Abbie Hine MSc, Founder & Managing Director of WiseOceans
Abbie is a marine educator and coral researcher, with over 18 years experience of educating people of all ages and abilities and many more years submerged and passionately embracing everything marine conservation related. Abbie has spent many years working 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 at the 2007 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 over the years 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 is 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
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.”
Bec Atkins, Director of Operations
Bec has had a varied career in the scientific research sector, starting her career over 15 years ago in toxicology and pharmacology research. Bec has always been fascinated by the marine world but her first encounter with manta rays and whale sharks in Australia in 2005 during a career break, which also saw her learn to dive, had her hooked! Bec returned to work in the UK, knowing her future path was forever changed. A couple of years later, answering the yearning to contribute to something worthwhile and close to her heart, Bec spent time abroad in Borneo and Vietnam working on community conservation projects with Raleigh International and later worked as a dive instructor; experiencing first-hand the challenges our oceans face, working with local communities and the tourism industry, Bec knew she wanted to be a part of the solution.
Bec returned to the UK and undertook an MSc in Marine Environmental Management, which saw her spend three month’s in the Maldives with the Manta Trust’s Maldivian Manta Ray Project, conducting research into manta tourism, and more specifically, human interactions, behavioural impacts and management implications; this would later be used to help inform a Code of Conduct for manta ray tourism. After completing her MSc, Bec worked in marine conservation as a Researcher and later as a Marine Lead Adviser for Natural England, and was a Trustee of the Manta Trust for several years before spending three years as the Manta Trust’s Director of Operations.
“I have loved the sea for as long as I can remember, and have always been drawn to being near it, on it or under the surface at every given opportunity! There’s nothing quite like seeing someone’s face when they learn to dive or snorkel and get to experience the wonder of the underwater world or a coral reef for the first time. I am deeply passionate about ocean conservation and the role we can all play in ensuring we, and future generations, can continue to enjoy it and most importantly, that it teems with life and thrives such that all life that depend upon it can continue to do so. I am excited to be a part of the WiseOceans team, where education and communication is at the heart of getting us all inspired to make a difference, and making sure that we all play our part”.
Charlotte Orba, Education & Communications Manager
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, Marine Discovery Programmes 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 and time as Education Officer with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ Environmental Team 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 WiseOceans’ Marine Discovery Programmes, helping to develop innovative and quality marine education across the globe and supporting our growing team of Marine Educators.
“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.”
Hannah Harries, Senior Marine Educator (based in the UK)
Hannah grew up in sunny West Wales where she spent all of her time in the rock pools of the rugged coastline searching for marine life. From a very young age being a marine biologist was the only thing on her mind; she trained as a Divemaster, completed a degree in Marine Vertebrate Zoology at Bangor University and began her marine conservation journey working with Sea Trust where she monitored the cetaceans of the Irish Sea and raised awareness of them within the local community.
Hannah first joined WiseOceans as a Marine Educator in Seychelles, and after three years at our Marine Discovery Programmes in the Indian Ocean is now based at home in Wales focusing on our Dive into the Classroom programme.
“Having grown up right by the sea, originally it was a love of dolphins and desire to know more about life under the sea and within the rockpools that inspired me; now my passion is to inspire others to love and care about our seas and what’s in them just as much as I do!”
Ben Taylor, Education & Outreach Manager (based remotely)
Ben studied Marine and Freshwater Biology BSc at Aberystwyth University, Wales, complementing his studies with practical experience as an environmental educator in Georgia, USA and turtle conservation in Cape Verde and Seychelles. After completing an MSc in International Marine Environmental Consultancy at Newcastle University Ben returned to Seychelles to work as a science officer for a marine conservation volunteering programme. Joining WiseOceans, he led and developed exciting schools and community programmes in partnership with the Seychelles Department of Education. Ben is currently working remotely and developing further opportunities for innovative marine conservation and outreach.
