Welcoming our New Team of Naturalists
Welcome to Marie, Julie and Genievive
We are so pleased to start a new program dedicated to educating the volunteers coming to our beach cleanups. Each week, we will have a naturalist at a beach cleanup from 9 to 11am to talk about kelp, the ocean, the marine eco-system and many more cool environmental subjects.
Make sure to check our calendar and posts to know where our Naturalists are going to be next!
Introducing our New Team Starting with Marie Kazan-Komarek
Marie Kazan-Komarek has been volunteering with harbor seals for 30 years and has been a part of the Beach Watch program for 23 years. Her love of the ocean has led to a lifetime of helping the animals that live within it’s depths and striving to help others understand why it’s important to protect the unique environment that is a integral part of the Bay Area. When her oldest daughter was 2, she began volunteering at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. Today, 30 years later, she is still part of the Tuesday night crew taking care of harbor seals. Her weekly shift starts with paperwork to organize her crew for the evening. She sorts print outs, labels and clipboards as she plans which seal needs food, medication or other care and which crew member is assigned to do each job. She then walks the area checking each pen and making sure all is in order before her crew arrives. The pup harbor seals make noises that sound like they are calling out, “Ma! Ma!” as she walks by
Learn More About Julie Walters
Since 2007 Julie has been a Naturalist at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in San Mateo County. There, she conducts tours with organized school groups and visitors. She also rove along the reef and engage with visitors answering questions, identifying animals and making sure that visitors follow proper tidepool etiquette. In 2009, Julie suggested that the naturalists partner with the California Academy of Sciences to conduct nudibranch surveys in the Reserve. After surveying the area for 10 years they have noticed a number of trends and in 2013, they observed an increase in the number of the Hopkins rose nudibranch. These pink fluffy looking slugs are typically a more southern species. Thanks to Julie’s project it was later determined to be linked to warming ocean water temperatures. Later one, she developed a photo identification guide of the 50 or so species that we typically see near Pillar Point and in the Reserve which was then published on iNaturalist.
Finally, Meet Genievive Mendieta
Genievive Mendieta studied Marine Biology at UC Santa Cruz. She did her MSC in Zoology and her research was on sea tunicates. She has experience working with marine mammals and intertidal species and she also taught Biology (Marine Biology, Oceanography, Human Biology, Animal Biology, Ecology) at community colleges in the bay area for about 7 years. She has volunteered at the Marine Mammal Center and also was a former naturalist for San Francisco Whale Tours at Pier 39 where she was a naturalist and lead trips around the SF Bay and at the Farallone Islands. Genievive then transitioned into working in her current position as the STEM coordinator and Health Education instructor at San Francisco State.