Sea Turtle Camp Educators
The Sea Turtle Camp team is comprised of expert Marine Science educators and an administrative staff who bring with them professional experience, in-depth knowledge and a broad range of skill sets. Sea Turtle Camp counselors are passionate about marine biology and the study of coastal ecosystems, and they are excited to share this passion with curious campers who have also discovered the importance and wonder of this field.
Employment at Sea Turtle Camp is extremely competitive. We examine hundreds of applications before selecting members of our elite team. All applicants must go through our intense three-part interview process and comprehensive background check. We take only the top candidates and are extremely proud to provide one of the greatest employment opportunities available among summer camps. Upon hiring, all counselors must attend our mandatory staff orientation prior to the start of each season. Required qualifications include American Red Cross certification in Lifeguarding, CPR and First Aid.
Our founder, Jen Civelli, plays a fundamental role in the hiring and training of each team member. Jen has worked as a chemistry instructor at Cape Fear Community College and UNC-Wilmington and has spent many years working with Jean Beasley at the Sea Turtle Hospital. She and her family continue to play a huge role in raising awareness and funds for this amazing organization.
Our mission statement of empowering youth to become independent, proactive stewards of the environment is deeply shared by our team. We are conscious of the fact that without the ocean there is no life on earth. We have dedicated our lives to educating campers about environmental conservation, living a lifestyle that is harmonious with this purpose, and exploring new ways of sharing our mission.
Blair Brannon, Program Coordinator
Blair is from Cornelius, a small town just north of Charlotte, NC. Although she grew up on a lake, her parents were avid scuba divers and got her involved when she was just 15. She has been scuba diving all around the world in places like Hawaii, Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Thomas, Florida Keys, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Soon after her introduction to diving, Blair’s interest in the ocean and marine life grew into her passion, which developed into her career.
In 2011, Blair moved to pursue a degree at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). There she studied Environmental Science with a minor in Spanish and volunteered at the NC Fort Fisher Aquarium. Each winter, she spent time in Costa Rica with sea turtle nest excavations and releasing hatchlings, gaining hands on experience. In the spring of 2014, she had the opportunity to travel to the island of Curacao to study coral reefs and the impacts of sea level rise. During an internship with the NC Coastal Federation in Wrightsville Beach, Blair found her calling for environmental education and sharing her passion with others. Loving Wilmington so much, she decided to continue her studies and received a Master of Science in Environmental Science, Coastal Management.
Following her graduation in 2017, Blair began her journey with our Surf Camp division becoming Unit Leader for the Guppy and Grom programs during the summer, earning 2017 Counselor of the Year. After that summer season, she worked for UNCW Youth Programs, traveling to schools all around coastal NC teaching classes hands-on marine science lessons. Blair eventually made her way back to the company and is now excited to be the Program Coordinator for Sea Turtle Camp!
In her free time Blair can be found traveling, playing soccer, spending time at the beach, playing volleyball, going to trivia nights, scuba diving, hiking, or holding up her ping pong champion status in the office.
Kody Crawford, Camp Director
Kody is from the south shore of Massachusetts. By far, his favorite part of the year is summer. He spent his early summer seasons walking to the local beach with his friends. The only time not spent in the salty cold northern Atlantic was swapped for his fresh water escapades at his beloved childhood summer camp.
Kody considers himself a jack of all trades when it comes to hobbies and interests. He is a master level martial artist, a certified culinary artist, an avid adventure outdoorsman and former guide, (a previous) all scholastic runner, a novice breakdancer, and a decent volleyball player.
But one passion trumps all others – Kody’s passion for camps and youth development. Kody has held numerous roles at different camps. From junior counselor, to outdoor educator, to unit leader, and all the way to full time director, Kody has spent many years embodying the spirit of camp in the pursuit of helping youth find their way. It is for that reason Kody graduated from the honors program at Ithaca College with a degree in Recreation Management. In effort to further support children throughout the year, Kody will be undergoing graduate studies in School Counseling this fall at UMASS Amherst.
Leanne Murray – Unit Leader (Hawaii)
Before moving to North Carolina, Leanne lived on Long Island, New York where her love for the mysterious ocean began. She quickly realized she wanted to pursue a career involving marine conservation and wildlife rehabilitation, so she completed her Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In college, Leanne found her interest in sea turtles specifically. She was enrolled in a course that gave her the opportunity to volunteer at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital and at the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Leanne also has various education experience as she helped plan and lead environmental education programs as an intern at her local library, volunteered as a docent at a nearby aquarium, and was a Sea Turtle Camp Unit Leader in summer 2018. During the year, Leanne works as a Marine Science Instructor at The Catalina Island Marine Institute off the coast of Southern California. She also enjoys spending time hiking, reading, and practicing her photography. In the future, Leanne hopes to further her education while continuing to educate and inspire others by sharing her passion for wildlife and the environment.
