Meet Amanda Clark, Amelia Island Nature Center Manager and Avatar
Buddy. Baby T. Speckles. Pancake. All of these creatures call the Nature Center their home. So if Amanda Clark is the manager of the Amelia Island Nature Center, does that make her their mom? Whether or not she goes by mom, Amanda Clark recently received the title Manager of the Quarter at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation for her dedication and work at the Nature Center. Under her leadership, the Nature Center has expanded their programs including the addition of paddleboarding and the opening of Heron’s Cove Adventure Golf. Her supervision has also increased the Nature Center’s revenue and the impact on our local community through a variety of animal rescues and educational programs. Amanda started as a concierge at Amelia Island Plantation before becoming a nature aid at the Nature Center. From there she became a full time naturalist before being promoted to Nature Center Manager in the summer of 2012. You can often find Amanda in a kayak, on a paddleboard, riding a Segway™, walking the beach, fishing in a lagoon…we don’t feel sorry for Amanda when she’s in the “office”, but we’re proud of her accomplishments and wanted to introduce her to you!
Everyone loves getting to know people better. Knowing a little something about someone takes you from stranger to stranger-that-knows-something-about-the-other-stranger. And doesn’t that makes you feel comfortable with each other? So get to know more about Amanda below and then come by the Nature Center to meet Amanda and attend one of her awesome nature tours!
When or how did you first get interested in nature?
I have loved the outdoors since I was a child. I am have been called a “tomboy” since I can remember. I was the girl out playing in the woods with the boys picking up lizards, frogs, snakes, you name it. For family vacations, we went camping. I fell in love with the outdoors and nature. When I was young, I said I wanted to be a vet but realized as I got older I loved wildlife more than domestic animals.
What education, certifications or professional experience do you have in nature?
During school, my internship was at Zoo Atlanta as a Exhibit Interpreter. At the time, I wanted to be a Mammal Keeper but after being part of the education department, I realized how much I enjoyed guest interaction and teaching. During school, I took oceanography, marine biology, herpetology, ecology, environmental studies, and other biological classes. I received a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Florida in 2010 . Most recently I received the title Florida Master Naturalist after taking a 3-class program this past spring.
What is your favorite animal?
What pets do you have?
1 dog, 3 cats, a fish tank, and the seasonal rescued baby animals from the Nature Center.
Paddleboarding Adventure and Kayaking
What’s the best part of your job?
Speaking with guests after their first experience paddling on a kayak or paddleboard and hearing them say that they are going to purchase one because they enjoyed the experience so much. Or when you have the child who has never been fishing before and catches their first fish. The smile that spreads across their face is precious. These are the moments when you have made someone appreciate the simplicity and the wonder of nature.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I like to have fun. I like smiling, being happy, and having a positive attitude.
What is your motto?
Live-Laugh-Love and Hakuna Matatta (No worries)
What is your greatest extravagance?
My hobbies. I have a lot of different ones. I play soccer, kickball, and tennis. I rock climb, run, autocross (race) cars. I also paint, make jewelry and a variety of crafts. I love to stay busy doing all the things I love to do.
When and where were you happiest?
On my wedding day at Walker’s Landing during my first dance in June 2008.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything about myself. I am who I am and I love being me. I believe everything happens for a reason and you meet people throughout your life who help shape you into who you become. Everything I have done and everyone I have met have helped me become who I am for a reason. I may never know that reason but I hope that my life impacts someone’s in a positive way.