Abbie Hine MSc, Founder & Managing Director of WiseOceans (based in UK)
Abbie is a marine educator and coral reef researcher, with over 20 years experience of educating people of all ages and abilities and many more years submerged and passionately embracing everything marine conservation related. Abbie has worked in various countries on coral reef research expeditions; coordinating volunteers, surveys and science training, and liaising with in-country partners and providing advice on coastal management issues. Following these years teaching volunteers to identify and survey vulnerable reefs, Abbie undertook a MSc. in Tropical Coastal Management. Her final research paper looked into marine education being used as a form of management to reduce damage to coral reefs; the paper was presented the International Pacific Marine Educators Conference (IPMEC) in Hawaii.
Abbie also worked as a resident marine biologist and environmental advisor for luxury resorts in Maldives for three years. During this time, working knowledge of an educational programme for resort guests was obtained. Simultaneously, Abbie worked on a coral propagation project. This project visibly showed that not only did the reef’s health increase, but it also acted as an extensive source of education for the guests and local schools, and as a tool to spread awareness. Since then Abbie has worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on a reef restoration and education project for Save our Seas Foundation (SOSF). The education element of this project expanded and moved to Seychelles where Abbie coordinated a large marine awareness project in association with SOSF. In 2011 Abbie founded WiseOceans, a concept she’d been mulling around for many years.
Over the years Abbie has worked on a number of different research and educational projects including: coral recruitment, reef monitoring, reef rehabilitation projects, turtle nesting surveys, manta ray research, whale shark and plankton research, fish identification, abundance and diversity studies. Additionally, Abbie has been a Trustee for GVI Trust and Education & Outreach Consultant for The Manta Trust. Abbie’s latest achievement is the arrival of daughter Martha; already a big fan of splashing in the bath, Martha is a future scuba diver and marine ambassador for sure!
“Education is a brilliant way to increase our enjoyment of the oceans and life within them. But more importantly, education is key for helping to preserve the marine environment. Education can stir up a sense of wonder for the oceans’ beauty and a compassion for their vulnerability. Ultimately aiming to encourage a sense of ownership for the essential resource that is our oceans. Growing up by the coast, nature and the sea played a big role in driving me towards a career in marine science. Learning to dive clinched the deal and has resulted in me spending many years submerged and passionately embracing everything marine conservation related. Every dive, every snorkel, every walk along the coast you learn something new, inspired by how incredible the natural world is and there is nothing quite like sharing that with other people and helping them learn to conserve the wonders around them.”
Lindsay Sullivan MSc, Director of Finance (based in UK)
Lindsay has a degree in Mathematics and an MSc in Applied Marine Science, and has spent many years in coral reef conservation and education. She began, as many of us do, as a volunteer – first volunteering on a reef conservation project in Mexico and then later as a reef ranger on Chumbe Island in Zanzibar. Through subsequent roles in Seychelles and the Maldives, Lindsay gained an in-depth understanding of the reef ecosystems of the Western Indian Ocean, and also came to realise that education and awareness-raising amongst the general public are vital to the long-term conservation of our oceans. Some years later, while working for the Wildlife Trusts in the north-west of England, engaging the public and policy-makers alike on the conservation of the Irish Sea, Lindsay found that the UK seas face the same issues – lack of knowledge of the wonderful and diverse wildlife and habitats, over-exploitation, lack of protection. In 2013, with the absolute belief that education is the key, Lindsay joined Abbie in Seychelles as WiseOceans was just starting out. Over the years Lindsay has developed WiseOceans’ invaluable programmes at resorts, designing and implementing reef restoration projects and bespoke experiences for resort guests to inspire a love for the oceans. As the company grew and our team of passionate marine educators expanded, Lindsay moved back to the UK and dusted off those mathematics skills… Lindsay is now WiseOceans’ Director of Finance and lives on her livery yard in the Lake District with her lurcher pup, Jack.
