our crew
It takes a special team to run our programs.

With a science-based mission, Tampa Bay Watch’s staff members seek to promote its vision through habitat restoration programs and youth education each year, including habitat restoration in the bay, field trips, teacher training, and summer camps. 

Peter A. Clark

president

Peter A. Clark is the founder and president of Tampa Bay Watch. Under his watch, the organization has coordinated more than 100,000 volunteers, installed 10,000 oyster reef units and 1,200 tons of oyster shell to create more than two miles of oyster shell reef communities, planted more than 1,000,000 salt marsh grasses to restore 200 acres of coastal tidal ponds to Tampa Bay. In 2005, Tampa Bay Watch completed construction of the $4 million marine and education center in Tierra Verde, Florida. Until 1993, Mr. Clark served as Director of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s Agency on Bay Management, an alliance of agencies charged with protecting the Bay. Mr. Clark has a BS in Marine Biology and over fifty professional publications on natural resource restoration, water quality and environmental planning. Mr. Clark also initiated the nomination, which ultimately led to the designation, of Tampa Bay into the EPA’s National Estuary Program. Mr. Clark holds a US Coast Guard Captains License, received the Outstanding Environmentalist of the Year award from the Florida Marine Research Institute Environmental Excellence Awards program in 1994, and the NOAA Fisheries / American Fisheries Society Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award in 2005.

image of staff john anderson

John Anderson

groundskeeper

John Anderson was introduced to Tampa Bay Watch through its volunteer programs and ended up in the oyster reef ball program. John won the position of part-time grounds keeper in mid-December 2012. John’s background includes being a hardhat construction worker, a stockbroker and picking up a B.A. in Zoology along the way. The stated goals of Tampa Bay Watch give John, a native Floridian, something he can enjoy working for and believing in. Hobbies include writing, martial arts, and snow skiing.

image of staff nina ardle

Nina Ardle

membership / major gifts coordinator

Nina joined Tampa Bay Watch in September 2018 and is primarily responsible for developing individual and corporate membership programs. She studied public relations and nonprofit management at the University of Florida and previously worked with the Sea Turtle Conservancy and the local sea turtle nesting patrol. A native Floridian, she likes to spend her free time outside and enjoys reading, live music, cooking, photography, and road trips.

image of staff member rachel arndt

Rachel Arndt

communications manager

Rachel Arndt has worked on Tampa Bay Watch communications since 2007. Her primary responsibilities include coordinating volunteers through weekly announcement of activities, writing the quarterly newsletter and gaining media interest for restoration projects. She has lived the majority of her life in Florida. Rachel received her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and graduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has a wealth of working experience with non-profit and governmental agencies. Rachel is a runner and enjoys jogging along the downtown St. Pete waterfront and the Pinellas Trail. She is an avid sports fan and follows all of the local teams, especially the Florida Gators.

image: rob gase

Rob Gase

Controller/ Administrative Manager

Rob joined the Tampa Bay Watch team in July 2020 after relocating from Michigan. For over 35 years, he held the position as Chairman & CEO of an accounting and tax practice / business consulting and advisory firm he founded. He has represented clients throughout the United States and abroad. His clientele included a lengthy list of multinational companies, Fortune 500 companies, and regional and local business enterprises, in a variety of industries. He enjoys golfing and spending time with his daughter, Caroline, a Senior at the University of Michigan School of Education.

image: heidi blair

Heidi Blair

Discovery Center Operations Manager

Heidi Blair joined the Tampa Bay Watch team in March 2020 as the Operations Manager for the Discovery Center at the new St. Petersburg Pier opening later this year. Heidi is working to get policies and procedures in place to ensure a successful second location for us. She has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector as an operator with the YMCA and previous experience in hospitality management. She graduated from Eckerd College with a degree in Environmental Science with a minor in Anthropology. When she’s not working, you can find her enjoying our local beaches, kayaking, reading, and listening to Jimmy Buffett cover bands.

image of staff jordan findley

jordan findley

education program coordinator

Jordan joined the Tampa Bay Watch team in September of 2016 as the Environmental Education Specialist. She assists in the development and facilitation the Estuary EDventures field trip and summer camp programs. Jordan holds a B.A. in Zoology and a M.A. in Biological Sciences from Miami University. Her graduate coursework, focusing on anthropogenic cause of wildlife decline, led her to study human impact on the environment in Mexico, Australia, and Kenya. Jordan’s passion for the environment extends far beyond her career, as she believes wholeheartedly in creating a future of sustainability and fostering a generation of environmental stewards. She comes from a background of various experiences in the biological field, including environmental consulting, animal husbandry, wildlife rehabilitation, and environmental education. Jordan enjoys all outdoor activities and traveling.

