Through an alternative break program at the College of Charleston (CofC) in South Carolina I had the incredible opportunity to volunteer for Earth, Sea & Sky in the summer of 2014. I flew to Greece, and embarked on one of the most life changing adventures of my life. This experience is what drives me today to pursue working as marine conservationist.
The few months prior to arriving at Earth, Sea & Sky, I, and the other nine volunteers from CofC, learned as much as we possibly could about tourism and the devastation it is causing marine habitats. However, when I first arrived, I quickly realized that I still had a lot to learn. Yannis and Jonna worked hard to continue educating my group, and train us to teach tourists. While teaching us, I was awestruck by the passion Yannis and Jonna have for their work. Their strength to fight for the survival of marine wildlife, and promote sustainable tourism was incredible to be exposed to.
My experience with Earth, Sea & Sky truly changed me. I always had a love for the environment; however, it was not until I met Yannis and Jonna that I felt like I could go into conservation. They constantly face obstacles and hardships, yet their passion for their work is enough to allow them continue fighting. This makes them incredibly unique, and I find myself aspiring to have half of the strength that they demonstrate. I find myself constantly thinking about my time as a volunteer, and am itching to continue working in marine conservation. This organization inspired me to not only to pursue a profession in conservation, but to also change my own lifestyle.
I no longer attend CofC and am now a student at the George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, DC. I am so excited to continue my work with Earth, Sea & Sky, and see my transferring as a wonderful opportunity to connect another university with this organization. It is my hope to start a student group at GWU that raises money for Earth, Sea & Sky, and to educate the student body to raise awareness about sustainable tourism, and marine habitat conservation.
Ultimately, it is my goal for GWU’s alternative break program to give even more students an opportunity to volunteer with the organization that inspired me to fight for the environment. Earth, Sea & Sky has a very special place in my heart. I want to do everything I can to give back to the organization that gave so much to me.