June 27, 2018

KEVIN WADLOW/Free Press
Marlies Tumolo, a Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary educator, has earned a national award for her work with the marine debris removal program in the Keys.

KEVIN WADLOW/Free Press Marlies Tumolo, a Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary educator, has earned a national award for her work with the marine debris removal program in the Keys.

KEY LARGO — Marlies Tumolo got a memorable welcome when she moved to the Florida Keys last September.

As an educator with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Upper Keys office, Tumolo helped launch and coordinate the “Goal: Clean Seas Florida Keys” program to help remove marine debris created by Hurricane Irma. 

The program works with local partners including Blue Star-certified dive operations, government agencies, businesses and research institutions to remove storm detritus from the ocean floor and Keys shorelines.

For her months of focused efforts, Tumolo was named the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Team Employee of the Month for June.  

“Originally developed to respond to the impacts of Hurricane Irma … the Clean Seas partnership spearheaded by Marlies will combat marine debris in the Florida Keys for many years to come,” W. Russell Callender, National Ocean Service assistant administrator, wrote in an agency post. 

Tumolo earned degrees from San Francisco State University and George Mason University, then went overseas to spend five years teaching in Thailand and Mexico. She grew up in Virginia.