VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: KRISTIN ANDERSON
By Megan Maynard
Kristin Anderson is the STPS Volunteer Spotlight for the month of February. To say Kristin is a Jane of all trades would be an understatement. Having spent her time partially in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and now in Melbourne, she has accrued quite the resume. She has a combined teaching and tutoring career that spans more than 15 years. In addition, she had a resume consulting business, worked in customer service development, managed several spas, worked property management, and even managed door-to-door sales in her first three years after college graduation.
When her parents were snowbirds in Melbourne, they eventually settled down after finding their ideal home. Kristin managed to sneak in a few visits with them, and ultimately after their passing and having purchased the home from her brother, she is happily settled here full time since 2018. Interestingly, she did not know of the nesting haven that awaited just steps out her parents’ door. Rather ironically, Kristin remembers the film “Finding Nemo” while reminiscing about a visit to her parent’s home in which she spotted a four-wheeler on the beach while enjoying a walk. This led her to sit with the nesting survey student for over an hour, just taking in what the student taught her. Neither she nor her parents were aware they sat on the largest breeding/nesting grounds for sea turtles in Florida.
Moving forward to 2018, Kristin was socializing with neighbors, and they later emailed her details on a sea turtle release scheduled the following day. Of course, she attended the release and remembers being simply “awestruck.” She quips that with her outgoing nature, she quickly spoke with volunteers on site and went to STPS headquarters. Upon arrival she approached the two women at the counter and said “I’m here to give a donation, become a member, and volunteer.” (And so her volunteering history began….). She has been a lifetime member since February 2018.
Kristin is heavily involved in many aspects of volunteering spanning 2018-2020: event leader, monthly meetings, nesting surveys, fundraising events, port kiosk on Fridays, turtle walk registration, Turtle Talk presenter, STERP trainings and active member, education department training development, and beach cleanup. She is enamored with sea turtles (“their eyes just melt me”), and this has driven her volunteer efforts. Her activities have filled her retirement calendar and have given so much focus that she never anticipated. Similar to many other members I’ve had the privilege of interviewing, Kristin too has met so many fantastic new friends through the organization.
She shares one of her greatest achievements, which came at a particularly low time for her. In December, she was finishing a four-hour fundraising shift at Intracoastal Brewing Co. when STPS’s fundraising director Noelle Villanueva approached her with her first award for Distinguished Event Volunteer 2018. Through tears and a hug, she told Noelle it made her day.
Kristin plans to continue her endeavors with sea turtles as well as general ecological work. In true Kristin fashion, she has dived headfirst into conservation and through STPS has become involved in many other volunteer organizations including, but certainly not limited to, Brevard Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center, Indian River Lagoon, Wild Florida Rescue, Marine Resource Council, and Brevard Zoo Aquarium Project.
As you can see, volunteer activities can be as little or as remarkable as you like. With all her amassed volunteer hours, Kristin can recall only one struggle: learning quickly how to efficiently put up the event tent. If you have the luck of bumping in to her, she will often chat about sea turtles, give you an STPS card or even give you her wristband and encourage you to come by the Turtle House in Indialantic.