Captain and Crew
Captain Paul Morse is the owner of the Tree of Life and has been sailing traditional schooners and Tall Ships for over forty years, since the age of 17. In his early twenties, Captain Morse successfully navigated across the Atlantic Ocean twice only using traditional instruments: a sextant, an accurate timepiece and tables of the sun and planets. He has been employed as the boatswain and first mate aboard the 140-foot topsail schooner Bill of Rights. He has also worked on commercial fishing vessels, supply boats, tugboats and crew boats supporting the oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico. Captain Morse has owned two previous schooners and the Tree of Life is the last vessel he plans to sail since the she has everything that anyone could ask of a well-found ship. Captain Morse holds a USCG (United States Coast Guard) license for sail and auxiliary vessels of up to 100 tons and holds a BA in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island.
Resident educator and crew
Alison Kupetz Morse grew up in Dutchess County, New York. She has a B.A. in Social Ecology from Ithaca College and an M.S. in Education from Fordham University. The conservation of nature, specifically the Adirondack Mountains, was instilled in her at a young age. Alison taught elementary special education for twenty-five years. As an educator in mostly urban schools, she recognizes the importance of connecting nature and science through literature and experiential learning. Throughout her career she’s observed children’s love and genuine curiosity for the natural world. With her captain husband they’ve partnered with The Boys and Girls Club of America at Fox Point to create a program called To Sea to See. To Sea to See is a philanthropic program that allows children who are members of BGCA to sail on Tree of Life as part of an expeditionary sailing experience. The program’s goal is to provide children the opportunity to sail and broaden their horizons.
Captain Joshua Jacques fell in love with the ocean at a young age. Spending his summers sailing the coast of New England and his winters surfing the cold waters of Maine he knew he wanted to make a life at sea for himself. Jacques began his professional sailing career with the Maine Windjammer fleet up in Rockland Maine spending his summers sailing Penobscot Bay and winters aboard the Tall Ship Lynx transiting the east coast. Jacques and his partner went on to purchase the 1886 Schooner Isaac H. Evans, rescuing the historic vessel and breathing new life and programming into her. Now he looks forward to sharing the beauty of Tree of Life and New England waters with the community.
Resident Scientist & Crew
Chris is a career Marine Archaeologist and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist. When not sailing, he divides his time between the University of Rhode Island’s Applied History Lab and a private consulting firm focused on offshore-wind renewable energy development. A U.S. Navy veteran originally from the Philadelphia area, he also served as the State Underwater Archaeologist in Georgia. Chris has strong interests in North Atlantic cultural heritage, ocean conservation, and climate-change mitigation efforts, participating in North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean expeditions each year.