Born and raised in the city of Chicago, Carolyn’s passion for travel and super-power organizing skills led to her early career coordinating evidence transfer in international environmental litigation for Lloyd’s of London. After spending several years immersed in office life, she decided to hit the road and opted for a more interesting career in the dive industry.
In 2004, she once again found herself in an office…. although a much more fun one, behind the front desk at Sea Saba Dive Center. That same year, Carolyn was a presenter at Sea & Learn about the Reef Check citizen science monitoring program and (Fun Fact!) she played the character of Nemo in the closing ceremony.
After relocating to Bonaire in 2008 as a dive instructor, she slowly worked her way up, becoming the manager of the largest chain of dive and retail centers on the island as well as becoming a PADI Course Director in 2016. She organized large-scale, quarterly clean up dives underneath Bonaire’s various piers using the Project AWARE Dive Against Debris citizen science marine litter monitoring program. In 2012, she initiated Debris Free Bonaire to tackle the issue of seemingly endless amounts of plastic litter washing ashore on Bonaire’s windward coastline.
In 2018, Carolyn began working with WWF-NL as Coordinator for the Clean Coast Bonaire project and implemented a pilot program using the OSPAR Marine Litter Monitoring protocol. This protocol was developed and used in the North East Atlantic and instrumental in the implementation of single use plastic bans in Europe. Joining the table for the conversation between regional marine litter experts, Carolyn’s work focuses on coordinated data collection as a means to drive litter reduction strategy. In 2019, she assessed leading litter monitoring initiatives and co-authored the manual for Harmonizing Marine Litter Monitoring in the Wider Caribbean Region providing recommendations for policymakers and experts in the region.
Carolyn believes that we all have a role to play in preventing marine litter, from personal choices to action within our communities, countries, regions, and world. During her presentation and field project, you will learn more about what we find on the beaches of the Caribbean, where it is coming from, why it’s a problem and what can be done to protect the oceans that we love.
We will be updating our calendar with activity dates and times as we continue to coordinate our event. Stay tuned!