Christopher Boykin became the Executive Director of Pelican Harbor Seabird Station in September of 2014 and has resided in Florida since moving here from Mississippi in 1990. He holds a B.A. degree in Biology from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and is an avid naturalist, conservationist, photographer and outdoorsman. During a visioning workshop in Marine Biology Camp at the age of fifteen in Long Beach, MS he pronounced his interest in running a seabird hospital one day. Little did he know that Harry and Darlene Kelton had already started that dream and were six years into their work as the leading brown pelican rehabbers in the country.
Mr. Boykin’s early work during the nineties included working as a wildlife rehabilitation assistant at the Florida Marina Conservancy located at Turtle Kraals in Key West, as well as spending two years in the Dry Tortugas National Park in a sea turtle research position through AmeriCorps. During this time he shadowed famous birders such as Wes Biggs, Kevin Karlson and ornithologists Herb Kale, along with Dr. Bill Robertson who trained him in bird surveys of the local magnificent frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) and masked booby (Sula dactylatra) rookeries.
Although his studies at Eckerd College primarily focused on Marine Science and Herpetology, Mr. Boykin conducted a two-year independent study on the Feeding Ecology of the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea). During the study 7,338 undigested, reagitated and dropped prey items were collected beneath twenty-five nests in Gulfport, Florida. Taxonomic classification found that twenty-six species representing twenty-one families and twelve orders made up the diet during the study, with 97.6% being crustaceans.
Mr. Boykin has extensive experience working in the government and non-profit sectors. His most recent post was as the Communications Director for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Coral Reef Conservation Program where he worked for nine years. Prior to that he worked for the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves and the St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserves in Citrus County studying ornate diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota) at offshore bird rookeries. His non-profit work was as Program Coordinator for the Environmental Education Providers of Miami-Dade County, as well as Director for PFLAG and GLSEN in Pinellas counties.
Although Mr. Boykin’s role focuses primarily on communications, management, fundraising, education and donor stewardship, his deep passion, extensive knowledge and history of Florida’s natural environment have made him an excellent fit at the Seabird Station.