For the past two decades Nicole has been an elementary school teacher, but also a passionate environmental campaigner focusing on marine environmental issues including ocean literacy.
Having grown up along the coast she was always fascinated by the vast blue ocean, and its diverse marine ecosystems. Besides swimming at an early age, she also enjoys various water sports such as sailing, surfing, and snorkeling.
Nicole’s passion for environmental issues started at an early age and after completing her university studies, she worked for various national and international environmental Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), including Friends of the Earth International and Amigos da Terra in Portugal, and volunteering for various NGOs such as WWF. Campaigning issues she was involved in include, protecting rivers, rainforests, and climate change. Nicole also participated and witnessed several historic environmental conferences including the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or the Rio conference. Several initiatives from these days have today culminated in the Ocean Decade for Sustainable Development (2021-30) as well as the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG #14) “Life Under Water”. Nicole also learned the important and powerful roles NGOs have working with locals and via their campaigns providing innovative ideas and solutions to global environmental and ocean issues.
As an elementary language and science teacher in international schools she was able to highlight environmental issues in her classes. Her focus on marine environmental issues was a natural step when she understood the great impact land-based activities were having on the ocean and its ecosystem. The endangered status of many sharks the top predators and vital for the well-being of our oceans due to overfishing and finning was especially alarming to her. She realised the urgency and need to educate students from an early age allowing them to make informed decisions and act accordingly. Ocean Literacy is, after all, the understanding of the ocean’s influence on you, and your influence on the ocean.
Nicole’s thesis in her master’s degree (Natural Sciences and Environmental Education) also focuses on the need for importance of marine environmental issues, such as shark literacy in the elementary science curriculum. Children are fascinated by sharks but also terrified of them due to the negative images portrayed by the media. So, by teaching students the true facts and nature of the sharks we are also teaching the important role they play in the ocean as the apex predator or “doctors of the ocean” and how important and urgent it is to continue to protect all shark species from overfishing and finning.
Since 2022, together with SEI, Nicole aims to support to national and international schoolteachers by providing them with information and resources to promote both ocean and shark literacy within their classrooms. This includes presentations, workshops, conferences, disclosure of science based information and active events coordination. Her goal is to focus on the ocean and the marine the importance of protecting sharks. These are the reasons why Nicole is one of our Specialist Advisers for Marine Environment issues.