Anyone who has participated in STCC activities more than once knows Marianne, especially if you have been to Klein Curaçao for nest monitoring. Marianne has been an STCC volunteer from the very start and functioned as field coordinator for Klein Curaçao for the last few nesting seasons.
Marianne was born in the Netherlands, but moved to Indonesia with her parents when she was just 6 weeks old. When Marianne was 10 the family moved to Curaçao. Growing up, she loved being outdoors. “From day one, life in the sea fascinated me, so I started to do snorkelling and never stopped” says Marianne, now an avid diver nearing her 800th dive. After high school, Marianne left Curaçao to study, she came back to the island after becoming a licensed X-ray technician. Within short, she became the head technician of the X-ray department in Sint Elisabeth Hospital. But it proved hard to combine her work with raising her 3 small children, so she decided to study English. After Marianne got her degree, she taught at Triniteit MAVO (high school). She also volunteered for the Kids for Coral program, where underprivileged kids from poor schools learned to snorkel. Marianne explains: “I love voluntary work, and I think one should always volunteer if one can”.
In the early nineties, Marianne moved to Florida with her family. Of course, Marianne wanted to volunteer there too. As an animal lover, she wanted to do something with animals, so she volunteered for the Humane Society and worked with dogs. Had Marianne lived closer to the sea, she would have done volunteer work for a cause related to the sea. After about 10 years, 9/11 happened and life in the USA changed, so Marianne decided to go back to Curaçao. She once again turned to teaching, now at Mgr. Zwijssen College (high school) in Steenrijk. Furthermore, she had restarted the Kids for Coral program. While looking for sponsors for the program, Marianne met Sabine. Soon they discovered that they both had a passion for nature conservation, so when Sabine started Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao, Marianne became a volunteer right away and up to now she still happy she did.
As a long-time volunteer and fieldworker, Marianne has done almost everything. She has been trained by staff from STCB, our sister organization in Bonaire on Klein Curaçao, and has gained a lot of experience over the years. Her experience includes monitoring the beaches for nesting activity and coordinating this monitoring, participating in clean-ups, participating in-water sessions at Ascencion and Wacawa, executing rescues with former field-coordinator Ard, mapping the environment by snorkelling with a camera on her head and spending nights on the beach at Klein Curaçao for different STCC activities and training. “I really enjoyed all of this!” she recounts. Marianne continues: “Now I am part of a wonderful group of volunteers at Klein and really, really enjoy working with this group and hope to be able to go on with this”. When asked why she is still volunteering for STCC, Marianne says that she loves the work, and she loves the team, moreover it keeps her on her feet and helps her to stay young and fit.
– Written by Amber Scholtsbergh