Talk about a cool job.
Christina Wilson’s “real” job is as a field inspector with the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District. But the past few months have turned her into a television personality, as host of
“Island Hopping: Florida Keys,” a syndicated, hour-long show, commissioned by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, that recently started airing in more than 70 U.S. markets.
“Island Hopping: Florida Keys” led Wilson through a deep dive of Florida Keys adventures that even some longtime locals haven’t experienced, so she can share them with viewers.
Wilson, a free-spirited, six-year Keys resident, has a degree in biology and a commitment to conservation, which is one of the show’s primary topics. During the program’s journey through the 125-mile island chain, Wilson takes viewers through the Keys’ natural environment and ecotourism opportunities, water-based activities in the protected Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and aspects of the Keys’ lifestyle and signature cuisine.
Traveling down the Overseas Highway from Key Largo to Key West, the show also introduces local guides who share their perspectives on the region’s allure and philosophy of environmental responsibility.
“I was blown away by all the amazing individuals I met along my journey who are passionate about keeping these islands healthy and making sure they’re still here for future generations,” Wilson said.
The program aims to increase visitor awareness of the Keys’ natural world and open-air experiences, while commentary from the featured residents demonstrates their dedication to the environment and outdoor lifestyle.
Wilson catches her first tarpon with Middle Keys Capt. Jeff Malone, helps with a dolphin photo ID survey with Stephen McCulloch of Key Largo’s Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder, encounters bird life off Islamorada with Capt. Samantha Zeher and explores the remote Lower Keys backcountry on an eco-tour with Capt. Rob Oliverio.
“I couldn’t imagine a more personal eco-adventure than jumping off the beaten path and into these mangrove-lined waters,” said Wilson.
Viewers also watch her quest to become a certified scuba diver, first swimming with marine life at Marathon’s Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters, then earning her certification and roaming the ocean with Captain’s Corner Dive Center in Key West.
“I hope my experience in this aquamarine world inspires others to take the plunge,” she said.
Other adventures include learning about invasive (and delicious) lionfish with John Mirabella at Marathon’s Castaway Waterfront Restaurant, enjoying a “flamingle” session with a pair of flamingos at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory and discovering Key lime pie’s origins with author and Key lime pie expert David Sloan.
Hosting the program appealed both to Wilson’s adventurous nature and her love of the Keys’ richly diverse environment.
“I want viewers to see that these islands are more than a destination — they’re a treasure trove of ecological wonders just waiting to be explored,” she said.
Produced by Crawford Entertainment, “Island Hopping: Florida Keys” is confirmed to air in about 70 U.S. markets on local NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox affiliates.
After its syndication run, the show will air in the fall on Fox SunSports Network and then is set to enter the streaming world of on-demand television on “Discover Florida.”