Melanie Grillone

GIS / ENVIRONMENTAL SPECIALIST

Melanie joined Tampa Bay Watch in 2015, and is responsible for the management and creation of all GIS data and restoration maps. She assists in various habitat restoration efforts and oversees the Coastal Cleanup and Storm Water Programs. With a fiery passion to inspire environmental stewards for the protection of our waterways and wildlife, she is a member of Surfrider’s Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition, aiming to reduce marine debris and our reliance on single-use plastics. Graduating from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, she holds a B.S. in Biology with minors in Marine Biology and Animal Behavior. She enjoys exploring all that the sunshine state has to offer and singing karaoke to her cat, Prim.

image of staff serra herndon

Serra Herndon

habitat restoration director

Serra joined the Tampa Bay Watch team 2006 is responsible for  the management and oversight of the organization’s community-based habitat restoration programs which include oyster reef building, seagrass restoration, marine debris cleanups, and living shoreline implementation. She holds a Master of Marine Affairs degree from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Oregon.  In her free time, Serra enjoys traveling and exploring new places, hanging out with family and friends, and enjoying the estuaries and beaches she is working to protect.

Samantha Johnston

education specialist

Samantha was welcomed to the Tampa Bay Watch crew in February 2017 as an Environmental Educator. She works with the Education team to facilitate field trip and summer camp programming for young, brilliant minds that pay Tampa Bay Watch a visit. She also assists with the various citizen science projects offered through education, hoping to reach the public and encourage their participation in the conservation of the estuary. Samantha holds a B.A. in Marine Biology and plans to extend her education to graduate school in the near future. Since high school, Samantha has found pride and passion in spreading the love for environmental conservation and awareness and wants everyone to know they have an important role to play if positive change is to occur. Samantha enjoys experiencing new adventures, SCUBA diving, and traveling.

image of staff tiana kirby

Tiana Kirby

development support specialist

Tiana joined Tampa Bay Watch in August 2018 in support of a variety of needs in our growing organization before officially joining our development team in November. With degrees in the performing arts and anthropology, and 15 years in the Information Science and Management section at FWRI in support of the conservation sciences, Tiana is interested in the ways diverse fields can intersect to generate pro-environmental change and instill stewardship. A native St. Petersburgian, she enjoys photography and hiking in natural areas, writing and playing music, dancing, vegan cooking, and being out on the water when possible.

image of staff member jill kunesh

Jill Kunesh

director of accounting and hr

Jill was born and raised in the Chicago area and has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She is an avid Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, and Cubs fan. Before joining the Tampa Bay Watch team, she worked for large corporations in positions such as Corporate Credit Manager and Accounts Receivable Manager. Jill got her start with TBW by doing volunteer administrative work. She joined the staff as the Office Administrator in 2012 before being promoted to Director of Accounting and HR. Jill loves kayaking, bike riding, and sea turtles. She has been involved in sea turtle volunteer work on both coasts of Florida and has partnered with the Sea Turtle Conservancy to get turtle-friendly lighting retrofits completed at several condo and hotel properties on St. Pete Beach.

image of staff member paige lansky

Paige Lansky

Bay grasses in classes coordinator

Paige joined Tampa Bay Watch in January 2020. She is responsible for coordinating our Bay Grasses in Classes Program and assists with various restoration projects and educational programs. She has worked in environmental education and natural resource management across the eastern US from the mountains to the coast! She graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Zoology, specializing in animal behavior and neurobiology. She is passionate about communicating environmental science in a way that is easy for everyone to understand. In her free time, she enjoys “herping” (looking for reptiles and amphibians), searching for native flora, hiking with her family, kayaking, and gardening.

image of staff member katie mastenbrook

Katie Mastenbrook

director of education

Katie Mastenbrook runs the Marine Education Center at Tampa Bay Watch. She is in charge of the Estuary EDventures field trip programs and Tampa Bay Watch Summer Camp. She joined Tampa Bay Watch in September 2014 bringing with her more than seven years of experience in the Marine Science and Environmental Science field. She has held instructional and coordinator positions at the Newfound Harbor Marine Institute, MarineLab, FWC Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, and was even a state park ranger. Katie received a B.S. Degree in Marine Science, with a minor in Environmental Science from Coastal Carolina University. She holds a USCG Master Captain License and loves spending time out on the water.

image of staff jamey miller

Jamey Miller

administrative specialist

Jamey first discovered Tampa Bay Watch while riding her bike past the main gate toward Fort De Soto in 2011. As of June 2019, she joined the team full-time as an administrative specialist. Originally from Utah, she brings 20+ years’ experience and knowledge in corporate sales and marketing to the crew, along with eight years of accounting. Through her love of running, biking, horses, and dogs, she has always liked spending time outdoors. She is very proud to now be part of the Tampa Bay Watch team and to help with the great need for protection and education of our estuaries, marine life, and natural resources.

