Meet The Team
“My hope for the future is to have a healthy planet for all to enjoy.”
A lifelong resident of south Florida and an avid beachcomber, Manon was inspired to found nonprofit Free Our Seas and Beyond when she realized she was picking up more plastic and marine debris on the Hollywood Beach shoreline than shells and beach glass.
Recognizing that not everyone is educated about the effects of single-use plastics on our oceans and sea life, Manon thought that the arts would be a more positive way to engage and inspire people to ditch the use of disposable plastics rather than the typical doom and gloom messaging that’s currently the norm.
Lillie Marie Carlson
“Look after the land, and the land will look after you. Destroy the land and it will destroy you.” - Aboriginal Proverb
As is the case for most born and raised in South Florida, Lillie has a strong connection to the coastline. A mother of four children who grew up in Hollywood, FL, she found the amount of trash on its beaches disheartening. Beach cleanups were always a part of her family’s outings, ensuring they left the beaches cleaner than they found them.
A teacher for the past decade, Lillie is passionate about making a change through education. She believes our environment and our youth depend on it. Her hope is that future generations are taught to live more sustainably, encouraging healthy marine populations and clean air to breathe
“In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” - Baba Dioum
Aimee's entire life is dedicated to marine conservation. She has spent nearly two decades teaching Marine Biology and AP Environmental Science at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. She also advises the St. Thomas Aquinas Marine Biology Club, the STA Surfrider Foundation Youth Club, the STA Scuba Club and the Recycling Corps.
Aimee earned a Master’s degree in Marine Science from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science while working with the Nature Conservancy’s Marine Conservation Science Center.
An avid scuba diver, Aimee hopes to spark an interest in marine life conservation with people of all ages through her involvement with Free Our Seas and Beyond.
“Hopefully, Free Our Seas and Beyond’s work will inspire others to reduce, reuse and recycle - and pick up trash! Future generations should have the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful oceans and wildlife, both in the water and on land.”
Passionate about helping animals and animal welfare issues, Cherie has spent nearly three decades serving as vice president of marketing for the Humane Society of Broward County. Her motivation to share her talents with Free Our Seas stems from the heartbreaking amount of trash beachgoers left behind, and its effects on wildlife and the oceans.
Cherie believes that spearheading change will best gain momentum when started locally. As such, her goal for Free Our Seas is to bring awareness to those around her that even the smallest act of pollution is detrimental to the environment and for that seed to grow into a global movement.
“Nature has inherent value to humankind and numerous lessons to teach to those who are willing to listen.”
Passionate about environmental education and justice, Aubrey became involved with Free Our Seas because she believes that oceans - and cleaner seas - are essential to life on our planet and the key to fighting the climate crisis.
Aubrey is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado where she earned a BS in Environmental Studies. The next step in her life path to impact climate change is to attain a MA in Professional Science at UM in Climate and Society.
As such, she believes that one of the most effective ways to cultivate a generation of people that live in harmony with their environment, learn to treat it with dignity and respect, and affect current climate policies is through environmental education.
A fervent art lover, Aubrey enjoys working with recycled materials to create clothing and jewelry.
“My hope for the future is for us to become less reliant on plastics.”
Becoming involved in Free our Seas and Beyond was a natural progression for Elizabeth. An ocean lover, Liz felt the work that Free our Seas was doing was especially relevant to the times. And as a retiree with a professional background in the marine industry that involved event planning and merchandising, Liz knew she could make a difference.
Her wish is for people to stop and think about the impact that discarding no-longer-useful or broken items instead of repairing, repurposing or donating them will make on our planet and oceans.
“My hope for future generations is that they learn from our mistakes and foster a world that man and creatures alike would be proud of.”
Kurt’s extensive professional background in the construction industry provided the perfect training ground for his role as lead artist responsible for Free Our Seas’ impressive sculptures.
An avid fisherman and lifelong resident of south Florida, Kurt has had ample opportunity to appreciate the wonders - and witness the rapid erosion - of nature, specifically the ocean. Seeing first hand the drastic impact of plastic pollution on his local beaches inspired him to do something to turn it around.
Kurt’s aim is to teach children to protect and shepherd over the oceans through the use of art.
“Encourage the youth to become more active through art, and they will become more resourceful in changing the world.”
Rei is a full-time visual and graphic artist with his company Rei Ramirez Art and Urban Organikz. A passionate environmental advocate, Rei is the artist behind Free Our Sea’s stunning murals.
Rei’s motivation for becoming involved with the organization stems from his realization that Free Our Seas’s vision of creating awareness about the importance of a sustainable future through the use of art was in direct alignment with his beliefs.
Going forward, Rei hopes to explore using innovative ideas, art and technology as a model to lessen the impact of pollution on our planet and oceans.