Ryan Tucker – Unit Leader (SCUBA)
Born on the north coast of California, the salty air soaked in early. Ryan moved across the country to Elizabeth City NC in 1995 and back to CA in 1999 -he grew up all over because his dad was in the Coast Guard. Growing up he had a love for the outdoors and especially the ocean. Ryan received his Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology and a Minor in Scientific Diving at Humboldt State University. It was in college that he fell in love with SCUBA and all that it has to offer. He hopes to bring this passion to Sea Turtle Camp again this summer. He is fascinated by all that is under the sea and loves getting to learn more every day. Ryan was with us last year and is so excited to be a part of camp again and have the opportunity to share his love for sea turtles, marine science, diving, and of course the ocean. “Let’s blow some bubbles”
Carrie Zamonski – Marine Educator (SCUBA)
Carrie grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania and spent many summer weeks at either the Jersey Shore or the Outer Banks, where she fell in love with the beach and ocean conservation. Carrie received a degree in Environmental Resource Management, with minors in Marine Science and Watersheds and Water Resources from Penn State University in May 2019. At Penn State, Carrie became involved in the University’s science diving program, where she learned to scuba dive and gained an appreciation for underwater science exploration! At school, Carrie worked as a trip leader guiding outdoor adventure trips and team facilitation programs for Penn State’s Outdoor Adventures Program. Carrie has interned at the Philadelphia Zoo, at Riverbend Environmental Education Center, and at the Bald Head Island Conservancy, which all helped deepen her love for the natural world, public outreach programs, and wildlife. In her free time, you can find Carrie traveling, talking about turtles, hiking, rock climbing, or doing just about anything outside. She is super stoked to spend a summer next to the beach teaching future generations about the ocean, conservation, and scuba diving!
Locke Revels – Marine Educator (SCUBA)
North Carolina born and bred, Locke holds a strong passion for the outdoors and a joy for sharing that passion with others. He grew up in Harrisburg, NC making frequent trips to explore the lakes, beaches, and mountains from one end of the state to the other. While attending UNC-Chapel Hill to study environmental and marine sciences, he experienced the wonder of SCUBA diving which has led him into a deeper fascination with the marine environment ever since.
Now a PADI rescue diver and AAUS scientific diver, Locke has applied his love for the underwater world by conducting research on artificial reefs in North Carolina, and exploring marine environments in New Zealand, Fiji, Ireland, the northern Gulf of Mexico, and the Baja California Peninsula. When not underwater, Locke enjoys backpacking and travelling, playing ultimate frisbee, riding his mountain bike, climbing, trail running, and just about anything to do with music. This will be his first summer with Sea Turtle Camp and he is so stoked to meet the campers and share in some new ocean adventures!
Courtney King – Unit Leader (Loggerheads)
Courtney is an enthusiastic marine conservationist who is very excited to spend the summer with us at Sea Turtle Camp! After graduating with a degree in Biology, she has been working with nesting sea turtles since May of 2017 on both coasts of Costa Rica and on South Padre Island in Texas. She is now living and working back in Costa Rica with the biggest sea turtle species on the planet, the Leatherback! While in Texas, she also worked in environmental education and loved inspiring young people about the importance of marine conservation and is very excited to do the same here on Topsail. She hopes to encourage young aspiring marine biologists to get out of the comfort zone, go after their dreams, and see the world. Courtney loves spending time outdoors kayaking, hiking, and snowboarding and can’t wait to be a Unit Leader for Sea Turtle Camp 2019!
Olivia Loveday – Marine Educator (Loggerheads)
Olivia grew up in London (England) and has always been drawn to water and exploration. She’s gone from sprint to synchronized swimming and fallen in love with scuba and freediving. In 2014, she decided to study Oceanography at the University of Southampton which has allowed her to get a better grasp of what goes on in our oceans. Along the way, she started contributing to sea turtle conservation around the world and is hooked! She’s worked on research projects in Greece, Florida, and more recently Costa Rica with the Leatherback Trust where she spent 6 months tagging measuring and protecting nesting leatherback, olive ridley and black sea turtles. Last summer at Sea Turtle Camp, Olivia loved teaching teens about the marine environment and how to make a positive impact in the world. She is so excited to come back to Topsail Island to continue educating students about the beaches, salt marshes, and sea turtles on the East Coast – while catching a couple waves along the way!
