Each month, The Skimmer will spotlight one of the many talented people on campus at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Brandi Snell’s thirst for knowledge brought her to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. In 2001 through 2004, Snell studied with the Sea Lab’s University Programs. Less than 10 years later, Snell’s desire to help and educate had her volunteering with the Manatee Sightings Network (MSN) and the Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network (ALMMSN), and eventually as a Docent at the Estuarium.  

Snell drives from Saraland the first Saturday of every month for a double shift as a Docent.  She enjoys the interaction with the visitors at the touch tables and answering their questions at the Estuarium and out in the field with the Discovery Hall Program’s BayMobile.

“I have the most fun describing the sea cucumber’s defense mechanism,” Snell said. “I also enjoy listening to the future Marine Biologists telling us about the various critters on our table. Many of these budding scientists had been to the Estuarium on field trips. It is great to see how much information the school children retain from their trips. I must say that the Marine Educators are doing a fantastic job.”

Since becoming a docent, Snell has learned about the importance of the Gulf environment and the many valuable services of marine life. Along with the sea cucumber’s defense of spilling its guts, she’s learned how the marine worm can recycles nutrients from dead animals and can even regrow their head if they should lose it. Snell has also learned about the island’s importance as a refueling station for migratory birds.

Snell’s daughter Cheyenne is also part of the volunteer team. A student at Faulkner State with fond memories of school field trips to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Cheyenne joins her Mom the first Saturday of every month. 

The mother/daughter pair teamed up recently at the Environmental Studies Center spring open house with Discovery Hall Programs educator JoAnn Moody.

“We had lots of ooh's and ah's at our table,” Snell shared. “Lots of people told us how much they enjoy visiting the Estuarium especially on field trips.”

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s volunteers and educators work together to make learning fun and memories that imprint on our future leaders. Interested in being a part of the team? Contact Jamelle Roy at volunteer@disl.org or by phone at 251-861-2141 x7545.

Photo Caption: Brandi Snell and her daughter Cheyenne.