Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Jay Tarkington

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Jay Tarkington

Captain on the Coast
Often, children in South Texas are knowledgeable about South American rainforests, but know little of the fragile wetlands in their own backyard, according to Jay Tarkington. The Center for Coastal Studies aquatic education program director is dedicated to helping people connect with South Texas ecology. Tarkington is a certified U.S. sailing instructor and U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, and he educates the public on the Coastal Bend bays and estuaries through tours on the Wetland Explorer water vessel. He also designed and implemented the "Wetland on Wheels" traveling display allowing students of all ages to experience the wetlands. The Adopt-A-Wetland Program director and Aransas County Historical Society past president received his bachelor's degree in biology in 1992 from Corpus Christi State University, his master's degree in biology from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in 2002 and is earning his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. Throughout his career, he has been mentored by Dr. Wes Tunnell. The Rockport resident, who gives talks on seagrasses, coastal birds and kayaking, loves how being around coastal waters brings families together. Tarkington's working on a coastal ecology tour guidebook and a Coastal Bend kayaking guide, and developing the Estes Wetland Education Station. In addition, he's involved with grants from Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program and the Agriculture Extension Service.

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