Nicole Krampitz – Marine Educator (Leatherbacks)
Nicole Krampitz is a Senior at the University of Miami majoring in Marine Science and Biology with minors in Math and French. From a young age, she has always had a passion for ocean, specifically marine mammals and other large vertebrates. She spends as much of her time as she can on or in the water, whether that be through swimming in the lap pool, fishing on a friend’s boat, or diving under the water. During the school year she volunteers at a coral acidification lab and serves as a Teaching Assistant for chemistry labs. She’s also SCUBA certified and fluent in French!
She is currently spending a semester abroad in the Galapagos monitoring sea turtle nesting sites on the island of Islabela. After college, she plans on obtaining her master’s degree in a related field of marine science. Her ultimate goal is to one day work in the field of conservation or lead research pertaining to marine ecology!
Abigail Hayes – Marine Educator (Carolina Ocean Odyssey)
Abigail grew up in Michigan and spent many summers up north swimming, camping, and fishing. After attending Sea Turtle Camp when she was 13, she knew that she wanted to become a Marine Scientist. In 2016 she began that dream and moved south to attend Coastal Carolina University. She is very involved on campus with Sea Turtle Club and in the fall performs sea turtle inventories and in the spring does marine education outreach at local elementary schools. She recently completed a field course in Costa Rica doing research on leatherback sea turtles. Abby is very excited to work with future marine biology campers and sea turtles this summer.
Jeremy Carr – Marine Educator (Hawaii)
|Jeremy is from a small town outside of Lake Norman, North Carolina. Jeremy has been involved in sports and the outdoors all throughout his life. He ran track and played football and baseball in high school, and later went on to play football in college. His family has been going to the Outer Banks his entire life. He picked up bodyboarding and skimboarding pretty quickly, and he loves to fish and explore. The other parts of his summer are spent at the lake with his friends where they all love to wakeboard, and wakesurf. If he is not at the lake or the beach, you can probably find him in the gym, or on the trails either hiking or just taking in the beauty of nature itself. He just started pursuing photography and is always trying to get that one shot. He recently graduated from North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, North Carolina with a B.S. in Biology. He has always loved the ocean and everything it has to offer, especially the coral reefs. Jeremy was a summer intern with Field School in Miami, Florida. He had the opportunity to catch and tag a variety of sharks and rays as well as learn about the ecology of seagrass, mangroves, and the coral reef habitats. During his time in Miami, Jeremy realized he wanted to continue in this line of work for the rest of his life. He plans to attend graduate school in the upcoming years and has hopes of becoming a marine biology professor later down the road. Jeremy believes the most important part of marine conservation is helping inform the public and trying to show them how essential our oceans really are. He is eager to be apart of the Sea Turtle Staff to help students further their future as young scientists.|
Sierra Greene – Trip Leader (Costa Rica)
|Sierra grew up in a rural part of western New York and spent as much time outdoors as she could. Hiking, kayaking and spending time in the Adirondack Mountains and on Lake Erie took up most of her summers. Being in a land locked state made her lust for the ocean and led Sierra to Tampa, Florida, where she is currently working on her degree in Marine Biology at the University of South Florida. While in Florida, Sierra has followed her passion by working with sea turtles during nesting season and doing research with mangroves. Being outdoors still stands a constant in her life and she enjoys sharing this passion as a trip leader with her school’s Outdoor Recreations Adventure trip program. Some trips shes been on include; kayaking, hiking, rock climbing and SCUBA diving. Sierra is excited for Sea Turtle Camp this summer so that she can share her knowledge and passion for marine life with enthusiastic campers.|
Victoria Escandell – Trip Leader (Costa Rica)
Victoria grew up in Satellite Beach, Florida where she spent most of her days by the water developing a passion for marine biology. Victoria is currently in her senior year at the University of South Florida pursuing a degree in Marine Biology. During school at USF she has had a Sea Turtle Migration Research Internship at the Florida Fish and Wildlife and a position in the Marine Biology Club. She has been leading multiple group mission trips for students with her local church since she was in high school. Through this Victoria has developed a passion for education and leading students. Her favorite hobbies are camping and going to the beach with friends, playing in the pool with her dog, Nyla, and diving for scientific research. Victoria’s hobbies and passions are what brought her to Sea Turtle Camp and she is excited for the summer and to meet all the campers!