In 2019 We Launched Our Naturalist Program

Marie, Julie and Genievive

When we launched our Naturalist program in 2019, Marie, Julie and Genievive were our first naturalists.

We were so pleased to start a new program dedicated to educating the volunteers coming to our beach cleanups. Since then, we have had a naturalist at every beach cleanups to talk about kelp, the ocean, the marine eco-system and many more cool environmental subjects.

Introducing 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 Walters 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 roves along the reef and engages with visitors, answering questions, identifying animals and making sure that visitors follow proper tide pool etiquette. In 2009, Julie suggested the naturalists partner with the California Academy of Sciences to conduct nudibranch surveys in the Reserve. After surveying the area for 10 years they noticed a number of trends and in 2013, they observed an increase in the number of Hopkins rose nudibranchs. These pink fluffy looking slugs are typically a more southern species. Thanks to Julie’s project, the increase was determined to be linked to warming ocean water temperatures. Julie developed a photo identification guide of the 50 species typically seen near Pillar Point and in the Reserve, which was published on iNaturalist.

Finally, Meet Genievive Mendieta

Genievive Mendieta studied Marine Biology at UC Santa Cruz. She completed her MSC in Zoology with research on sea tunicates. She has worked with marine mammals and intertidal species, and has also taught biology (Marine Biology, Oceanography, Human Biology, Animal Biology, and Ecology) at community colleges in the Bay Area for 7 years. Genievive has volunteered at the Marine Mammal Center and was a naturalist for San Francisco Whale Tours at Pier 39 leading tripsaround San Francisco Bay and to the Farallone Islands. She is currently the STEM coordinator and Health Education instructor at San Francisco State University.  

Are you a Naturalist or professional Marine Biologist? You can join our team. For more information on how to apply or questions, contact us at info [at]