“Although I have always loved the sea, I was a late starter into the marine world, and didn’t do my first snorkel until I was 21. And I was surprisingly nervous! But I can still remember it now, and it truly changed my life. There is a whole world beneath the ocean surface that is just mesmerising. I want to be a part of the team of people working to keep it that way.”
Charlotte Orba, Dive into the Classroom Coordinator (based in UK)
Charlotte’s first career was in music, ending up as a Head of Department for degrees in Popular Music and Music Production at Leeds College of Music. She took a career break and joined a three-month marine conservation volunteer project in Seychelles. This led to a career change and a job with WiseOceans as a Marine Educator – combining her experience in education with her newfound love of marine life. After three years in Seychelles, Charlotte returned home to the UK and now leads on all aspects of Communications for WiseOceans as well as our Dive into the Classroom programme. She has a particular passion for encouraging others to make sustainable lifestyle choices that help protect and conserve our marine life.
“The ability to make a difference to the planet we live on and the oceans within was the impetus for my career change from music to marine conservation.”
Krishna Ashok, WiseOceans Seychelles Manager (based in Seychelles)
Krishna grew up by the South-East coast of India. He then travelled to Newcastle, UK to study for an MSc in International Marine Environmental Consultancy. He returned to India to work as Education Officer with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ Environmental Team which made him realise that environmental education was where his heart lay. Krishna moved to Seychelles to become a WiseOceans Marine Educator – working on Mahé and Desroches in Seychelles as well as in Mauritius. He now manages our NGO WiseOceans Seychelles developing outreach programmes and marine awareness projects.
“I used to go swimming in the sea since a very young age with family and friends. Soon I started to wonder what was under the waves! The fascination that there are such incredible creatures thriving in an environment so drastically different than the one we are used to is never-ending.”
Bernard Toinette, Marine Educator (Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita)
Bernard comes from the beautiful island of Mauritius and, having always lived near the coast, feels very connected with the oceans and the marine life within. He worked as forest guide at Valley de Ferney Nature Reserve and then on the ocean as a skipper, diver, sailing and water skiing instructor. Seeing the degradation of the reefs in Mauritius after spending 20 years on the sea made Bernard want to join the WiseOceans team and contribute to its conservation and protection. As well as taking guests and resort staff out on guided snorkels, Bernard takes a lead on the La Passe Cadet Reef Restoration Project which aims to restore 10,000 sqm of the reef close to the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita.
Georgina Beresford, Conservation and Education Strategic Advisor (based in UK)
“The ocean has always been a source of wonder and fascination to me. I believe by connecting people to their oceans and all the benefits they bring, we can also connect people to the solutions we need to sustain these incredible ecosystems for future generations.”
Emily Daniels, Resort Operations Manager (based in France)
Emily has always had a sense of adventure, this led to her travelling to Australia at the age of 18 where she began her career in marine conservation. As a PADI instructor she has work in marine operations, and research station management in countries including Indonesia, Philippines, Honduras and Seychelles.
Now based in the South of France, Emily works remotely for WiseOceans. Initially working as the Administrator for the Wise Work Emily is now our Resort Operations Manager which is utilising Emily’s experience in managing teams and operations in remote, tropical, marine focused places.
“The combination of introducing students to the world of marine research and diving was inspiring and I found that education was key to ensuring the next generation continued to be passionate about the underwater world. “
Jordan Sutherland, Marine Educator (Team Leader) (Four Seasons Resorts Seychelles)
Jordan worked as a Divemaster and Scuba Instructor in several locations across the world before deciding to study Marine Biology and Oceanography at the University of Southampton. She kept diving whilst studying and absolutely loved connecting what she was learning in the classroom with the environment she was seeing underwater.
At WiseOceans, Jordan leads the Marine Educator team with additional responsibility for the day to day operations of the Reef Restoration Project in Petite Anse. Jordan really enjoys engaging with people about the ocean, hoping to help them find or enhance their passion for it. Of course, she also adores her corals!
