Our Instructors

Charlene Mauro-Director

Charlene Mauro is the Director of the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station. Through Pensacola State College, she teaches Marine Biology and Oceanography to area dual enrollment students who in turn educate young children that attend programs on site. In addition to serving as the Director of the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station, she serves as the first ever Science Specialist for the Santa Rosa County School District. Mrs. Mauro has successfully written grants to completely transform a vacant ranger station into a fully functional science field station. Since its official opening in August 2009, the station has been host to over 8,000 students and community members for programs concerning the local marine environments.The award winning programs provide hands-on, feet-wet curriculum that educates and challenges participants of all ages how to be stewards of our marine environment. Knowing the immense

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positive impact that scientific research and teacher professional

development has made on her career, Mrs. Mauro makes at least two professional presentations annually at local, state, and national levels. Past honors include National Marine Educator of the Year, Outstanding Florida High School Science Teacher of the Year, University of Florida Distinguished Educator, EPA’s Presidential Award, Gulf Guardian Award, Navarre area Citizen of the Year, University of West Florida Outstanding Young Alumnus, 2016 Johnette D. Bosarge Memorial Award, and a finalist for Florida Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Mauro is an active member in professional and community groups including the Gulf Coast Ocean Observation Systems (GCOOS), Florida Association of Science Supervisors, National Marine Educators Association, National Science Teachers Association, and Rotary. By example, Charlene encourages her students to find their passion, seek opportunities, make a difference, and always continue to learn.

"Kayak Dave" Barker - The ULTIMATE Kayak Guide

"Kayak Dave" Barker has been a Station supporter since its earliest days in 2009. After seeing Charlene Mauro's enthusiasm in getting the Station started, he offered to do what he could to help make it successful - and he has been doing that ever since! Recognizing the value of his own personal educational experiences, he especially loves "the skills and knowledge the students gain by being instructors" to elementary school students on their field trips to the NBMSS. Needless to say, Kayak Dave is integral in maintaining one of the most memorable activities at the Station - kayaking! 

Kayak Dave returned to Navarre in 1997 after working in a sewing factory for 14 years to pursue all-things-kayak. As a kayak ecotour guide and business owner for 20+ years, an Associate Instructor for the Florida Master Naturalist Program, and water quality analyst/volunteer for Water Watch, Dave shares a wealth of knowledge of our local environment with our students and attendees of our programs. He is also a volunteer for Santa Rosa Marine Extension, Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center, and Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary. Dave is also able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

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Award-Winning Summer Camp Lead Teachers

Danna Chatwell, Grades 6-8

Outdoors and animals have always been a fascination to Danna Chatwell - studying every detaul from why it moves like it does to how it acquires its food. Danna graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Elementary Educastion 1-6, General Specialist Education K-12, and received a Master of Education in Science 1-9. Of all of the grades she has taught, 7th grade has been her favorite. 

Danna came to Woodlawn Beach Middle School seven years ago and loves every minute teaching science. Going to work is not only a joy, but also her hobby. When the NBMSS opened its doors, another dream came true: to spend the summers working outdoors learning about the wonderful place we live and the wildlife that surrounds us. Not only does she enjoy working near the Gulf of Mexico, she LOVES surfing it! Sitting on the outside waiting for a wave and watching the wildlife pass underneath completes her love for science.

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Emily Simon, Grades K-2

Emily Simon is a kindergarten teacher at West Navarre Primary School. She attended North Carolina Wesleyan College and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education with a certification in Education K-6. Emily is a member of the Florida Marine Science Educator Association and the Florida Geographic Alliance. She was Santa Rosa County Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was awarded West Navarre Primary's 2017 Teacher of the Year.

She was born in Milton and raised in Fort Walton Beach. Her parents and grandparents instilled the love of our local waters and the importance of taking care of it while enjoying it. Emily has been marriend to Rob Simon for over 20 years and they have three children, Bobby, Emma, and Elijah. In her spare time, Emily enjoys paddle boarding and hiking.

Ginni Rushing, Grades K-5

Ginni Rushing attended University of Florida where she received her Master's degree in Elementary Education (K-6) and specialized in Early Childhood and Psychology. She is a S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) third grade lead teacher at Holley-Navarre Intermediate School, where she was honored as 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

As a 25-year vetern teacher, she creates an environment where creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking are key. Having grown up as the daughter of a Coast Guard Commander, she has always lived near the coast and has a passion for all marine life. In her spare time, she enjoys snorkeling around Navarre Beach reefs, kayaking, paddle boarding, and surfing.

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Shelly Mann, Grades K-5

During the school year, award-winning teacher and Santa Rosa County leader in education, Shelley Mann teaches 7th Grade Career & Technical Education at Woodlawn Beach Middle School. Shelley has been involved with the Station since its earliest days by going on field trips, overnight trips, teaching summer camp, and volunteering - she does it all!

