It was a warm late summer day in 1998 when then-Gray’s Reef Superintendent Reed Bohne invited Cathy Sakas to lunch and during that auspicious lunch he made her an offer she didn’t refuse. Reed asked that Cathy fill in for the education coordinator for 18 months. That was 15 years ago and Cathy is just now completing that offer.
Cathy’s academic training (BS Biology and M Science Ed. both from Armstrong State University) and prior work experiences perfectly meshed with the duties she would take on as Marine Educator for those first 18 months and then in full time federal employment as Education Coordinator in 2001.
“It has been a terrific magic carpet ride and one that I never imagined would be so enjoyable!” Cathy said. “I always thought working for the federal government would be boring with pushing a lot of paper and much to my delight my job has been anything but that!”
The highlights of Cathy’s tenure at Gray’s Reef have been working with educators and colleagues across the country and in some cases internationally. She broadcast a program on marine mammals to a class in Brazil as well as to classes across the country.
on coral reefs (specifically on Gray’s Reef,) technology used in ocean research and exploration, watersheds, North Atlantic right whales, dolphins and manatees.
Cathy forged many strong partnerships for Gray’s Reef that include the Georgia Aquarium, South Carolina Aquarium, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, Tybee Island Marine Science Center, Georgia Southern University Museum and Savannah Visitors Center and Bureau.
Additionally Cathy created workshops with most of these partners that emphasized watershed connections to Gray’s Reef and ocean science technology. The most often requested workshop has been Rivers to Reefs Educators Workshops (R2R). Funding for 2014’s R2R workshop has been recently secured and will become the eleventh year this workshop will be run in partnership with the Georgia Aquarium. Cathy also established the Gray’s Reef Southeast Regional MATE ROV Competition.