“Many people are able to appreciate how important education is, yet the education we receive about our oceans is often underrepresented. It is my belief that by providing the information and taking the time to explain topics in a fun and engaging environment, that inspiration and true change will emerge”
Stephanie Cybèle Clarisse, Marine Educator (Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita)
Stephanie was born and grew up in Mauritius. The wonder of Mauritius’ marine ecosystems and diversity alongside the concerned felt about the threats it faced made her decide to pursue her tertiary studies in this field. Having interned and worked with several conservation organisations in Mauritius in 2016 Stephanie received a Scholarship from the Government of China, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of Mauritius, to complete a Masters in Harbor, Coastal and Offshore Engineering at Hohai University in Nanjing, China.
Now, she is back in Mauritius working with WiseOceans as a Marine Educator – combining her two passions, education and the sea.
“My aim is to protect the coral reefs through marine education, reaching as many people as possible so that not only do we get a chance to witness the survival of our impressive marine life but future generations do too.”
Ashley Taylor, Marine Educator (Four Seasons Resorts Seychelles at Desroches Island)
After graduating from Texas State University with a BFA focused in Education, Ashley had accrued extensive experience across the globe as a scientific diver, dive shop manager, and guide aboard eco-conscious boats. In addition, she has developed and implemented educational programming for community groups and schools in Bali and led reef restoration projects there.
More recently, she received her US Coast Guard license and completed a season on the Arctic Ocean in Alaska as a Boat Captain.
Ashley’s role as a WiseOceans Marine Educator combines her passion for education alongside her experience and love for marine conservation.
“I believe that education is the foundation to conservation”
Toni Pickering, Sales & Marketing Coordinator (based in the UK)
Toni has always had a passion for wildlife conservation, which led her to undertake a degree in Zoology at The University of Nottingham. During which, she embarked on a voluntary expedition to Africa with the conservation organisation Operation Wallacea with the latter part of the month-long trip was centred around assessing reef health in Mozambique (Maputo Bay). After becoming PADI Open-Water accredited, she undertook daily dives for a fortnight which reinforced her interest in African wildlife, but also ignited her enthusiasm for the oceans, something which she had not felt for several years since a childhood obsession with sharks. After graduating, she spent two years as a Laboratory Technician for The University of Leads’ Biology Department, before unfortunately being made redundant. At this stage, she decided to change careers, and went into Fintech sector, working as a Business Development Manager, a position she still currently undertakes.
Like many of us, she joined the sector by beginning as a volunteer, after she was successful in obtaining a voluntary Social Media and Communications position here, at WiseOceans. Shortly after, in July 2020, she joined the team on a permanent basis, as a Sales and Marketing Coordinator.
“Though I have always loved the Sea, it was only during my voluntary expedition to Mozambique, where I undertook my first dive, that I discovered just how spectacular it was under the waves! Since graduating I had yet to feel passionate about my vocation and had yet to obtain a role which fulfilled my ambition to be part of an organisation where inspiring positive change was at its core. So, I am incredibly excited to be a part of the WiseOceans team”.
Rowana Walton, Wise Work Coordinator (based in the UK)
Rowana has spent the past 15 years working in wildlife conservation around the world in some enviable locations. With an MSc in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health Rowana has led and worked on a number of critical conservation and community development projects both above and below the water. From the first time Rowana ventured underwater SCUBA diving, she has been mesmerized by the abundance and diversity of coral reefs. This passion led her to spend 8 years living and working in Seychelles for a number of NGOs on coral reef conservation and management projects and as a Lecturer at the University of Seychelles, focussing her research in the same area. Rowana firmly believes that conservation efforts cannot be effective without education and communication activities alongside, and is a long time supporter and partner of WiseOceans and their activities.
Now based in the UK, Rowana works remotely for WiseOceans as the Coordinator for the Wise Work section of the company. Her responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of the sales, promotion and recruitment for marine conservation organisations through the Wise Work job board and weekly job alert newsletter.
‘Nothing compares to the feeling of being underwater surrounded by the thriving and pulsating community of a coral reef ecosystem. My hope is that as many people as possible also get the chance to have this experience, and to feel as passionately as I do about the need for its protection.’