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Erica Wirth

Naturalist and Photographer 

Phone:

(831)-231-2668

Email:

Address:

P.O. Box 4109 
Monterey, CA 93942

A Bit About Me

My passion and drive to learn about wildlife were apparent from an early age. As a child, I spent much of my time exploring my local zoo and surrounding outdoor spaces. Eager to get a jumpstart on my career and satiate my desire to learn about the natural world, I started volunteering in Education at the Columbus Zoo at the age of fourteen. I continued to branch out and take advantage of every opportunity available to me leading me to work as a kennel attendant and volunteer at a local animal shelter while continuing my work at the zoo. When I was sixteen I was selected as the Columbus Zoo's teen arctic ambassador, where I received a scholarship allowing me to travel to the Polar Bear Capital of the World, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada to learn about the plight of the endangered polar bears. While there, I had the chance to explore the tundra with scientists and locals in tundra buggies. One of the first wild bears we saw approached our buggy with curiosity, then proceeded to stretch her paws out against the tundra buggy. It was in the moment looking into the eyes of a wildlife polar bear and being immersed in her environment that I decided to dedicate my life to better understanding and advocating for wild animals. My home life made chances of going to college extremely difficult but not impossible, nonetheless my passion and drive to work with wildlife motivated me to overcome the many odds stacked against me. I attended Eckerd College where I studied Environmental Studies and Psychology. Eckerd College shaped me professionally, academically, and personally through liberal arts courses, rigorous classes, research opportunities, study abroad, and leadership development. During my time at Eckerd, I took advantage of as many opportunities as I could fit into my schedule while balancing a full course load and working nearly full time. While there I participated in separate four research projects studying mangroves, bush babies, olive baboons, and bottlenose dolphin. I received several scholarships allowing me to study abroad in Houndours, Indonesia, Tanzania, and Costa Rica. Learning about environmental issues and the ecology of these areas while being there helped me to develop a valuable personal connection to each place. This has inspired me to help others connect to wild places through photography and eco-tours. I currently work as a marine naturalist taking people on tours of Monterey Bay and educating them about wildlife. In my free time, I host the Breaching Extinction podcast focused on exploring the complexities of conserving the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. My goal is to help people connect to nature and cultivate meaningful relationships that inspire a sense of stewardship. 

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Work Experience

January 2021- Present 

January 2020 - Present 

September 2019 - Present 

Director of Education and Passenger Experience, Secret Harbor Charter

​At Secret Harbor Charter I have developed and implemented educational programs including citizen science trips, as well as great white shark and whale watching trips. I currently manage a small staff and handle company reservations. 

Naturalist & Photographer, Sanctuary Cruises 

Conduct educational tours centered around Monterey Bays' wildlife, geography, and history while photographing animals. 

Breaching Extinction Podcast Founder Host

I host a podcast focused on exploring the complexities around conservation of the Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales though conversations with a variety of people including scientists, naturalists, photographers and economists. 

Let's Get
Social

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
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Skills

WHAT I BRING TO THE TABLE

Scientific Communication 

Scientific Writing & Editing

Data Analysis 

Team Leadership 

Adaptability 

Presentation 

Communication 

Deckhand Expereince

Kayak Guiding 

Educating 

Awards

WHERE I SHINE

Live Like Ally Grant Recipient 

Luce Scholarship Recipient 

Polar Bears International Arctic Ambassador 

Interests

OUTSIDE OF WORK

Hiking

Snorkling 

Travel

Art 

Yoga

Scuba Driving