Minneapolis, Minn., where she fell in love with nature, adventure, and exploring. While pursuing her biology degree at Boston University, she spent a semester in Ecuador studying tropical ecology, which inspired her to focus on ecology and conservation. After spending a semester following her professor through jungles, mountains, rivers, oceans, and cloud forests, Burton discovered that hands-on, experiential learning allows students to physically and intellectually experience the world they were learning about, ask deeper questions, and take action with conservation-oriented research. These experiences have ignited a passion in Burton to pursue a career in experiential education.
Burton is looking forward to teaching day courses and field trips at Sanibel Sea School. “Many of my favorite memories in school are from field trips and hands-on learning experiences where I was able to see, smell, touch, and hear about the plants and animals I was excited about. To have the opportunity to give those same experiences to others is very special to me, and I intend to make learning as fun as possible!” Burton said. She is ecstatic to join Sanibel Sea School’s team as a seasonal marine science educator, help others learn about Southwest Florida’s ecosystems, and how to have a more positive, conservation-focused impact on the planet.
Wilkinson was raised in Illinois and Iowa and is currently completing her degree in marine biology at Florida International University. She grew up vacationing on Sanibel and Captiva islands with her family and as a child aspired to become a zoologist. In high school, Wilkinson completed college-credit classes within the marine biology and aquarium science fields where she learned how to propagate live corals and sea anemones and rear clownfish and jellyfish. This coursework motivated her to work in the marine science field and move to Southwest Florida to complete her bachelor’s degree near the islands that first helped her fall in love with the ocean. Wilkinson is thrilled to become a part of the Sanibel Sea School team and to teach the fundamentals of conservation to the next generation of ocean explorers.