Shelley fully embraces the mission of the NBMSS and loves "assisting the rock star students" in educating visitors about conserving our marine environment. With a daughter and granddaughter who live on Maui, marine debris is a topic that she is especially passionate about. Spending her summers teaching future generations about environmental awareness allows her to make a positive impact on this important issue. Shelley wants visitors to the Station to "fall in love with any tiny piece of the sea - the coast, the wildlife, the science - just one thing." By sharing in Shelley's enthusiasm for all-things-ocean, this would be easy to do!

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When he's not giving kids unforgettable fishing experiences during the summer or entertaining local audiences with his mad bass guitar-playing skills, science teacher extraordinaire, Casey Fearon, can be found wowing his 8th graders in his Gulf Breeze Middle School classroom. As Santa Rosa County's 2008 Rookie of the Year, Casey's passion and enthusiasm for science education has been evident from the start of his career. As the husband of NBMSS Director, Charlene Mauro, Casey has been an integral part of the Station even before it opened!

Camping, fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving have always been part of Casey's life. These activities, as well as a natural curiosity about how the world works, fostered in him a love of science and appreciation for the environment at an early age. What he loves most about the NBMSS is "seeing the 'light bulb moments' of kids as they gain understanding and a sense of stewardship for our environment." He also "enjoy[s] seeing the shouts of 

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excitement when students see plankton under the microscope as they realize how much life is all around us in the Gulf."

Casey is passionate about scientific literacy and believes that everyone should spend time outdoors learning about every ecosystem they can. he says "I hope people will understand how truly connected and interwoven all the ecosystems of our planet are. Once you get a grasp on that, you realize that EVERYTHING matters."

Award-Winning Volunteer Staff
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In 2014, when Zak's high school guidance counselor asked him if he was still interested in the NBMSS marine science course, he said, 'yes, who wouldn't want to spend two hours of the school day at the beach?!' What he didn't know, was how much that decision would change his life. All these years later, Zak is still involved with the program because he cares about the program's mission and wants to contribute to its growth. He also wants to give back to a program that has given him so much. He explains that through his involvement at the Station, "I gained a voice. I gained the ability to speak confidently and communicate in an intelligent way. I also gained great networking opportunities." 

In addition to kayaking, Zak loves teaching summer camps. "The gratification of teaching someone's child for a week and seeing them come back everyday excited to learn again" allowed Zak to discover his love of teaching which, ultimately, set him on his current career path. Zak is also a mentor for high 

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school students at the Station. He uses these educational settings and outreach events to express to others that "every action they perform has a reaction in the environment around them. Not all positive, not all negative, but their education will hopefully help to mitigate the negative." After high school, Zak served in the Army where he received two commendation medals and was a leader, educating new scouts in their duties and responsibilities. He is currently a student at Pensacola State College and will be pursuing a degree in education at the University of West Florida.

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Tucker Reynolds

The NBMSS has played a role in Tucker's life for many years. As a kid, he attended numerous summer camps at the Station and developed a passion for the ocean and marine life. In 2015, when he was a junior at Navarre High School, Tucker had the opportunity to attend classes at the Station. He credits that experience with ignitiging his desire to become a marine biologist and is currently enrolled in the University of West Florida's marine biology program. 

He is most passionate about sustainable fishing, conserving and maintaining fish populations, as they play a crucial role in the food chain. In addition to being a mentor for current high school students at the Station, he teaches the Guy Harvey Fishing Camp during the summer. Working at the Station allows him to share his love of fishing and the outdoors with others. He wants visitors to the Station to "recognize how important and fragile our coastal environments are and that we need to preserve and maintain them for the future." 

Support Staff
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Emily Bagley- Outreach Coordinator

It was during Emily's senior year at Navarre High School that the NBMSS opened. In fact, she and some of her fellow classmates helped make it happen by petitioning for the repurposing of the old ranger station in Navarre Beach Marine Park to be made into a classroom by the sea at a Board of County Commisioners meeting - and look what it has become over 10 years later! Emily has been involved with the Station ever since, starting out volunteering, then working summer camps, and now as the Outreach Coordinator. She says "I love the whole vibe of the place. You are instantly welcomed - all the students, staff, and volunteers are beaming with friendly attitudes. They are so keen to share everything that they have learned with you. It's one of those places that makes you feel comfortable no matter your level of science studies. The power of a love for a shared interest is the best feeling in the whole world." 

Emily loves sharing the marine science knowledge she has gained through her time at the NBMSS with others. She is passionate about helping people understand, rather than fear, the ocean. She loves the look on their faces when nervousness changes to wonder as she teaches them something new or they interact with a "scary" organism for the first time. "You learn so much and then want to share what you have learned, and to me that is the best thing you can teach," she says. She also educates people on practical things they can do to make a difference. She explains that visitors often ask what they can do to help, and "I respond by telling [them] to take more than what they brought to the beach. Take all the trash from the things you brought to the beach and pick up the extra trash." These are simple actions that Emily also teaches her two young children. It's a great example of how small habits can have a huge collective impact our marine environment.