image: a mitchell

Audrey Mitchell

Education specialist

Audrey has been with Tampa Bay Watch since September 2016. She started her Tampa Bay Watch career as an educator through the Estuary EDventures education programs in various positions and transitioned over to the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center opening team in 2020 as the Associate Education Coordinator. She received a Bachelor of Science and Mathematics in Marine Biology from Auburn University and has held various positions as a research assistant, aquarist, and marine science educator, both in the field and classroom. Audrey is passionate about conserving our natural resources and promoting its preservation through education and restoration programs. As she progresses in her career, she aspires to positively impact and better our environment. She also enjoys all things on the water, reading, painting, and spending time with her family. 

image of staff eric plage

eric plage

environmental specialist

Eric Plage graduated from Eckerd College in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Geology. Here at Tampa Bay Watch, he facilitates our oyster reef ball Program. He also facilitates the Oyster Bar programs presently taking place at Honeymoon Island and MacDill Airforce Base. He has a passion for the outdoors and can be found most weekends fishing, birding, kayaking, or boating around the Tampa Bay area.

image: richard radigan

Richard Radigan

Oyster Shell Program Coordinator

Rick joined Tampa Bay Watch’s restoration team as the Oyster Shell Program Coordinator in September 2020. Originally from Michigan, he and his wife moved down to Florida to escape the cold winters and lack of marine life. Having worked in a number of fields from directing helicopters on a flight deck in the U.S Navy to serving as a firefighter/paramedic, Rick finally decided to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a marine biologist. Prior to joining Tampa Bay Watch, Rick had been an oyster biologist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for the last nine years. Rick holds a BS in Marine Science and Biology from the University of Tampa. In his free time, Rick enjoys spending time with his family, playing in the water, and golfing.

image of staff member amy rothenhoefer

Amy Rothenhoefer

marine science educator

Amy began her journey with Tampa Bay Watch the summer of 2017 as an environmental intern. After graduating from Eckerd College in 2018 with a degree in Biology, she joined Tampa Bay Watch as a part-time environmental educator. She is involved in the Estuary EDventures summer camp and field trip program where she educates students about the marine life that fills the Tampa Bay estuary. During her time off, Amy enjoys paddle boarding, snorkeling, and spending time at the beach.

image: sarah rubin

Sarah Rubin

Discovery Center Education Coordinator

Sarah Rubin joined Tampa Bay Watch in May of 2020. She is the Education Coordinator of the Discovery Center on the St. Petersburg Pier, which will be opening later this year. She graduated from Salisbury University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. She brings over 17 years of environmental educational experience to the team. She has held instructional and supervisory positions at Salisbury Zoological Park, Florida Aquarium, Delmarva Discovery Center, National Park Service, Mote Marine Laboratory, and Brevard Zoo. Sarah is absolutely passionate about creating impactful, one of a kind experiences for the public and school children. Her goal is to inspire, educate, and create stewards of the environment and conservation. In her time off, she enjoys snorkeling, diving, and playing with her dog, Mika.

image: cheyanne smith

Cheyanne Smith

Guest Services Lead

Cheyanne joined Tampa Bay Watch’s Discovery Center team in June of 2020 as the Guest Services Lead. Cheyanne manages and trains the Guest Services staff and volunteers, ensuring our facility is always running smoothly and efficiently. She has lived the majority of her life in St. Pete and graduated with a BA in English from USF Tampa in May of 2017 and her experience is in management and operations. Cheyanne and her husband are avid hikers who love being outside exploring nature, taking trips, playing with their two pups, and fostering dogs.

image of staff member dwayne virgint

Dwayne Virgint

Discovery Center Executive Director

Dwayne joined Tampa Bay Watch in October 2019 and is responsible for opening and operating the new Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center on the soon-to-be-completed Saint Petersburg Pier. Dwayne earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Bridgeport. He brings more than 25 years of broad experience in leadership, operations and management of mission-based organizations to TBW including zoos, aquariums, and museums. He served over twelve years as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and its affiliated companies in Albuquerque, NM. His goal at TBW is to ensure that generations of young leaders will continue the mission of protecting the bay and the world’s ocean. He is a beekeeper and an avid scuba diver and spends much of his spare time in local waters.

image of staff rachel zafar

Rachel Zafar

Administrative Specialist

Rachel Zafar joined the Tampa Bay Watch team in 2015. Interested in marine life conservation and new to the area from New Jersey, Rachel discovered Tampa Bay Watch while researching volunteer opportunities nearby. She earned a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Delaware, and she worked in project management in the logistics industry prior to moving to Florida. During her time at Tampa Bay Watch, she has supported the development team and now currently serves on the administrative and accounting side of the organization. In her free time, Rachel loves traveling, gardening, skiing, and spending time at the beach with her family.

image of staff member jon ziegler

Jon Ziegler

Bay View Community Room Coordinator

Jon joined Tampa Bay Watch in 2015. Originally from Illinois, he moved to Florida in 2005 to escape the cold winters and be closer to his family. Jon is our Bay View Community Room coordinator, planning the weddings that take place here at Tampa Bay Watch. When not planning weddings, Jon enjoys gardening, cooking and playing with his dogs.