I grew up in Connecticut, fully submersed in the marine environment, scuba diving and cleaning up the beaches. Captivated by the sea and the desire to make positive environmental impacts in my community, I embraced my passion and matriculated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Sciences. I ventured with classmates through marshes, studying core samples and water chemistry of the bio mats we walked on, and scrambled down rocky coasts for intertidal monitoring projects.
At the University of Connecticut I delved into environmental stewardship and community outreach opportunities. I was fortunate to be the president of my environmental club called Eco Husky. My fellow members and I, organized and planned environmental activities, beach clean ups, campus wide and community involvement for Earth Day celebrations, and attended environmental conferences. I loved being involved with my community and sharing my experiences at the University. I joined our Husky Ambassador club and led tours for perspective students, participated in community events, raised money with a polar plunge and made wonderful connections and friendships.
I found my passion and the love of my life in SCUBA class. SCUBA diving is captivating. Life below the surface is mesmerizing and enchanting, and I love to share the stories and photos of our priceless adventures. My husband and I are both citizen scientists for the non-profit organization, Reef Environmental Education Foundation. We survey fish and invertebrate species, record, and submit the data from our dives. If you snorkel or dive anywhere in the world, you too can become a citizen scientist with REEF for free (www.REEF.org). There are webinars called “Fishinars” where you can get to know the species of a particular region!
Previously as an AmeriCorps STEM educator based in ocean curriculum and ocean adventure sports, I was on the water every day teaching kayaking and sailing, and implementing hands-on learning activities. I especially loved creating and facilitating team building activities.
More recently, I’ve been so grateful to be teaching and guiding here with Whidbey Island Kayaking. Getting to educate our community members about safe kayak practices and how to plan trips, create paddle plans and be safe and comfortable on the water is wonderful. Building community here is as easy as breathing the clean crisp air. I’ll continue local kayaking guiding during my non-SWS hours.
You can catch me behind a camera lens when I’m not paddling on the water, or diving below the surface. Discover what I see on the other side of the lens at www.tabithajmphotography.com
I look forward to using my passions to help support and facilitate members and citizen scientists above water as the Whidbey Coordinator for Sound Water Stewards of Island County! Being held fast by the captivating community here in Island County and Puget Sound, I am enthusiastic to make the communication fluid and keep projects moving forward. Call me on my Shell Phone, send a snail in the mail, make it a virtual chat – let me know what form of communication works best for you.
–Tabitha Jacobs-Mangiafico, Whidbey Coordinator, Sound Water Stewards