(December 02, 2016) --
It's been three months since Hazel Wilson retired from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. For a quarter of a century, Wilson was a Marine Science Educator for the Discovery Hall Programs.
Wilson said she loved teaching the students, and helping them appreciate the world of marine science. Wilson enjoyed seeing the thrill on a student's face as they caught a hermit crab, or the excitement as dolphins swam alongside the Research Vessel Alabama Discovery.
Wilson's first trip to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab was in 1983 for a teacher workshop. She was teaching in Mississippi at the time, and remembers Dr. John Dindo talking to the teachers about being counselors for the high school program at the time. She also remembers meeting fellow DHP educator Jenny Cook at that workshop.
Wilson spent nearly a decade, taking a trip down to work as a counselor before she joined the team as a full-time educator in 1990. When asked what was her favorite topic to teach, Wilson had trouble choosing just one.
"The beach walk was one of my favorites to show them how diverse the island is with dunes and the maritime forest.
Also the salt marsh, getting out there to see it. And of course, the boat and the excitement of seeing dolphins," Wilson said.
In 25 years with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Wilson has taught many a student.
"I taught JoAnn Moody (current DHP Marine Science Educator) in the high school program, and this past summer I ran into three students I taught several years ago. They are all majoring in Marine Biology," Wilson said.
Her advice to those students, "study hard and study something that you like and enjoy. I used to tell my students that I get paid to do this, and I love it."
Wilson feels she grew up at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and appreciates those she met along the way. However, she is enjoying retirement.
"We went to the Badlands, Yellowstone, and I'm headed to New York soon," Wilson shared. "I loved my job, but it's nice to explore."