Location: West End, Tortola

Anna – Program Director Emma – Skipper/WFR Grayson – Mate/EMT Shaun – Mate/Marine Biologist

Anna is from Siler City, North Carolina but currently lives in sunny Key Largo! Anna discovered her passion for the environment and sailing as a student on ActionQuest and Seamester. She then joined the Lifeworks and ActionQuest field staff as a skipper in 2013 and will be a director in the BVI this summer. Anna has her 200-ton Master of Yachts captain’s license and is a rescue diver. When she is not working the summers with Lifeworks, she is a Fisheries Biologist with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She can also be found volunteering with REEF and their Invasive Lionfish program and Coral Restoration Foundation to help restore the reefs throughout the Florida Keys. Her favorite part about Lifeworks is getting the chance to see students discover their interests and passions while inspiring students to think more about their impact on the environment around them. Anna is an avid fan of pizza, dogs, adventures, and new experiences and anything and all things science and conservation.

Emmanuelle grew up in Vermont, but since sailing as a student with Seamester and working on S/Y Ocean Star through the subsequent interim period, Emma now finds herself unable to stay off the water. Her professional qualifications include RYA/MCA Yachtmaster (Offshore), PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and Wilderness First Responder, and she has most recently been working on private yachts throughout the Greater Antilles and Bahamas. During her experience as a Lifeworks Ecuador leader in 2015, she enjoyed sharing a journey of exploration and development with her students. When land-bound, Emma takes every opportunity to enjoy the thrill of outdoor sports – from hiking to kayaking, to mountain biking – and is an avid equestrian.

Born and raised near the Chesapeake Bay; Arlington, Virginia to be exact, Grayson has thoroughly enjoyed all that the Bay has had to offer. Grayson has done many camps along the Bay as well. Grayson took part in Lifeworks, in 2009, and is now back to help give the same experience to more students. Before attending college, Grayson took part in SeaMester and sailed from Australia to Thailand on SY Argo in the Fall of 2013. Grayson is currently enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, completing a degree in Environmental Science with minors in Geography and History. At UNCW, Grayson is a member of the UNCW Seamen, the men’s ultimate Frisbee team, where they compete nationally against other universities. Grayson has an EMT Certification and an Advanced Open Water Diver Certification. Grayson loves traveling and sharing his experiences and will travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, as a part of a study abroad experience through UNCW, this coming Fall.

Shaun’s passions for adventure and exploration were sparked at a young age through frequent camping trips in Virginia’s the Blue Ridge Mountains and surfing trips in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Through a variety of jobs in the realms of education, marine science, and adventure guiding, Shaun has sought to broaden not only his horizons but also the horizons of his students through immersive and experiential education. Currently, Shaun aims to inspire environmental awareness, conservation, and stewardship in the marine ecosystem by combining his interests in photography, journalism, and media and can often be found behind the lens of his camera.

You wouldn’t believe how excited we get every time we’ve thought about arrival day and we’ve been thinking about it A LOT. These last two weeks of program setup and staff training will peak when we finally get to meet all our shipmates on the dock. Among big group projects like organizing gear, prepping materials, reviewing emergency and first aid procedures, and familiarizing ourselves with the curriculum, we’ve also been busy with our prep work to make sure we’re thoroughly ready for all the fun to come. Anna has coordinated with our project partners, Emma and Grayson have met with the medical team, and Shaun was initiated into the life and techniques of a BVI turtle tagger. Oh, and we’ve been able to squeeze some snorkeling in there while we’re at it.

As we put the finishing touches on our boat, we see our first shipmates clambering off the ferry. We take a deep breath, and all the anticipation bubbling up inside breaks out in a laugh there, an excited little squeak over there, and huge grins everywhere. We’re soon to meet our team – our boat family – the people we’ll spend the next three weeks with and the people we’ll work alongside as we share this journey of growth and exploration. We can’t wait to learn about everyone’s background, interests, favorite foods, and what sets their soul on fire. Here’s to the best summer ever!