This ongoing series of blogs profiles our Blue Parks Ambassadors: a group of ocean champions across the world and diverse spheres who care deeply about safeguarding life in the sea. Blue Parks Ambassadors help us build support for Blue Parks and securing effective protection for 30% of the ocean by 2030 by communicating the value of these special places for revitalizing the health of the ocean. Our ambassadors connect government leaders, protected area managers, ocean enthusiasts, ocean-related businesses, and future generations of ocean-lovers with resources for understanding and celebrating effective marine conservation practices. What unites them is their passion for marine wildlife.
This week, meet Caitlin McCall: a marine conservationist, PADI Scuba Instructor, podcaster, and scientific diver in Key West, Florida. She is surrounded by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, site of our current campaign to improve the management plan for the sanctuary.
In her early twenties, Caitlin McCall graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Communication studies in her home state of Texas at Texas State University. She then did what every good ‘ad girl’ does and worked office jobs at a few different magazines. It didn’t take long for her to feel completely disconnected. She wasn’t passionate about what she was doing and didn’t know why.
She had what some would call a mid-twenties ‘crisis’ and had to go find herself and her passion. So she quit the office job, got her Divemaster certification and then moved to Australia. After a year there and then months living in New Zealand, she fell in love with the ocean. The ocean had become such a big piece of her that when she arrived back in Texas she began plotting her reunion with the ocean, and moved to Key West, Florida.
There, she completed a Marine Environmental Technology program at Florida Keys College. This program catapulted her into research diving, which gave her hands on experience and further ignited her passion. Since then, she has gained a PADI Scuba Instructor certification and embarked on a career to combine her skills in communications with her passion for teaching others about the ocean and its marvelous marine life.
As an outgrowth of this commitment to marine conservation communication, Caitlin has developed an online course for marine life enthusiasts looking for an introduction to conservation aspects of the underwater world. She designed an online course for those who love the ocean and want to learn more about it and how to take action to protect it, those who are thinking about a career in marine biology, teachers who want to expand their knowledge about the ocean, or just plain ocean lovers who want to appreciate the wonders around them more knowledgeably.
To help support our work and educate young people about the ocean, Caitlin has generously offered her course for free to the recipients of our new JEDI Ocean Award, which will celebrate two Sonoma County BIPOC teens interested in marine science. Anyone can register for her course –no SCUBA skills are required—and each enrollment helps support Marine Conservation Institute!
We asked Caitlin “Why did you become a Blue Parks Ambassador?”
“The Blue Parks program excites me because I have a deep interest in marine protected areas and improving their level of protection and management. I believe this is one of the best ways we can help to protect the ocean. I can incorporate this into my scuba diving courses and retreats on conservation. As I look forward to expanding my business towards marine conservation retreats, I would love to take students to areas where this is done well, show them how it works, and how much strongly protected areas can contribute to making the ocean healthier.”