“Education is at its best when it is fun, engaging and passionate! One inspirational teacher is all I needed to become a marine biologist. Now it is my turn to share this knowledge and help to inspire the next conservationists of the future, and help to preserve the marine environment.”
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.
Lois Nippard, Marine Educator (Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita)
“I have always been captivated by the ocean and everything that lives in it. The more I have learnt, the more my desire grew to pass this knowledge on. If everyone knew some of the wonders that are beneath the waves and how important the oceans are to life then together we can make sure it’s protected.”
Georgina Beresford, Funding & Project Manager (based in Seychelles)
“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, Wise Work Administrator
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 as the Administrator 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 newsletter.
“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 (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 is a Marine Educator 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”
Flavio Joseph, Marine Educator (Four Seasons Resorts Seychelles at Desroches Island)
Flavio is from Mauritius, from Curepipe more precisely. The interest to engage in this field came from watching documentaries about the marine world. He enrolled for a BSc in Marine Science and Technology at the University of Mauritius in 2014 and spent his holidays as a volunteer in NGOs engaged in marine conservation. He discovered the beauties residing in the ocean through training in dive centre where he got his diving certificates.
Flavio is now based at the Four Seasons Resort on Desroches Island where he enjoys connecting with guests about the marine diversity of this remote island, cycling around to guide them on amazing snorkel where they can discover the beautiful seagrass meadows.
“Before I even knew how to swim, I was already going into the sea with my mask and snorkel because of the fascination I felt for what is underwater.”
Flora Blackett, Marine Educator (Four Seasons Resorts Seychelles)
Discovering from a young age that conservation was an important passion, Flora carried it all the way through to university where she studied for both a BSc and MSc in Wildlife Conservation. She has worked in many countries around the world on various projects including sea turtle conservation, mangrove reforestation, tiger ecosystem protection, rock lobster research and most recently been the resident marine biologist for a five-star resort in Maldives.
Now working for WiseOceans, she is based in Seychelles working mainly at Four Seasons Resorts Seychelles on Mahé. Here she spends most days on the beach talking to guests about reef life and its importance and guiding them around the bay to catch a small glimpse of this little paradise.
“One experience can change your life – using the ocean to do this is easy as it’s quite simply magical under the waves”
Elizabeth Beck, Marine Educator (Four Seasons Resorts Seychelles)
Elizabeth studied biology at Cardiff University and joined the Marine Conservation and Scientific Diving Society where she became the Society’s Secretary. After she graduated, she volunteered in Fiji where she completed her Divemaster. She spent over 3 months diving every day, taking part in Reef Check surveys as well as helping others who were learning to dive.
Elizabeth now works a Marine Educator for WiseOceans. She is based at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles where her daily tasks can include anything from leading guided snorkels to educating guests on the importance of coral reefs. She enjoys chatting with guests about marine biology when they come to the picnic table (the teams “office”) to ask her any questions they have about what they may have seen in the bay.
“The ocean is a whole other world that many people don’t get to experience. It connects everyone and is vital to so many people, so helping people explore it is an honour”
Rick Bonnier, Marine Educator (Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita)
Since he was young, Rick-Ernest Bonnier has had a passion for animal care and welfare. Rick has volunteered with a whole range of conservation organisations in his native Mauritius – both terrestrial and marine. in 2012 Rick joined the Mauritius Marine Conservation Society where he was responsible for coordinating an eco volunteer programme, collecting data on different cetacean and sea turtle encounters at sea, and raising awareness with the community and tourists about marine life and threats. Rick was awarded the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders – the flagship programme of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) which enabled him to attend a 6-week leadership course at the University of California and an internship of 6 weeks at Cape Haterras National Seashore North Carolina as well as meeting President Obama himself. Rick is excited to be part of the WiseOceans team as this work is a combination of his passions of teaching and exploring the marine life.
“My goal is not only to educate and increase people’s awareness about marine life but also to immerse them and inspire them to be passionate”
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